Back to the Kitchen: It's a Strawberry Recipe Lollapolooza

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It is the start of strawberry season and the open-air market is over flowing with these amazing berries! The mix of tart and sweet are at there glorious and abundant best this time of year The strawberry is a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shapes and red color. Look for bright red berries with fresh green caps on. Visually check each package, making sure there are no signs of mold growth. If one berry is molded, mold spores will have traveled throughout the entire package. When purchasing strawberries by the pound, one-and-a-half pounds equal one quart. This will yield about four cups of sliced strawberries.

Store unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at most. Do not wash berries until ready to use. They are awesome alone and great over ice cream. Using them in muffins or bread can make a great breakfast. The bright green of the spinach and avocado so brilliantly contrast the red of the strawberries and the flavors are excellent together. Grilled chicken with a strawberry glaze is beautiful. The salsa can be used on chicken or fish. My favorite pie growing up was strawberry rhubarb. Sharing this magnificent fruit can be one of the most sensual things you can do! (Well lightly dusted with powder sugar and slowly dipped in warm chocolate might be better!). So add a little romance to your life with these simple strawberry recipes.

Strawberry Muffins

2 1/2 cup flour

1/2-cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1/2-teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup melted butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1-teaspoon vanilla

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

Sugar mixed with cinnamon for topping

Pre heat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with bakers joy spray or line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir well until all ingredient are well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour liquid mixture in and the strawberries. Gently fold ingredients just until moist. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1/2-teaspoon sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Strawberry Bread

4 cups flour

2-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1/2-teaspoon salt

2-teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

3 eggs

3 cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced

3/4-cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with Baker’s Joy. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Gently stir in the strawberries using a wooden spoon. Stir in one third of flour. Add 1/4-cup sour cream. Repeat twice mixing well after each addition. Divide the batter into the two loaf pans. Smooth the top. Bake for one hour until a toothpick inserted in to the center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool for 1/2 hour in pan and then remove and complete cooling on racks.

Strawberry Salsa

1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries

1 red onion, finely chopped

1clove garlic, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill. Serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Strawberry, Spinach and Avocado Salad

1-pint fresh strawberries

2 bunches fresh spinach

1 red onion, slices

1 avocado. sliced,

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Splash Tabasco

1/2-cup olive oil

1/2-cup balsamic vinegar

Toasted pecans (garnish)

Wash strawberries under cool running water. Remove caps and set aside to drain. Wash spinach and remove large tough stems. Tear large leaves into small pieces. Slice strawberries into halves or quarters and place in a large bowl. Add dry spinach Onion and avocado. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk together. Pour dressing over all and toss. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.

Grilled Shrimp and Strawberry Salad

3/4cup canola oil

Juice of one lemon

1 Cup strawberries

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

3 cups mixed greens

2 cups strawberries, halved

Combine canola oil 1/2 the lemon juice, 1cup strawberries salt and pepper in a blender. Blend well and then add the sesame seeds. Thread shrimp on skewers and sprinkle with the remaining lemon. Cook on a high hot grill for about 6 minutes turning once. Toss the greens with the dressing to coat. Place shrimp on top Garnish with strawberries.

Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Glaze

1-cup strawberries

1/2 cup lemon juice

Lemon zest

1 shallot, minced

1-tablespoon mint, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 boneless chicken breasts

5 fresh strawberries and mint for garnish.

In a blender puree strawberries down to 1/4 cup. Add the lemon, zest, and shallot. Olive oil and mint. Marinate the chicken with the strawberry mixture 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Grill on medium heat basting frequently. Turn after 10 minutes. Cook for about 20 minutes longer. Garnish with mint and strawberries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch pie

4 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 1/3 cups white sugar

1/4-cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2-teaspoon cinnamon

1/2-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Trim leaving 1/2 inch over the pie plate.

Combine rhubarb strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Place in the pie shell.

Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 1-inch strips. Make a lattice top crust on the pie by crisscrossing the strips over the filling. Trim the strips even with the pie plate. Fold the 1/2-inch of the bottom crust over the ends of the strips. Seal and flute the edges. Brush lattice with egg.

Place on a baking sheet or tinfoil in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the crust starts to brown. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 50 to 60 minutes,

Best Basic Pie Pastry

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2-teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

½ cup butter

Up to 8 tablespoons ice water

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender cut the shortening into the flour until the pieces are the size of rice. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over part of the flour mixture and stir very gently with a fork, Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat using 2 tablespoons of water (until all the dough is moistened.) Divide dough in half. Form each into a ball you can do this the evening before wrap in plastic. . This is enough for 1 nine-inch double-crusted pie or two baked pastry shells.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

8 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

1 pound strawberries with stem, washed and dried completely

3 ounces white chocolate (to garnish half)

Place chocolate in heatproof pan. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Melt the white chocolate the same way and with a fork drizzle over half of the strawberries for a lovely presentation.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.