Nothing says early summer like fresh strawberries; and nothing showcases strawberries better than a strawberry shortcake — unless it is a trio of “shortcake” desserts that take the beloved American classic to a whole new level!

Read on and be prepared to salivate!

Italian Balsamic Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3-4 tablespoons good aged balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint julienned (or try ¼ teaspoon black pepper)

Directions:

Marinate in a medium bowl at least 1 hour. Serve over Sweet Biscuit Shortcakes (this site has recipes for sweet biscuits from scratch, using Bisquik, and even a gluten-free version); with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream to top.

Strawberries in Fruity Red Wine

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • ½cup fruity red wine such as a merlot or zinfandel

Directions:

Marinate in a medium bowl at least 1 hour. Serve over Baked Merengues (the recipe is for Boccone Dolce, but scroll down to get the directions for making the merengues, including a link for hints and tips – or buy pre-baked merengues); with a classic Romanoff Topping (use the directions above for the berries and then follow the remainder of the recipe for the topping).

Marinated Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

Directions:

Marinate in a medium bowl at least 1 hour. Serve over Buttermilk Cake and Orange Mascarpone Filling (substitute the recipe above for the berry portion).

Use fresh locally grown strawberries (from the Market of course). They are much tastier and more aromatic than imported berries. Each recipe above serves six.