June 21, 2007 at 3:36 p.m.

Pick your own and make something

Pick your own and make something
Pick your own and make something

It's strawberry recipes today. Do you know how this delicious red berry got its name? There are several versions and who knows if they're right or wrong but this is the one I chose. In medieval times, the name strawberry could have come from the fact that the fruit ripened at the same time hay was being harvested. The Anglo-Saxon word for hay is "streaw." Or more likely, from the runners around the strawberry plant, which resembles "streaw" (hay). Sounds good to me.

Strawberries are among the foods that make us happy -- nutritionally speaking. Half a cup contains 70 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C, 25 calories, no fat, only 5 grams of carbs and 2 or 3 grams of fiber. So, if you subtract the fiber count from total carbs, that serving of berries has net carbs of 2 or 3 grams. They are high in antioxidants which prevent chemicals, called free radicals, from damaging cells in the body and help protect against a lot of diseases and other conditions associated with aging. Right there is why I eat lots and lots of strawberries. Do I look like I'm 90? Good, because I'm not. Let's get to recipes.

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If it isn't hot by now, it will be soon. Make this refreshing drink instead of lemonade or iced tea, for a change. You have to make it about six hours ahead of serving.

STRAWBERRY ICE DRINK

5 c. fresh strawberries, cut in half

2/3 c. water

2/3 c. sugar (can use sugar substitute)

1/4 c. lemon juice

Blend berries in food processor or blender until smooth. Heat sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add to berries in processor; add lemon juice, cover and process one minute.

Pour into a shallow freezer container (or a pan) and freeze 5-6 hours.

Just before serving, whip in processor until it looks like slush. Makes 6 glasses.

NOTE: If you want to make it look snazzy, cut an unstemmed strawberry almost in half, from tip to stem and hang it on the edge of the glass with a straw beside it.

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If you like serving a condiment along with meat you've prepared for a meal, such as a relish, cranberries, etc. you should really try this and serve it with ham, turkey or pork.

STRAWBERRY CHUTNEY

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. lemon juice

1/4 c. raspberry vinegar

2 T. raisins

2 T. honey

1/4 t. grated orange peel

1/4 t. prepared mustard

2 c. sliced, fresh strawberries

In a saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring now and then. Stir in berries. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes longer until thickened, stirring often. Put in fridge overnight, covered. Makes about 8 servings.

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This salad (oops, a salad recipe, again) is so good you'll want to make it often.

STRAWBERRY AND

CHICKEN SALAD

8 c. torn romaine lettuce or one 10 oz. package pre-torn

1-1/2 c. cooked, cubed chicken

1-15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

2 c. sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (if the rings are too big, cut in half)

1/2 c. sliced almonds, caramelized (how to caramelize follows)

1/2 c. purchased creamy poppy seed dressing or see recipe below

In a large bowl, toss first five ingredients. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve dressing on the side.

To caramelize almonds: Heat almonds and 3 T. sugar in non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for a few minutes or until sugar is golden brown, stirring constantly. Spread in a thin layer on waxed paper to cool. Break into small pieces.

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POPPY SEED DRESSING

2 T. lemon juice

2 T. honey

1/2 c. mayo

1/2 c. sour cream

1 t. poppy seeds

Combine lemon juice and honey. Stir in rest of ingredients until well-blended.

Serve on any fruit salad. Makes 1-1/4 c.

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With all the good, fresh fruit available now, be sure to my this dip. It is so good!

STRAWBERRY FRUIT DIP

1 c. sliced fresh strawberries

1/4 c. sour cream

1 T. sugar (or substitute)

1/4 t. vanilla

1/2 c. whipping cream

assorted fresh fruit

In a blender, combine first four ingredients. Cover and process until smooth.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into strawberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Serve with fruit. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 1-1/2 c.

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We are still picking rhubarb and this is a good dessert using strawberries as well.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB BUCKLE

2 c. flour

1-1/4 c. sugar

1 t. salt

3/4 c. butter (1-1/2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 c. brown sugar, packed

1 t. cinnamon

2 t. baking powder

1/2 c. milk

1 large egg

1 t. vanilla

3 c. sliced, fresh strawberries

2 c. diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen (2-1/2 c. if frozen, drained)

In a large bowl, combine first three ingredients. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove one cup to a bowl; stir in brown sugar and cinnamon and save for topping.

Stir baking powder into rest of flour mixture. In a 2 c. measuring cup, blend milk, egg and vanilla and stir into flour mixture just until moistened.

Spread half of batter in a 10-inch springform pan or 10-inch pie plate, sprayed with cooking spray. Evenly cover with berries and rhubarb.

Drop tablespoons of rest of batter on top. Crumble the rest of the topping over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool five minutes on wire rack. Run knife around edge; remove side if using a springform pan.

Serve at room temperature. (Wouldn't this be delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream -- I think so.) Makes 10-12 servings.

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For your info about how many strawberries yield how much.

One pint equals about 3-1/4 cups whole strawberries, depending on size or 2-1/2 cups sliced or 1-2/3 cups pureed.

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Thought for today: Did you finish your "spring house cleaning yesterday? If not, skip it as it's the first day of summer today. No-one will ever know.


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