Tag-Archive for ◊ strawberries ◊

05 Jul 2011 Strawberry Agua Fresca

My Strawberry Man came again yesterday.  He’s been stopping by with a flat of strawberries, every month or so, for about a decade now.   With the temperatures in the triple digits I’ve been in a hurry to use  up the strawberries before the heat gets to them. We had Strawberries with Brown Sugar and Sour Cream for dessert, which is our very favorite way to eat strawberries, but that only used up about three baskets, which left nine baskets sitting in the heat.  I made Chocolate Strawberry Tarts for our July 4th bake off.  Now I have six baskets to go.  Time to hit the Internet…

After a lot of scrolling and clicking, I landed at Heat Oven to 350°.  Strawberry soda!  Since I don’t drink alcohol or anything like Coke or Pepsi, I am always looking for something interesting to drink.

I like this!  This drink is sort of in the lemonade family, not that it is tart, but that it is fruity, and pulpy, and is a very summery good-for-you feel drink.  Not sure I’ll be giving up iced tea or iced lattes anytime soon, or my Blueberry Lemonade, but I’m certainly glad to have one more drink to add into my rotation! And one with the added bonus of letting me drink some fruit, too!

My daughter suggested the name Strawberry Fizz, since I add carbonated water (most of the time) to the base mixture, but it’s also good with the so called “flat” water.  As I noted above, the original recipe was entitled Strawberry Soda, but that doesn’t work for me. Do you remember Strawberry Soda?  It’s bright red, super bubbly, and very, very sweet (with no taste of real strawberries), this  isn’t.  It’s refreshing. It’s very similar to the Central American Agua Frescas. We North Americans should look more closely at Agua Frescas.  They are delicious, and a good alternative to fizzy dark brown chemicals, syrupy frappuccinos, and girly cocktails.  Well, you won’t get the buzz from a Strawaberry Agua Fresca as you would from a girlie cocktail, but you could certainly put it in a fancy glass with lots of crushed ice and a paper parasol 🙂

The Strawberry base syrup is easy to make and keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.  Just mix the desired amount of the syrup with club soda and ice (a quarter cup of the base, a cup and a half of club soda, and half a glass of ice work for me).  Add a straw and take your flip-flopped self out in the backyard to enjoy the summer.

I was going to try this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, to see how stupendous a Strawberry Float would be, but my son came home with a sugar-free, low fat, store brand of vanilla ice cream.  He was quite proud to tell me it was the cheapest. Ummmm, no. He can eat that carton all by himself. Maybe he’ll be more discerning when picking out ice cream in the future.

Strawberry Agua Fresca

  • 3 lbs strawberries, trimmed and hulled (about three baskets)
  • 4 T white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse until liquified. Add vinegar and mix well.
  2. Transfer liquified strawberries to a medium pot and add sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove syrup from stove. Cool. Syrup will keep one week, covered, in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve:  eventually you will hit on your favorite proportions.  I like one-quarter cup of syrup mixed with 1 1/2 cups soda water and poured over a glass of ice, stirred, not shaken, and with a pretty straw!  A paper umbrella would be a nice addition, too.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Believe-it-or-not, this might be a healthy week.  My friend Barb is guest posting tomorrow with her delicious Fennel-Apple Salad, but later in the week I think I will post my recipe for Chocolate-Strawberry Pie.  I stuck an American Flag in the middle of it, and won the July 4th Dessert contest at our neighborhood July 4th party!  But I STILL have three boxes of strawberries to mess with….

Note:  I liked this so much that I made my next batch with blackberries.  Delicious! And I feel so healthy!

Polly

31 May 2011 Yes, I am baaaaack…

I’ve been gone so long, I don’t know what to say. Perhaps an explanation??  OK…

…all of a sudden I was planning my daughter’s wedding.  She gave us nine weeks from announcement day to wedding day.  Not a whole lot of time for a do-it-yourself wedding.  Not a whole lot of time to do anything other than make invitations, programs, wine and water bottle labels, menus, bake cookies and dips and pastas, shop for dresses and all the other clothing bits plus shoes, food, plates…, and ask for HELP!

Handmade invitations.

Fooling around while dress shopping. NO, I am NOT the one  supposed to be getting married.

How many dozen cookies did we make for the Cookie Shoppe thank you gifts?  I think we got up to 20 or 30 dozen.

Then my Aunt-from-England arrived to celebrate Easter with us and to attend the wedding and–stay with me for five weeks.  She turned out to be pretty high maintenance, and firmly attached to my hip.  With being a good and attentive hostess to a much loved aunt,  and doing all sorts of wedding stuff, spending any significant time cooking, photographing, and blogging  was out of the question.

My son gave me a fuzzy pink toilet seat cover for Easter.  When I asked him why, he said it was egg shaped and the right color!!!  Didn’t I think it was brilliant, too?! My next question he couldn’t answer, “What was a 20 year old boy, sorry, man, doing in the toilet seat aisle in Target?”

Then,  just ten days before the planned “I do”s, the wedding was suddenly CANCELLED =:O.

The Ring Bearer shirt arrived too, too large.  Not an issue now though….

The shower for the wedding that never happened.

We didn’t quite make it to the church on time…

Then my Aunt-from-Scotland arrived to attend the now not happening wedding.  Then my Mom arrived from San Diego to attend the not happening wedding.  We were all in shock and totally incapable of anything other than watching the Royal Wedding.  Twice.  No, three times. We stayed up all night to watch it, then we watched all the repeats the next day, and then again the next day.  The day after that my Dad started having tizzy fits so my Mom and Aunt-from Scotland had to fly down to San Diego ahead of schedule to tend to him.

Enjoying the Royal Wedding from San Jose!

Then my daughter left on her honeymoon, which was now not a honeymoon, but I still got to watch my two and half year old grandson while she was gone.  For a week. He’s a handful.  Wonderful, but a handful. Not much time to do much of anything other than count his break dancing head turns, play cars, feed, bathe, change and try to get him to go to bed-which turned out to be a nightmare.

My grandson in his usual motion.  He LOVES to run…and break dance…on his head.

Two days after my daughter returned to pick up her son, my Aunt-from-England and I went on a 10 day cruise to Alaska.  Now that was fun.  In the down time, of which there was a lot, I read 6 novels (only one I would recommend, “Room” by Emma Donoghue, and one Alaskan cookbook (wonderful, can’t wait to try out some Asian influenced Alaskan seafood dishes), but Internet access on board was seventy-five cents a minute, and s-l-o-w.  Plus, although I was eating three or four course meals four times a day (breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner), I was not cooking a thing.  I did receive instruction on how to make Gravlax though.  I can’t wait to try my hand at that and hopefully post some very successful results.

Two tourists in Alaska. (Never trust a skinny cook!)


Five desserts on one plate! Am I in heaven?  BTW, the Pavlova was the best.

Gravlax!  The Head Chef of the cruise ship shared his recipe and method.  I took lots of notes.

After the cruise we were home for about forty eight hours, attended Cookbook Club (fondue!)  and a Dining for Women meeting (our second year anniversary!),  repacked our suitcases, and then headed down to San Diego for five days.  San Diego was heaven, but again, limited Internet access, and I was so busy going out for expensive lunches I had no time to cook or blog anyway!  Then home for two days, my Aunt-from-England had a meltdown, and I put her back on the plane to England with a very heavy heart.

Butterscotch Fondue

Some of the wonderful women from my Dining For Women chapter. We are doing what we can to assist impoverished women and children around the world out of poverty and into self sustainability, and we are doing it one grassroots project at a time, one dinner at a time.

One of the decadent open air lunches in San Diego, this one with my mother at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Now I have been home, alone, more-or-less, as my two college age children have returned home for the Summer, and it’s been bliss, but the only thing I have cooked is a s’more at my elder daughter’s home after a Memorial Day BBQ!  Tonight, another house guest arrives.  I’ve never met him.  My daughter invited him to stay with us, for the Summer, because he had nowhere else to go.  Um…what???? OUR house?  Are we a half-way house now?  I barely have enough bedrooms for my two returning students and ME!  We are adding one more now?  WHERE???  But I digress, this is tomorrow’s story, not yesterdays!

So today I am moving furniture around to accommodate one more summer resident and I am flipping through the cookbooks and magazines I have bought over the last few weeks, in hopes and anticipation of the day and time I will get back into the kitchen…which seems to be SOON!  Maybe this afternoon!  I have an cheese enchilada dish I want to remake, and lollipop steaks, and anything at all from my newly purchased David Lebovitz cookbook “Ready for Dessert”, and the previously mentioned Alaskan seafood cookbook, “Fishes and Dishes”.  I’ve made butterscotch fondue and Grand Marnier marshmallows, and Microwave Marmalade that I want to remake and photograph, along with my Blackberry Ribs, and recent sorbets that my Aunt-from-England enjoyed every afternoon.  And there’s the Blueberry Hot Chocolate I tasted in Alaska that I want to create for my non-coffee drinking daughter, and the Strawberry-Mango Meringue Pie my daughter and I want to perfect.  So much fun stuff to do…and hopefully I will have all Summer to do it.

Blackberry Ribs.

Pie with promise, Strawberry-Mango Meringue.

It’s good to be back!  Hope you missed me.  Now let’s start where we left off!  Where to begin, where to begin?

 

31 Jan 2011 Strawberry Sandwiches

I have never seen a recipe published for this sandwich, but it’s one of my favorites (probably because it’s more like dessert than a sandwich.  I have my demons, and all of them are sweet…).  I first encountered this sandwich on the campus of San Diego State University, in the late 1970’s, then I never saw it anywhere else, except in my own kitchen. I’ve made my version a lot over the years, usually for tea (tea-the-meal, the one with finger sandwiches, scones, little cakes, and  served on fancy china).  I love tea-the-meal.  It’s a grazers delight; little bits of everything, and everything tasty and pretty. But I digress, back to the Strawberry Sandwich.  (I have never been able to spell “sandwich” without spell check…, it just doesn’t look right without another “h” in there. And I digress yet again…) With strawberries now showing up in our farmer’s markets (yes, in January!) I had a hankering for this sandwich, so I made one, or two.

Like I said, this s-a-n-d-w-h-i-c-h is a great addition to any tea, but it’s a good treat to serve at play dates (PB&J for the kids, SBS for the moms), pack for a walk or a picnic, or to pull together if someone stops by and you want to keep them around for awhile.  The trick to pulling these together at the last minute?  Keep a loaf of raisin bread in the freezer!  Pull out 2 or 4 slices when needed, by the time you get the honey and cream cheese out, the strawberries sliced, and the tea brewing, the bread will be defrosted and ready to use.  These sandwiches would also be good for a Valentine’s Day treat, or a special Mother’s Day event. My daughter had a catering gig on Sunday and I suggested this sandwich to round out a fabulous spread of finger sandwiches. This sandwich could fit in anywhere!  I really can’t understand why no one else makes it.

So, a big Thank You to the cafeteria ladies of San Diego State University for this lovely sandwich.  I hope you get your day in the sun 🙂

Strawberry Sandwich

For each sandwich:

2 slices of good quality raisin bread or cinnamon-raisin bread

approx 1T cream cheese (whatever kind you like, full fat, low fat, no fat…)

approx 1 teaspoon honey (or a little less)

3-4 strawberries, thickly sliced, rounded edges set aside for another use.

Thinly spread the cream cheese on both sides of the raisin bread.  On one side, drizzle the honey and spread evenly over the cream cheese.  On the other slice, lay thick, flat slices of strawberry.  It’s bit of a jigsaw puzzle to get them all to fit without leaving too much space between the slices, but it’s only a small puzzle, nothing intimidating.  Put the bread with honey on top of the bread with the strawberries.  For easiest slicing, flip the sandwich over.  Cut off all the crusts, and then slice as desired.  I usually get three rectangular shaped finger sandwiches from each, but in the picture above I cut in half on the diagonal.  Eat within a few hours.  The sandwich does not keep long, and definitely not overnight.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  If you are looking for a more savory sandwich to serve with this, check out the post for Smoked Chicken & Almond Sandwiches!

07 Sep 2010 Mixed Berry Pie

Been to the Farmers’ Markets this weekend? Did you buy a bunch of berries? Time for a Mixed Berry Pie! It is still cool enough that it’s OK to turn on the oven making it the perfect time to make this delicious pie. The orange peel sets this pie above all other berry pies, and the cornstarch-flour thickening is perfect. The pie is great served slightly warm for dinner, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a bit of whipped cream on the side and absolutely divine room temperature, with a cup of hot coffee on the side, for breakfast.

I haven’t mastered pie crust yet, so use your favorite recipe, or that Pillsbury unroll and bake stuff (like I did) which will enable you to get this pie in the oven in 20 minutes or less. Ready, set, goooooo! You’re going to knock the socks off your dinner guests!

Mixed Berry Pie

1 double crust pastry
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. flour
grated zest of 1 medium orange
pinch of salt
6 c. mixed fresh berries*
1 T. cream or milk
pinch of sugar

Prepare pastry. Roll out half the pastry and line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Refrigerate the lined pie plate and the leftover pastry while you mix up the berries. In a large bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, orange zest and salt. Add berries and toss gently to coat each berry. Pile berry mixture into pasty lined pie plate. Roll out second half of pastry. Cut slits in pastry. Lay pastry over berries and tuck into bottom pastry. Decoratively crimp and trim the top and bottom crust to seal together. Brush top pastry with a bit of cream or milk. Sprinkle with a pinch of white sugar. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie on a baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake 50-60 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool completely on rack before serving (juices need to cool to thicken).

*recipe originally came with these proportions: 2 cups blueberries, 2 cups blackberries, 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries. I wouldn’t use any more strawberries than 1 cup (they don’t hold up well) but the rest of the proportions are mix-and-matchable. Do what I do, buy one or two baskets of everything at the farmer’s market and what makes it home gets put in the pie. If you are a bit short of the required six cups of berries, peel and chop an apple or pear to add into the mixture.

I made the berry pie at the top and my friend Louise made the beautiful berry pie below.  Both of us believe that Mixed Berry Pie is most people’s favorite pie, if it’s not, it’s because they have never tasted this one!

Thanks for stopping by our kitchens today, see you tomorrow!  What shall we make…??

27 Jul 2010 Strawberry Volcanoes

Everyone is making chocolate covered strawberries now. Everyone. Sooooo…, it’s time for us to move onto Strawberry Volcanoes! Just look at that picture! Am I right, or am I right?! I saw a picture of Strawberry Volcanoes on TasteSpotting a few weeks ago and knew then this was the direction in which to move. Their picture was one of strawberries filled with freshly whipped cream, but I wanted something that would hold up longer on a dessert buffet. I decided to fill the strawberries with a cream cheese dip that I have made and served with strawberries for, hmmm…, at least a few decades. I loved the name “Strawberry Volcanoes”, so I am keeping THAT. The recipe below is just a guide. Dip your strawberries in a favorite chocolate and then fill with a favorite filling. Go for it! Create your own, “signature” Strawberry Volcanoes! You can start with my version or just make them like this all the time (like I am going to do)!

Strawberry Volcanoes

Adjust the quantities to fit the number of volcanoes you want to make. Don’t worry, though, leftovers of any component should not be a problem! ( Leftover chocolate? Stir in toasted coconut, raisins and/or nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let chocolate harden and snack! Leftover dip? Get more strawberries and dip them in it, or use as a filling for a cake or cupcakes. Leftover strawberries? Just eat, or freeze for a smoothie later.)

About 48 very large, very ripe strawberries
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips or a favorite large chocolate bar (you’ll need at least 6 oz.) Any kind of chocolate will work … milk, dark or white.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Wash strawberries and remove the green stem and leaves. If necessary, slightly slice the strawberry so it has a nice flat bottom and sits nicely on a platter. Let dry on paper towels.

While strawberries are drying, make the filling. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth and creamy (no lumps). Transfer the mixture to a large Ziploc bag or a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Line a tray big enough to hold all strawberries with wax paper and set aside.

A few hours before serving time, melt chocolate or chocolate bar in the microwave on 50% power. (You might only need 1/2 the bag of the chips, you can start with that if you want and then melt more as you go, or melt the whole bag, up to you.) First, set the microwave oven for two minutes on 50% power, stir, and return chocolate to microwave for an additional minute and an additional stir. Repeat as necessary until the chocolate is completely melted. Dip the wide top end of the dry strawberry into melted chocolate. Place on the wax paper covered tray and let sit on it’s chocolate “bottom” (stem end, really) until hard (place tray in refrigerator to speed up this process).

With sharp knife, cut an X into the pointed (non-chocolate covered) end of the strawberry. Make the cut go about halfway down the strawberry. Fill the X with the filling, letting a  little “erupt” out of the top (remember you are making strawberry volcanoes!). If using the Ziploc bag method, push all the filling to one bottom corner of the bag. Snip the corner off, and squirt the filling out of the hole in the bag. If you have a piping bag and a star tip, you know the drill!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Come back again tomorrow!

23 Jun 2010 Strawberry Shortcake
 |  Category: Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruits, Seasonal, Sweets  | Tags: , ,  | Leave a Comment

This is my son’s favorite dessert and since he’s home from college, we’ve had it two nights in a row. I think this rustic, coarse, only slightly sweet biscuit-type cake base saturated with sweetened sliced strawberries and lots and lots of sweetened whipped cream is just about perfect. If you like sweet, soft, cake-y strawberry shortcake, this is not the recipe for you; ALTHOUGH, if you try it, you might be converted to my way of thinking! This is my recipe. No sources. I’ve spent years developing it. Truth be told, I only figured out the right base about two years ago. Before that I used to use the recipe off the box of Bisquick. I am so glad to be done with that! The Bisquick base was really too salty and had a slightly metallic flavor to it, too. Here’s how to make Strawberry Shortcake, a truly American dessert, RIGHT!

Strawberry Shortcake

For the Shortcake Base

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled/frozen, cut into cubes/grated
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a pretty 8 or 9 inch-diameter pan with nonstick spray for baking. (You will be baking and serving the strawberry shortcake in the same pan, that’s why I specified a pretty pan (if you don’t have a pretty pan, don’t stress, just use the best you have). I use either quiche pan. If you don’t have one, a pretty pie dish will work.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add in butter (cut it in, if you know how, or just grate it in–grate the frozen butter as if it were cheese! Trust me, this works like a charm!). Using fingertips, rub butter into dry mixture until a coarse meal forms.

Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork (yes, a fork!). Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Keep using the fork until the dough clumps together. Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared (pretty) pan. Using fingertips, stretch dough to fit pan. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
While shortcake is baking, wash slice and sweeten the strawberries.

For the filling

2 – 3 baskets strawberries (as many as you have or want, really)
sugar to sweeten berries (to taste)
1 pt. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar

Rinse, drain, stem, and then slice the berries vertically (depending on the size of the berry, you can probably get 2-5 slices from each berry). Sprinkle sliced berries with sugar, to taste. Let sit for awhile to sweeten. Stir before using.

Up to one hour before serving, whip cream, vanilla and sugar until thick and creamy. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To assemble Strawberry Shortcake

Remove shortcake from pan. Carefully split in half horizontally (if the bottom half splits, no problem, if the top half splits it’s a bit more of a challenge to cover–but don’t stress). Place bottom half of shortcake back in pan. Top with 1/2 of sliced and sweetened strawberries. Top berries with half of whipped cream, smooth out to level. Replace top half of shortcake, press slightly. Top with remaining berries (and all of the juice). Pipe remaining whipped cream decoratively around the edge of the shortcake. Serve immediately.

Leftovers don’t keep well. Shortcake can be made early in the day, and strawberries can be prepared early in the day also, but the actual assembly should be done as close to serving time as possible.

This is actually an individual shortcake, not the big one described above (and it had too much whipped cream…, even for me!). To make individual shortcakes, cut dough with round biscuit butter, and bake as above. Recipe above makes 8 rather large servings.