Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Season!

Before strawberry season is completely over, I must post two strawberry recipes for you. If you make them, you will be glad. Promise. (And no, this has nothing whatsoever to do with photography and writing - both of which I have been too happily and intensely busy with to write timely blog posts . . . )

Strawberries, by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography
My son and I went strawberry picking with the intent of making smoothies, shakes and the two recipes I am about to share with you: strawberry pie and strawberry soup. We went on a Sunday. Word to the wise - don't go picking on a Sunday. All the berries have been picked out. We got enough, but they were not as red and sweet as I would have liked. I gather that strawberry farmer wisdom is that you go strawberry picking mid-week to get the good ones. And while strawberries may continue to redden after you pick them and take them home, they won't get any sweeter. So don't pick any with green tips. And do pick the medium sized and tiny ones.

Both of these recipes are simple in flavor and method. They let the luscious sweetness of strawberries take center stage. Neither of them work with frozen berries, so don't bother trying it!

Strawberry Soup

This is a yummy cold soup that you can adjust to your taste. Don't you just love precise measurements?

About 4 cups of strawberries, washed and hulled
About 4 oz. (half a block) of cream cheese. You can use any kind you prefer - regular, low fat, no fat
About 2 Tbs sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
Enough milk to make it 'soup' consistency - you be the judge. You can use any kind you prefer.
Frozen orange juice concentrate - optional

Put the berries in a food processor and puree. Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces, add and puree with the berries. Add sugar. Add enough milk to make it of soup consistency. Puree again. If you like, add about 2 Tbs of frozen orange juice concentrate. It's good with it. It's good without it. You choose. Puree again. It should be a deep, pretty pink, nice and frothy.

Pour into a big bowl and chill. If you want to chill it faster, put it in the freezer for about an half an hour or so, then move to the fridge for about an hour. Pour into individual serving bowls. To be fancy, you can add garnish of a few fresh blueberries or some mint leaves or some fresh sliced peaches.

Strawberry Pie

6 cups fresh medium, ripe strawberries, washed, dried and hulled 
3/4 cups sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 9" baked pie shell
whipped cream - optional, home made is best

Use fresh, medium and small sized strawberries, not frozen. Make sure berries are dried off well after washing and hulling. 

To prepare strawberry glaze, puree 1 cup of the strawberries. Pour into small saucepan and add 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, simmer 2 minutes. Sieve berry mixture.

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in sieved mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and clear. Spread about 1/4 cup over the bottom and sides of the baked pie shell.

Arrange about 1/2 of the berries (whole), stem end down, in the pie shell. Cut smaller berries to fill in spaces as needed. Fill in as much as you can. Carefully spoon 1/2 of the remaining glaze over the berries, covering each berry. 

Arrange remaining berries (whole), stem end down, atop first layer, cutting and using smaller berries to fill in spaces as needed. Pack it with strawberries. Spoon on remaining glaze, making sure to cover each berry. 

Chill pie at least 3-4 hours. Fabulous garnished with whipped cream! 

Now go eat some strawberries!

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