First, start with meringue cookies. Preheat the oven to 215˚F (100˚C). Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment papers.
Make sure a large mixing bowl (the one that goes with an electric mixer) is clean and dry. Cut a lemon in half. Rub the lemon (flesh side down) all the over the inside of the mixing bowl and the outside of the whisk attachment. A tiny bit of juice and pulp leftover is ok, but wipe off most pulps using the edge of the cut lemon.
Now, add the egg whites into the mixing bowl. Fit the mixing bowl to the electric mixer. Start with medium-low speed. Add vanilla extract and salt.
When the whites start to foam, increase to medium speed. Add sugar a little bit at a time. Once the whites begin to hold its shape. Increase to medium-high speed until firm peaks formed (not stiff yet). The tip of the peak will fold back at this point. Turn off the mixer. Add a drop or two of your choice of food coloring into the meringue if using.
Turn the mixer back on to medium-high. Whisk until stiff peaks formed. The meringue should be smooth and glossy. Scoop up a small dollop of meringue with your finger and rub between your fingertips. If it’s smooth, the sugar has completely dissolved. If not, run the mixer on medium for just a little longer. Do not overwhip.
Transfer half the meringue into a pipping bag fitted with a pipping tip. To secure the parchment paper, squeeze a small dot of meringue between the parchment paper and baking sheet at all four corners. Press down the parchment down after. Pipe about 60 (½-inch) meringue cookies onto each parchment paper, by leaving about ½-inch spacing in between.
Bake in the oven for 1 – 2 hours until crisp on the outside and the inside is still a little chewy, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back half way through. When done, the meringues can be easily peel off the parchment paper. The baking time all depends on the size of the cookies and the humidity level. Turn off the oven and leave a crack at the door. Let the cookies cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. The finished cookies should be crunchy and airy all the way.
For the strawberries, put them in a small bowl and toss together with 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside to macerate for about 10 minutes.
For the whipped cream, combine heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Whip until thick but still soft.
To assemble, in 2 serving glasses or bowls, layer with whipped cream, curd, meringue cookies (about 15 - 18 cookies each serving), and strawberries. Serve immediately.