Food, Glorious Food:

Strawberries 



Whole strawberries in a white bowlAs every home gardener knows, strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow. All they require is full sun, well drained soil and a patch of ground where peppers, tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant haven't been recently planted. But whether you grow this delectable red fruit in the yard or buy a quart from the market, strawberries are always a healthy choice. An excellent source of Vitamin C, folic acid and fiber, the strawberry's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties are said to diminish the effects of Alzheimers, reduce the risk of heart disease and even help prevent cancer. However most of us eat strawberries because they taste so darn good. So now that summer has finally arrived, reach for a handful of those delicious berries and try some of the recipes below.
photo: seriouseats.com STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE, SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD, STRAWBERRRY CHAMPAGNE SOUP, STRAWBERRY CHICKEN STIR FRY, STRAWBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE, STRAWBERRY PIE


Glass of strawberry banana smoothie surrounded by strawberries and bananas
photo: vaporjunction.com

It's healthy, it's easy, it's a smoothie. And the perfect way to quench your thirst for the summer.

STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 banana
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup cold water
honey to taste

1. Rinse and cut up strawberries
2. Slice bananas into small pieces
3. Place fruit, milk, water and honey into blender
4. Blend and serve.
Recipe courtesy of easystrawberries.com

plate of Spinach Strawberry Salad
photo: yourpersonalgourmet.com

The sweetness of the berries combined with the sharp flavors of feta and spinach make this a mouthwatering salad.

SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD

2 cups strawberries, sliced
1 bunch spinach, rinsed and torn into small pieces (may substitute baby lettuce)
8 oz feta cheese
4 oz almonds
1 red onion

Dressing
1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Sugar to taste
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds

1. In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, spinach and onion.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
3. Right before serving, pour dressing over spinach and strawberry mixture.
4. Sprinkle feta and almonds over the salad. Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Strawberry Champagne Soup in white bowls
photo: tasteofhome.com

Here's a refreshing and simple way to start off that early summer brunch.

STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE SOUP


5 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup champagne

1. Place strawberries in blender. Sprinkle with sugar and salt.
2. Blend mixture until smooth.
3. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
4. Just before serving, stir in champagne. Serve chilled. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

stirfrychickenFresh Strawberries
photos: ShannonVasquez.com & blog.americanfeast.com

Don't put away the wok this summer. Instead, when you weary of grilled chicken, give this recipe a try.

STRAWBERRY CHICKEN STIR FRY


3/4 lb chicken strips or chicken tenders

12-15 fresh strawberries, washed, hulled & quartered
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2-4 teaspoons water, as desired
3 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

Marinade
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1. Place chicken in a bowl and add soy sauce, rice wine and cornstarch. Marinate for 15 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar.
3. Dissolve 1 tsp cornstarch in a separate small bowl with 2-4 teaspoons of water; 2 teaspoons yields a thicker sauce, 4 teaspoons will result in a thicker sauce. Set aside.
4. Heat a wok (or heavy skillet) over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil when pan gets hot, swirling oil until it coats bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
5. Add half of the ginger and garlic to hot oil. Stir fry 10 seconds.
6. Add chicken to wok, let brown 30 seconds. Then stir fry chicken until it turns white, and is almost cooked through.
7. Remove chicken; drain on paper towels.
8. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok, coating bottom and halfway up the sides.
9. Add remaining garlic and ginger to hot oil. Stir fry 10 seconds.
10. Add strawberries. Stir fry about 30 seconds.
11. Quickly stir the sauce containing orange juice, lemon juice, water & sugar, and add to wok.
12. Stir cornstarch & water mixture. Pour into sauce. Stir quickly to thicken.
13. When sauce thickens, add chicken back into the work.
14. Stir fry another minute to blend ingredients, and to make certain chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3 people.
Recipe courtesy of About.comChineseFood


Strawberry Upside Down Cake made in Ramekins
photo: foodnetwork.com


A big thanks to the star of the Food Network’s Big Daddy’s House for this delicious strawberry cake recipe.

Aaron McCargo Jr.’s STRAWBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Cooking spray (for ramekins)
¼ cup sugar (for ramekins)
8 strawberries (remove tops)
1 ½ cup self-rising flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp softened butter
4 tbsp mascarpone (room temperature)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup strawberry nectar
powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray eight 4-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
  2. Coat greased ramekins using the ¼ cup sugar.
  3. Quarter the strawberries, then lay in a spiral pattern on the bottom of each ramekin.
  4. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, mascarpone and sugars in a large bowl. Next, beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract.
  6. To the above bowl, stir in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the strawberry nectar. Stir to remove lumps.
  7. Pour the mixture over the strawberries in the ramekins.. Tap each ramekin on counter to get rid of air bubbles. Arrange ramekins on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean.
  9. Let mini-cakes cool several minutes. Next run a knife along edges of each ramekin in order to invert the cakes onto serving dishes.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy.

If you can’t find canned strawberry nectar, a mixed berry nectar can be substituted. Low-fat or regular vanilla yogurt can be used instead of mascarpone. Serves 8. Cake can also be made in an 8-inch square glass baking dish rather than ramekins.

Strawberry Pie
photo: free-extras.com

Finally, you can't possibly have fresh strawberries on hand and not make at least one strawberry pie.

STRAWBERRY PIE


1 baked 9 inch pie shell

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 oz. (1 pk) strawberry gelatin
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1 1/2 cup water

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan.
2. Add lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat. Cook and stir until clear and slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add gelatin, and stir until dissolved.
5. Cool mixture to room temperature.
6. Stir in strawberries. Turn into baked pie shell.
7. Chill until set, about 4-6 hours. Serves 6.
Recipe courtesy of garvick.com

June - July '11