Plated + Served: 6-Ingredient Strawberry Flan


6-Ingredient Strawberry Flan

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love… with this creamy 6-Ingredient Strawberry Flan.

Caramel… fresh strawberries… chocolate curls. Are you with me?

But as fabulous as that sounds, the best part about this seemingly decadent dessert is that it’s low in fat. Seriously.

I wrote this recipe for my pals at Right@Home, the bilingual website that has some amazing (and Pinnable!) Valentines recipes and crafting ideas.

They’ve also got great tips for cleaning and organizing your home (who couldn’t use that kind of help, especially at this time of year?). Sign up for email alerts with this registration link so you don’t miss a special offer or coupon. Click here to sign up.

Are you ready to fall in love? Here’s the easy step-by-step way to make this luscious Strawberry Flan.

6-Ingredient Strawberry Flan ingredients


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Plated + Served: Classic Shrimp Cocktail


There is something so elegant about Classic Shrimp Cocktail… I dare say, even glamorous.

 Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Maybe it’s the presentation: Huge shrimp perched on the side of a fancy glass, waiting to be delicately dipped into a pool of spicy cocktail sauce.

A great shrimp cocktail starts with shrimp that are perfectly cooked and then chilled quickly so they don’t become rubbery. The sauce is equally important, with just enough kick to balance the sweetness of the shrimp.

This is an easy, and always impressive, appetizer you can make year round. But for all its simplicity, the holidays always seem to make this old-school favorite even more special.


Mushroom and Cheese Tart with Vodka Crust


Made this nifty tart over the weekend with morel mushrooms. Guess you can tell by the image that these are NOT morel mushrooms.

The Fam devoured the morel tart and demanded another. But with morels so crazy expensive, I opted for sliced crimini mushrooms instead.

Just as beautiful. Just as delicious. Oh, and it has a vodka crust… always a plus in my book.

Mushroom Tart with Vodka Crust

Mushroom and Cheese Tart with Vodka Crust

prep: 90 minutes (includes dough resting time)
cook: 1 hour

for the dough you’ll need…
1¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons cold water
for the filling you’ll need…
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 cups fresh sliced mushrooms, divided
1 5.2 oz. Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Gournay cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

let’s get to it…
for the dough…
Mix half the flour and salt in a food processor for 2-seconds. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 to 15 times or until dough looks like cottage cheese and there is no loose flour; scrape bowl. Add remaining flour and pulse 5 or 6 times.
Remove dough from food processor and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water over dough and fold until dough sticks together and all liquid is absorbed. Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (You’ll still be able to see little pieces of butter in the dough).
Heat half of the butter in a large skillet on medium-high for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, with a little space in between. Do not stir.
Cook until bottoms are lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms with a spatula and cook 2 minute longer; remove from pan. Repeat with the remaining butter and mushrooms; set aside.
Move oven rack to the second lowest position. Preheat oven to 425°F.
Dust rolling pin and work surface with flour. Remove dough disk from refrigerator. Roll dough in a circle to a uniform thickness (about ⅛-to-¼-inch thick), about 1-inch larger than an upside down 10 or 12-inch tart pan. Place rolled-out dough into tart pan and press gently into form of plate. Use excess dough to mend any sports or holes in dough. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough so you can “blind bake” the crust.*
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Spread Boursin cheese onto bottom of slightly warm tart. Top with mushrooms and thyme. If crust appears to brown too quickly, cover with a piece of foil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*Blind baking, also called pre-baking, is baking a crust without the filling. You do this when the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust. Also helps the crust from becoming soggy. You can prick the bottom and sides of the crust so it keeps its shape during baking. A better idea is to line the unbaked pie crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie-weights. Dried beans or lentils work well, too.

Gadget Tree: What in the Heck is This?


Maureen asks: My son has been chasing his sister around the kitchen with this thing. I don’t even know where it came from. What is it and will I ever use it?

Kudos to your son for being so inventive! My kids were never that clever (but they also knew Mama wouldn’t take too kindly to them “playing” with her kitchen tools).

You’ve got a butter curler, Maureen. It’s used to carve butter into curls and other fancy-do shapes, especially for elegant dinner parties.

Back in the day, a big newlywed gift was a set of “garnishing” tools: a butter curler, lemon zester, melon baller, apple corer and peeler. Carved butter garnishes at the table can add an elegant look, and many restaurants use butter curlers for just that purpose.Butter Curls

Butter curlers were easier to use when butter came in 1-pound blocks, instead of ¼-pound sticks, but if you follow a couple of steps, you can still put one to good use:
1. Make sure the butter is chilled… but not TOO cold or frozen. If it is too cold, the curls will flake or break.
2. Slowly drag the blade across the top of the butter with a little pressure until it curls. By varying the pressure you can get thick or thin curls, balls and other designs.

Maureen, your curler is made of stainless steel with a plastic handle, so you can put it in the dishwasher.

This weekend, surprise the fam and create enchantment with little butter curls for their pancakes.

And tell Captain Hook to quit playing with the curler… he’ll put his eye out!


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: