Strawberry Lemon Shortcake

by Irvin on April 29, 2013 · 15 comments

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Strawberry Lemon Shortcake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

The lamb ribs were marinating in a glass bowl when we walked into the kitchen and warmth radiated from both the convection oven and the woman standing behind the kitchen island. Suzanne, the cook, immediately started apologizing for the mess in the kitchen, while her husband Ray began serving up afternoon cocktails to everyone who wanted one. I automatically felt at home in my friend Damon’s dad and stepmom’s house, and inspired by all the food being created in front of my eyes. Despite all the fancy pants food that I get to eat because of this blog, there’s nothing like a good home cooked meal. And there’s nothing I love more than hanging out with friends (new and old) and eating throughout the day. In fact, the desserts Suzanne created for the Easter feast stayed in my mind for the remainder of my trip to Los Angeles, and the minute I got home to San Francisco, I found myself in my kitchen whipping up a batch of Strawberry Lemon Shortcake because of it.

Suzanne Nagami. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

One of the downsides of having a blog that revolves around food, photography and travel is people expect you to have extravagant fine dining tastebuds. Visiting friends ask you where the best baked goods can be found in the city (my kitchen?). Loved ones expect you to bring along baked goods wherever you go (in a recent ski trip that I had to bail at the last minute due to illness, apparently no one brought any desserts or sweets expecting me to provide them). And when you get invited to a meal at a friend’s home, all of sudden the host starts to fret that the food isn’t fancy enough for you. That last issue flared up when I went to my friend Damon’s stepmom and dad’s home for Easter supper with Suzanne wondering if her food wasn’t fancy enough for me. She had nothing to worry about, as the food was fantastic fabulous and plenty fancy.

Easter Supper at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.


I’ve been hearing about Suzanne and her amazing cooking forever from Rita and Damon. I’ve even eaten leftovers that they have brought home from their family meals. But I’ve never actually had a chance to attend a meal first hand so I was thrilled that I could be down in Southern California for Easter and tag along with them to Orange County, where Suzanne and Ray (Damon’s dad) live. Of course, the meal was pretty astounding, starting with an adorable Easter egg hunt for the kids (Easter really is more fun when children are involved) and ending with both a lemon bundt cake and strawberry shortcake with a dash of Grand Marnier for the adults.

Blood Orange Marmalade Glazed Ham and the Backyard Blood Orange Tree for Easter Supper at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Easter Supper at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Lemon Bundt Cake and Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

In between the egg hunt and the dessert was the spiral ham (which was anything but obligatory, glazed with homegrown blood orange marmalade from their tree in back), roasted lamb with mint sauce, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, mac & cheese and antipasto salad. Oh and the above mentioned lamb ribs. Those were the appetizer. Yes, we had lamb ribs as an appetizer. Sadly they disappeared too fast for me to take a photo. Or it might have been I was too busy eating them to bother to take a photo. I can’t remember.

Easter Supper spread at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus for Easter Supper at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Roasted Lamb for Easter Supper at the Nagami's. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Rita has tried to wrangle recipes from Suzanne before but it’s always seems an uphill struggle, mostly because Suzanne, like most naturally talented home cooks, goes by feel when she makes her food. I asked her what she put in her strawberry shortcake biscuits and she just looked at me blankly and said, you know… flour, butter and sugar. I felt a bit foolish after I asked that, hoping there was some special secret ingredient that made it taste so good. Perhaps food just tastes better when someone else makes it for you in front of your eyes. Rita has recently, however, been able to get Suzanne to give a few cooking lessons to her and her husband’s cousins. Lucky!

Suzanne making Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Suzanne making Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Making the whipped cream for Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

In the end, I was just happy to just be able to have meal at the home of Suzanne and Ray. Nothing is more inspiring or makes me happier than eating food that someone else has prepared with love. After all this blog is called Eat the Love for a reason.

Suzanne making Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Suzanne making Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

This is all kinds of fabulous – the lemon and strawberry combo sounds so good!! And all that other food in this post looks crazy good too!


The Suzzzz April 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Damn, I just ate lunch and now I’m hungry again after eating this. Everything from that dinner looks and sounds great!


The Suzzzz April 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Uh I meant to say “hungry again after READING this” I read your blog, not eat it. Although most of the time I wish I could eat it.


merri April 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

wow, this doesn’t look hard at all, and lemon and strawberry shortcakes are two of my very most fav things, so i may make this at some point. your easter sunday looks yummy and homey, sometimes i miss things like that…lol i was at white party palm springs and my sunday went totally differently. 0:)


Pat Fusco April 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

What a wonderful recipe. Thanks, Irvin. And by the way, tearing the strawberries means you can lick your fingers when you’re through with the task !


[email protected] and More April 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm

There is just so much right with this post. You can feel the warmth of Suzanne and Ray and their hospitality come through. And the food, fabulous!
I’ve never heard of tearing a strawberry but it’s full on strawberry season here so I’ll be tearing a few berries over the next few days.


Rita April 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Hooray!! I’ve had the two gourmets in my life–you and Suzanne–meet at last! I can rest a little easier now. It just never seemed right you two didn’t know each other. 😀 When I go to either of your homes, I know I’m going to relax, kick back, and eat the love.

I am TOTALLY making this recipe!!

If I can find a picture of the lamb riblets, I will send it in! 😀


Rita April 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm

GORGEOUS yellow font on the cover picture, btw. I love it.


Miss Kim @ behgopa April 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Seems like it was a blast. I couldn’t agree with you more…food always tastes better when it’s made with love…In commercial kitchens, we cook for business/monetary purposes. But at home, when we are cooking for loved ones, we seem to put an extra dose of love into it, to make our loved ones happy. And it’s the LOVE that makes it taste so good!


Kim Crofoot April 30, 2013 at 9:19 am

OMG!! I just found your blog TODAY after being referred by Love and Olive Oil and who do I see in your blog, but a friend of mine, Suzanne. We work together.
How do you know her!? We used to talk sweets all the time instead of pay attention in meetings. Sooo glad I found your blog. I laughed when I read your bio. I am an English Lit major with a penchant for writing and baking too! LOL!
(No graphic art however!! Or we would be twins!!)

Can’t wait to browse your blog.


Suzanne Nagami April 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Thank you Irvin for the fabulous pictures of our family gathering! I am positive the food didn’t nearly look as good as you made them appear, but loved the shots of the family. The one of Dean finding an egg in the garden is my favorite! If you promise to leave me out of the pics next time, I will make you and AJ a double portion of lamb riblets to take home the next time you come!


Rita April 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Don’t take that deal, Irvin! She will totally make lamb riblets for you anyway!!


Nancy @ gottagetbaked May 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Irvin, what an amazing meal and experience. I definitely agree that food is almost always tastier when it’s made by someone else, especially when it’s made with as much love, care and joy as Suzanne obviously takes with hers. I’m also my worst critic – lately everything I make ends up tasting like underwhelming sawdust in my mouth, regardless of how everyone reassures me that it’s fine. Your strawberry shortcake looks delightful – I love the lemon twist. This is a sweet and fitting tribute to Suzanne’s desserts.


Belinda @zomppa May 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Not liking this constant food making without me. =P Nothing better than cooking eating together.


brian nagami May 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm

OMG! I miss eating Auntie Suzanne’s food! What a great post Irvin – thank you so much for sharing. 🙂


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