Strawberries add a taste of summer to meals

A quintessential seasonal fruit, fresh-picked berries add a brightness to summertime foods

    The much-anticipated strawberry season has started at Walvoord’s Berry Farm north of Cedar Grove.
    That’s expected, since these ripe red berries are one of the quintessential tastes of summer.
    They’re a versatile fruit, delicious on their own but also a delightful ingredient in all types of food, from appetizers to entrees, and from drinks to desserts.
    For a simple but delicious dessert,  dip berries in melted chocolate. Or try dipping berries in balsamic vinegar and then powdered sugar.
    To quench your thirst, you can go with a traditional shake or malt or just throw a few strawberries in a blender with lemonade and ice to create a frosty drink.
    Fresh strawberries are a welcome addition to a summer fruit salad. Or you can dress fresh berries with a mixture of one cup honey and 1/4 cup lime juice, then sprinkle them with toasted coconut.
    Strawberries — the first fruit of the summer — are a healthy snack, packed with folic acid, potassium and fiber. Fat-free and low in calories, just eight medium-sized strawberries contain 160% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.
    They are widely available in the supermarket, but pick-your-own operations give families a first-hand experience in growing berries.
    Given the pandemic, Walvoord’s is practicing social distancing in the checkout shed, wagon rides and the fields.
    While masks are optional, everyone must wash their hands before entering the fields. Children may pick with their parents but must be supervised.
    And unlike previous years, pickers are asked not to eat any berries while picking .
    When picking your own, it’s recommended that you select firm berries that are evenly shaped and medium to large in size. The coloring should be even and bright red.
    Following are strawberry recipes from

Strawberry Marshmallow Tarts

For mousse;
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 tablespoons water
1 7-ounce container marshmallow creme
3⁄4 cup whipping cream
For chocolate tart shells:
1/2 cup butter
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cup flour

    Put strawberries and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until strawberries are soft. Mash the strawberries with a spoon.
    Add marshmallow creme to the hot strawberries. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
    Put whipping cream in a large, cold bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in strawberry mixture and refrigerate.
    To make tart shells, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg and blend until well mixed.
    Add the dry ingredients. You may need to knead the last of the dry ingredients into the dough.
    Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Roll each piece out until 1/8-inch thick and line a four-inch tart tin with it. Put pie weights on top of dough and bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
    Let cool and remove from tart pans.
    Spoon strawberry mousse into tart shells. Refrigerate several hours until firm. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices.
    Makes 10 four-inch tarts.


Spiked Strawberry Orange Coconut Smoothie

2 pina colada frozen fruit bars
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rum
Whipped cream

    Let fruit bars sit on counter for about five minutes to soften. Remove bars from sticks. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream.
    For a kid friendly version, omit the rum.
    Makes two servings.



Summer Berry Cobbler

For filling:
1/2 cup raw sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups raspberries
1-1/2 cups blackberries
2 cups strawberries, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For topping:
3/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil

    For filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add fruit and toss to coat. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and toss again. Spoon filling into a pie plate. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 22 to 24 minutes, until edges are bubbly.
    To make topping, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives until butter is the size of small peas. Combine buttermilk and oil, then add to flour mixture and stir just until all ingredients are moistened.
    Remove pie plate from oven and increase temperature to 400 degrees. Spoon topping over berries, then sprinkle with two teaspoons raw sugar. Return to the oven and bake 15 to 18 minutes, until topping is baked and golden and berries are bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
    If you don’t have raw sugar, you can substitute granulated sugar.



Easy Strawberry Sweet Rolls

1 can crescent roll dough
3 to 4 tablespoons strawberry jelly or jam
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Place a sheet of plastic wrap over your work surface. Lightly dust with flour. Unroll crescent dough onto plastic wrap. Spread jelly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along one long side. Roll dough starting on the long edge with the jelly. Use the plastic wrap to help roll. Seal roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
    Remove from refrigerator, unwrap dough and slice into 3/4-inch pieces. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes, just until golden brown.
    To make glaze, combine sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. If too thick, add a few drops of milk.
    Remove rolls from oven and drizzle with glaze. Serve warm.



Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

2 cups frozen strawberries
1 whole frozen banana
2 ounces cream cheese
6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional

    Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a graham cracker.


Refrigerator Berry Pie

1 deep dish pie crust, prepared as directed
3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, halved
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, stems removed
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups water
1 box  strawberry-flavored gelatin
Whipped cream or ice cream, optional

    Combine sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, ensuring no clumps of cornstarch remain.
    In two-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar-cornstarch blend and water. Heat to rolling boil. Cook a full two minutes, stirring regularly to ensure no clumping. Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin. Set aside and allow to cool 15 to 20 minutes.
    Layer berries in pie crust, starting with strawberries and alternating with blueberries until crust is full. Pour glaze over berries, making sure each fruit piece is covered. Don’t allow the glaze to flow out of the crust.
    Chill at least four hours. Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
    Makes six to eight servings.


Lemon Strawberry Loaf Cake

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
For glaze:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrap down sides of bowl. Add vanilla and stir.
    Combine buttermilk and lemon juice.
    Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixtures to batter, alternating the two, until combined.
    Shake diced strawberries with remaining flour in a plastic bag until well coated. Fold strawberries into batter.
    Spoon batter into a well greased and floured loaf pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake rest in pan 20 minutes before removing. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice if needed. Spread over top of cooled cake.


Strawberry Syrup

6 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup water
2 to 3 cups sugar

    Place berries and water in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a potato masher to mash strawberries, then continue to simmer 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash again. (You may place about half the mixture into a blender and puree to reduce lumps and seeds)
    Add at least two cups sugar, tasting to ensure mixture isn’t too sweet. Bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly, then reduce heat to low and let cook about five minutes. Ladle into jars.



Strawberry Cream Puffs

For puff pastry:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
For strawberry cream filling:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
4 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
For semi-sweet chocolate ganache:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
For white chocolate ganache:
2 bars of white chocolate, 200 grams total
1/4 cup heavy cream

    In two-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat water, butter and salt until better melts and mixture boils. Remove from heat.
    Add flour all at once. Stir vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture leaves sides of the pan and forms a ball. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Using a large cookie scoop, drop by rounded tablespoonful onto a large, greased cookie sheet. Smooth the tops with a moistened finger if desired.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Place on racks to cool.
    In a three-quart saucepan, mix gelatin, sugar and flour. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and milk with wire whisk until combined. Stir into gelatin mixture. Cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture is very thick and coats the spoon well. Do not boil.
    Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate about 45 minutes, until cold. Add pureed strawberries to the custard after it cools.
    In a small bowl, beat heavy whipping cream till soft peaks form. Fold into custard mixture.
    Use a bread knife to slice tops off puff pastries. Spoon cream into opening and a little more to fill the top. Place top back on top of your cream.
    To make ganache, melt chocolate, then add heavy cream. Whisk until smooth. Spoon over prepared cream puffs.
    Plain cream puffs freeze well so you can make them ahead and top with ganache just before serving.


Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake

For cake:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food coloring
2 quarts fresh strawberries
For whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 to 3/4 cups powdered sugar
For ganache:
1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

    Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs.
    Make a paste of the vinegar and cocoa. Mix cocoa paste into butter mixture.
    Sift flour, salt and baking soda together. Alternating, add flour mixture and buttermilk to batter, mixing to combine after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Add red food coloring until batter is desired color.
    Divide batter two greased and floured nine-inch cake pans. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pan for 30 minutes before inverting on to racks to cool completely.
    With a mixer, beat two cups heavy whipping cream, cornstarch and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat the cream.
    To make ganache, bring heavy cream just to the boiling point in a small saucepan or the microwave. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit 10 minutes. Stir chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Let cool.
    Wash and dry strawberries. Remove leaves and hull eight to 10 strawberries, then slice in 1/8-inch thick pieces. Set aside remaining strawberries.
    Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread half the whipped cream on top, spreading to the edges. Place a single layer of sliced strawberries on the whipped cream. Place second cake layer on top, then spread remaining whipped cream on top of cake. Spread to the edges. Place whole strawberries in center of cake, then drizzle with chocolate ganache.
    Cake is best when assembled within a few hours of serving. Refrigerate leftovers.


Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 to 2 cups strawberries, cleaned and sliced

    Combine all ingredients except strawberries and whisk until frothy. Freeze for 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and gently whisk again. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to machine’s instructions.
    Approximately 10 minutes before machine is done churning, add strawberries. Finish churning, then transfer ice cream to freezer container and freeze at least four hours.
    Makes eight servings.


Strawberry Hand Pies

2 9-inch pie crusts
2 cups washed and cut strawberries
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

    Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and lemon zest, then whisk until well combined. Set aside.
    Combine strawberries and lemon juice, making sure strawberries chunks aren’t too large. Let sit 10 minutes, then stir dry ingredients into strawberries.
    Combine egg yolk with water and whisk well.
    Cut pie crusts into four sections. Place a good spoonful of strawberry mixture in the center of each section, taking care not to include too much of the syrup. Fold crust from one outside edge to the other, creating an envelope filled with the strawberries. Brush inside edges with egg wash, then press edges with a fork to seal.
    Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
    Place pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Poke tops with fork. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 20 minutes, until tops are the perfect golden brown. Let cool on pan for 30 minutes before placing on a rack to cool completely.
    Makes eight pies.


Strawberry Butter Streusel Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
For streusel:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened

    To make streusel, combine all ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Set aside.
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
    In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then add milk and beat again. While beating, add butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and mix with a fork just until combined.
    Spoon a tablespoon of batter into paper-lined muffin tin. Add a few strawberry pieces, then another tablespoon of batter, being sure to only fill cups about 2/3 full. Top with a four to five strawberry pieces and about two teaspoons streusel.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Let muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes , then remove and place on rack to cool completely or serve warm.



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