Thursday, July 15, 2010


In my parents' gardren, the most flavorful little strawberries you'll ever taste in your life grow in the early summer.  You bite into one, soft and juicy, and it's as though you've never tasted the flavor of strawberry before.  The hard tangy store-bought strawberries don't hold a candle to these. They sprung up unplanned one season and now we look forward to the adorable red fruits every year.  We have to get to them fast though, they aren't ripe for long and we have a strawberry poacher in the area (our pug Paco who sticks his stubby face through our fence to steal every treat he can find).

I wish we had a larger strawberry patch because there are so many ways to enjoy them!  Here are three ideas for strawberry dishes (that will taste wonderful no matter where your strawberries come from).

Strawberry Idea #1: Fresh Strawberries in Sour Cream & Brown Sugar
I know, it sounds like a strange combination, but we always had this for dessert growing up.  The cool tangy sour cream balances out the sweet brown sugar and fruit to make a delicious (and quick) summer dessert.

It couldn't be easier - wash the strawberries well,  then, individually, dip them in sour cream and roll them in brown sugar.  That's it!  You can either dip all the strawberries in advance, or just set up a strawberry bowl, a sour cream dipping bowl, and a brown sugar rolling plate/bowl.

Strawberry Idea #2: Strawberry Salad with Home-Made Poppyseed Dressing
I try to stick to simple, fresh recipes for summer food.  You can use just a few ingredients and still produce big flavor.

For this salad you'll need:

1/2 cup mayo
2 T strawberry vinegar (red wine or light wine is OK if that is what you have)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup whole milk
2 T poppyseeds

1 head of romaine lettuce
Strawberries (one small package is more than enough)
1 small red onion

Mix all the dressing ingredients together well.  Chill.

For the salad itself, slice the strawberries (i like to cut them in half, then slice to get more strawberry for every bite) and be sure slice the onion very very thin.  Too much raw onion can ruin a salad if it's cut so thick that the taste is overwhelming.

Dress the salad right before serving.  So simple!

Strawberry Idea #3: Strawberry Jam
If you're like me, you manage to constantly buy too much food.  I've gotten tired of throwing out so much food so I've begun to experiment with ways to use my extras that will give them a longer shelf life. When I realize I've neglected my strawberries and they're at that point where they haven't gone bad but they're too soft to eat raw, I've started to turn them into a jam (or jelly? or preserve?  I have to be honest, I don't really understand the differences).

There are no exacts for this recipe, it really depends on how many strawberries you have.  What i do is shuck the strawberries, and mash them up with the bottom of a ladle or, if your fancy, a masher.  Over a medium heat, heat the strawberries, some water, and some sugar.  Let it bubble but stir and taste often.  Add more sugar if you feel it's not sweet enough and, when it's reached a jam-like consistency, transfer it to a jar and let it cool, then refrigerate.  I don't think that's exactly how you make jam (or jelly or preserves) but its easy and it turns out great for me!

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