There are some days, you understand - days when Old Man Winter shakes an icy, gnarled finger at you - that you simply must shake a finger back. Today is such a day.
Start by digging deep, deep down in the freezer for the strawberries you lovingly grew, picked, and hulled back in June. Plop them into the prettiest old bowl you have and let them thaw. Gently crush with a fork until you have one cup of mushed strawberries. Tip into a saucepan and cook, over medium heat, until just boiling. Cook one minute more, then remove from heat and cool.
Now assemble the following: 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. (Not bacon powder.) Dump the lot of it into a sifter, if you wish, and sift. Close your eyes and rest against your warm counter top and listen to the old sifter scrape powdery heaps into your pretty old bowl. Decide you're happy.
Take your happiness and find 1/3 cup butter (softened) and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. To that, add 2 eggs (room temperature) and 1/3 cup (minus 1 teaspoon) of water. Fill the teaspoon - the one you just dumped the water out of - with vanilla extract. Mix it all in with the butter and sugar.
Lovely. Now add your butter mixture to the pile of dry ingredients and mix. Over it, pour the cooled, crushed summer strawberries and a 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts. (Toast them if you wish, or leave them out altogether - your preference.) Now combine it all thoroughly, spoon into a greased baking dish, and bake at 350 F for one hour.
Poor Old Man Winter. He stands no chance against fresh, buttered Strawberry Sugar Bread. Especially when it's accompanied by a steaming cup of tea in a warm kitchen....
Hoping happiness and warmth find and hold you this weekend. -Brin