Back to the Kitchen: The Sweet and Romantic Strawberry

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Strawberries work in many dishes.


It is the start of strawberry season and the open-air market is overflowing with these juicy berries. The mix of tart and sweet are at theie glorious and abundant best this time of year. I catered a fundraiser last week and one of the parents brought a fruit platter with fresh cherries and the best strawberries I have had all season. I asked where she got them, thinking that they came from a super expensive high end market and she said “Jons Market for 99 cents a basket.” So keep your eyes peeled for  berries and great prices.

The strawberry is a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape 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.

Sharing this magnificent fruit can be one of the most romantic things you can do. Try them lightly dusted with powder sugar and slowly dipped in warm chocolate.

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. Makes 1 dozen.

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. Makes 2 loaves.


Strawberry Salsa

Great with chips or over chicken or fish.

 From “The Sweet And Savory Cookbook” 2012 Huqua Press

1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove 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. Makes 4 cups.


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. Serves 4-6

Grilled Shrimp and Strawberry Salad

½ cup coconut  oil

Juice of one lemon

1 Cup strawberries

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

4 cups mixed greens

2 cups strawberries, halved

Combine coconut 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. Serves 4.

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, 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. Serves 4.

Strawberry Risotto

4 cups chicken stock

6 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ cups Arborio Rice

2 cups dry white wine

2 3/4 cups hulled strawberries

1-cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Mint For garnish

Pour the stock into a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Meanwhile, melt half the butter in another pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it is softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until all the grains are coated with melted butter. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes.  Set a few whole strawberries aside for the garnish and mash the remainder in a bowl. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the mashed strawberries to the risotto. When it is almost ready, gently stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the reserved whole strawberries and fresh mint. Serves 4-6

Strawberry Popsicles

4 cups strawberries, hulled and puréed

1-cup sugar

1 ¼ cups water

To make the sugar syrup: Using a saucepan, simmer the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool. To make the popsicles: Stir together the puréed strawberry and 1 cup sugar syrup then pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Makes 8 popsicles.

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. Serves 8.

Basic Pie Pastry

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2-teaspoon salt

½ 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 and butter 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 (up to 8) 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.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

3 1/2 cups half-and-half

1-cup sugar, divided

3 large egg yolks

2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

4  cups chopped fresh strawberries (about 1 pound)

Combine half-and-half in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Combine 1/2-cup sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until pale yellow. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour the egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining milk mixture; cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until custard cools completely, stirring occasionally.

Combine remaining 1/2-cup sugar and rhubarb in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and liquid is syrupy. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Combine rhubarb mixture and strawberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with a wooden spoon; discard solids. Stir rhubarb mixture into custard mixture. Pour custard into the freezer can of an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Chill for at least 6 hours and let sit out for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.   CLICK HERE to Learn from Gwen through her instructional videos featured on EHow. Check out her websites and  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON .



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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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