Tag Archives: strawberries

Fresh strawberry gelato.

Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Egg-free

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More fun strawberry stuff!

I have another tasty strawberry ice cream recipe on here that takes less time, so if you’re just hankering for homemade strawberry ice cream NOW, go check it out. BUT–here’s the trouble with strawberry ice cream: it gets icy. The water content in those delicious berries is so high that it’s hard to get homemade ice cream to stay creamy after freezing without a little work. Enter this recipe. If you want silky, strawberry-y cold deliciousness, this is it.

Once upon a time (two years ago), there was a family living in Switzerland. The family loved ice cream–especially gelato. And one of the children in the family especially loved strawberry gelato. In the six months that family lived there–and the summer they spent there the year before–this little girl only ever ordered strawberry gelato. And this was a lot of times, because we (I mean they) lived down the street from a Swiss ice cream shop called Movenpick, and we spent weeks in the grips of a record heat wave with no air conditioning, so we often had literally no other recourse but to eat gelato multiple times a day during that period. (It helped that the ice cream shop was across the street from the fountains we played in to keep cool.)

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(That’s her on the left with her signature pink strawberry gelato scoop. The oldest daughter always got something chocolaty–girl after her mother’s heart–and the youngest was still allergic to dairy, so her kind and selfless mother usually got sorbet, which was also amazing, to share with her.)

Ever since getting back to the States, this little girl, who’s always been on the choosy side anyway, has been asking for gelato, and where we live, there just isn’t any to be found. So when I found a recipe for fresh strawberry gelato on one of my favorite resources for delicious recipes, I got pretty excited.

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Though the amount of actual work is pretty minimal, it takes a bit of prep and planning, so I was working on it last night, and happened to read in the blogger’s “backstory text” (whatever you call this stuff I’m writing right now that you always scroll past to get to the actual recipe) that she had never actually been to Italy to try the real thing. Being that we’re total gelato snobs now after our own travels through Italy and living in a country that borders Italy and houses lots of Italian transplants, this got my husband and me worried. But the work was pretty much done, so we were committed.

As he poured it into the ice cream maker, though, Husband kept IMG_2442licking his fingers. And as it came out of the ice cream maker and he put it in the container to freeze, he couldn’t wait to lick the spatula. And when we finally got to scoop it into our bowls and eat it for ourselves, it was a hit. My middle child, understandably the strawberry gelato expert–who also happened to be wearing a matching pink Swiss cow shirt at the time, so she must know what she’s talking about–proclaims it mid-bite-thumbs-up perfect. My husband, who also often ordered fruity gelato flavors, says it’s not Italian gelato, but it’s really good ice cream. My oldest and I always preferred chocolate–or else I was eating sorbet–so we’ll defer to them.

The verdict? We’ll call it gelato* with an asterisk. It’s really really really good ice cream, without the iciness you so often get with the homemade stuff, and in any case, it’s certainly cheaper than a trip back to Giolitti in Rome. But if you get the chance, definitely try to get to Giolitti. Maybe this’ll hold you over until then.

Fresh strawberry gelato* (or at least just really good ice cream)

Original recipe here

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced ripe fresh (or frozen from fresh and then thawed) strawberries
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Slowly whisk in milk and cream.
  2. Place the pan on medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, 5-10 minutes or until bubbling and thickening.
  3. Pour into a medium container (a 4-cup measuring cup worked great for us), press plastic wrap to the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate to cool completely.
  4. Puree the strawberries until smooth.
  5. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer into the cream mixture, using a rubber spatula to press the liquid through while the strainer catches the pulp and seeds. (Or at least most of them.) Stir well.
  6. Press plastic wrap to the surface again and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  7. Process in your ice cream maker as directed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours until fairly firm before enjoying. (Trust me, it’s worth the wait.)

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Fresh strawberry muffins. (And how I keep my strawberries fresher longer.)

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free

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It’s strawberry season again! At least in Florida. Right here in our own county we have some of the nation’s biggest and best strawberries–the epitome of delicious local produce. So last year we started a family tradition of going strawberry picking at one of the many u-pick farms nearby. Last year we thought we did pretty well with 11 quarts; this year, after only an hour and a half, we ended up with 25 quarts! (Including the quart that my youngest filled with her strawberry tops once she realized that she could eat the strawberries she was picking…)

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It took over an hour and a half to wash and cut all of those strawberries! So of course after all that effort I wanted to keep them fresh as long as possible! Here’s how I did it: I filled the big bowl of my divided sink with a few inches of water and added a couple drops of Thieves essential oil (a blend of spice oils with proven antimicrobial properties–the story goes that during the Black Plague, spice traders realized that the spices with which they were in constant contact protected them from the disease, so they used their immunity to loot the homes of Plague victims, hence the name Thieves) to disinfect the berries; I also added several drops of Lemon essential oil, an antioxidant, to keep the berries from going bad as quickly. Then I dumped in a box, which was probably 8 quarts’ worth. After each box I drained the sink and started again with the water, oils, and berries.

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These oils are therapeutic-grade, so they’re very potent; a little bit goes a very long way! Because I didn’t need to use much, there was no weird lingering taste on my delicious berries, and the ones I didn’t freeze stayed as fresh as the Friday I cut them for the entire weekend–because that’s all it took to eat them.

Now I’ve got over a dozen quarts of fresh-frozen berries to find delicious things to make with! I’ll definitely be making fruit leather, popsicles, ice cream, and smoothies, but I wanted to try something new this year. These muffins are perfect for a spring morning. They complement and retain the sweetness-with-a-touch-of-tart of the strawberries. They use refined sugar, so they’re not clean, but I did use whole-wheat pastry flour to make them a little bit healthier and more filling while keeping them light. And they’re dairy-, soy- and nut-free!

By starting the oven at a high temperature and then reducing it, you get a great puffy crown on the muffins that leaves them very light and delicious. This recipe makes about 18 regular-sized muffins, or I did a dozen regular and another dozen mini muffins.

***Note: Canola oil is easier in this recipe, but as I had run out, I used coconut, and it lent a delightful depth of flavor to the muffins and left my whole house smelling incredible. However, unless your strawberries AND eggs are completely room-temperature, you’ll have a solid lumpy mass on your hands; I had to warm the oil/strawberry/egg mixture in my microwave at half power for several 30-second interval to get everything the correct consistency again.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins:

Original recipe here

  • 3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil or melted and cooled coconut oil (see Note above)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen from fresh–not storebought in a bag frozen–and thawed) strawberries, sliced and slightly mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease the wells of your muffin tins with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, and strawberries, mashing with a fork if desired to get smaller strawberry pieces.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon 1/4-cupfuls (for standard muffins) or 1/8-cupfuls (for mini muffins)–a triggered ice cream scoop works great–into the wells of your muffin tin.
  6. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15-19 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

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{Secret Recipe Club} Berry Terrine.

This month my Secret Recipe Club assignment was Dancing Veggies, a (mostly) vegetarian blog with a few vegan recipes. Way to get me out of my comfort zone! As I scrolled down Amanda’s list of recipes, many caught my eye, like these pierogies & these super-tasty-looking zucchini fritters with homemade tzatziki sauce. But, as you know, I’ve been on a bit of a berry kick lately, so when I saw her Verry Berry Terrine, I knew that’s what I had to make!

Like Amanda, I had never heard of a terrine before, so I decided to do a Google Image search to see what dessert terrines looked like. Inspired by the many layered desserts I saw, I elected to do 3 layers instead of her 2: 1 with blueberries, 1 of just cream, & 1 with strawberries. Red, white, & blue! You could serve this for one of the many patriotic holidays we have coming up, or, since I seem to be the only food or craft blogger who didn’t make something for the Super Bowl, Patriots or Giants colors. This dessert looks fancy, but it was remarkably easy, & I already had everything I needed for it. I love it when that happens!

  • 12 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups prepared whipped cream (or Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed & patted dry
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • about 8 whole graham cracker sheets, quartered on the perforations
  1. Line a loaf pan with enough wax paper over the sides to cover the top as well.
  2. In your mixer bowl, cream together cream cheese & sugar. Mix in the vanilla, then remove from mixer & use spatula fold in the whipped cream until well combined.
  3. Split the mixture into 3 smaller bowls. Fold blueberries into the cream mixture in one of the bowls, & the strawberries into another.
  4. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter (it can be in the same bowl you used for the cream cheese). Press the mixture into the bottom & halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.
  5. Very gently pour/spread the blueberry-cream mixture over the top of the graham cracker crumbs. Use your spatula to smooth it flat, then do the same with the cream, & lastly with the strawberries. Gently slide graham crackers down the sides of the pan, between the strawberry layer & the wax paper.
  6. Place remaining graham crackers on top to cover the strawberry layer. Fold the overhanging wax paper over the top. Use pie weights (or, in their absence, a Tupperware of frozen leftover spaghetti sauce works quite well) to keep it pressed down. Freeze several hours or overnight.
  7. Remove to refrigerator to thaw a few hours before serving (we took it out almost 4 hours beforehand & the fruit was still frozen). Remove wax paper, then invert from pan onto a serving plate. Then cut into slices with a sharp knife. It’ll keep for several days in the fridge, but will get quite soft once it’s fully thawed, so it’s best to eat it within 24 hours of pulling it out of the freezer.

Thanks, Amanda! This was delicious!

Secret Recipe Club

Oopsey Daisy

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Fresh strawberry frosting for heart cutout cookies.

Have you heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes? The first time I heard of them was when they featured this recipe on the Martha Stewart Show a few years ago. Then the California bakery opened a store on the Upper East Side shortly before we left New York, & I had grand designs of doing an East Side-West Side, West Coast-East Coast cupcake taste test to see if they competed with Magnolia, but ran out of time. So I still haven’t had one of their cupcakes. But I’ve never forgotten this frosting recipe!

While I was planning a slew of projects & activities to keep The Munchkin & me occupied & sane in our tiny apartment during Three-Day Potty Training (incidentally, it worked!), I decided on cookies instead of cupcakes because I knew she’d have more fun cutting them out. I had some Pillsbury refrigerated dough on hand, which saved prep time, but honestly the strawberry flavor didn’t come out very well because of the vanilla cookies. Ideally, you’d use the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe too so you really get the strawberry flavor, or if you did do cookies, add some puree or a fruity extract (like lemon or orange) to the dough. But it sure does give a beautiful soft pink hue!

If you plan to decorate your cookies with piping, rather than just sprinkles, you’ll probably want to strain your strawberry puree & add enough cream to reach your desired piping consistency. Also, try to freeze your own fresh strawberries. Buying a whole bag of frozen strawberries at the store not only wastes money & strawberries if you’re not going to be using them; commenters had stated that the less-fresh strawberries made their frosting more gray than pink.

  • about 8 medium strawberries, frozen & thawed (I think they release more juice when they’re frozen… but I could be wrong.)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, firm & slightly cold
  • pinch salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla
  1. Puree your strawberries in a food processor. (I used a blender & ended up with some small chunks, rather than a completely smooth puree.)
  2. Cream butter & salt in stand mixer with paddle attachment until fluffy. Reduce speed & slowly add powdered sugar.
  3. Add vanilla & 3+ Tbsp. (to taste) puree; mix until just blended & even in color. Don’t overmix.

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Patriotic Napoleons for Primary Election Day.

The Primaries are tomorrow here in Florida. The race has been hot, to say the least, with almost every single evening commercial break being completely taken up with campaign attack ads. Having already done my civic duty — it’s really easy to vote early here — I thought I’d commemorate the craziness with a little patriotism.

(You don’t need to explain the irony to me of using a French-named dessert… Maybe you could use this for Bastille Day this summer.)

I saw this easy Napoleon recipe on TidyMom a week ago & knew I needed to make it. I love that the thick pudding/whipped cream mixture is essentially a quick pastry cream! Her version uses raspberries & bananas, which sounded good, but strawberries & blueberries are in season here, & I have to tell you, they’re the best I’ve ever tasted. Living in the same county as the top growers for Florida strawberries, we’re getting Farmer’s Market quality in the grocery store! It’s unbelievable. So I thought I’d complement those berries with chocolate & cinnamon instead of TidyMom’s caramel & brown sugar.

That’s the great thing about this: you can do it however you want! I actually was going to do bananas too, but a certain husband ate the last one. Honestly, though, I don’t think we missed them!

One quick note: in the future, I think I’ll use puff pastry instead of crescent dough for a flakier, more authentic texture.

  • 1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls (or use puff pastry)
  • cinnamon sugar
  • 1 cup cold skim milk
  • 1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla (regular vanilla works fine too) instant pudding & pie filling mix
  • 1 cup prepared whipped cream*
  • thinly sliced fruit of choice (bananas, strawberries, raspberries, whole blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • vegetable oil

*I made mine with very little powdered sugar so that it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly sweet. You could also use Cool Whip.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Cover a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Unroll your crescents into 4 rectangles. Pinch shut the seams that turn them into triangles. Use a pizza cutter or very sharp knife to cut each rectangle into 4 smaller rectangles, approx. 4″x2″. Place on prepared baking sheet & sprinkle each with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden & beginning to puff. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together milk & pudding mix until smooth & beginning to thicken, then refrigerate 30 minutes, until set.
  5. Fold in whipped cream. If you’re serving this later, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to serve. If you’re serving immediately, continue.
  6. Microwave chocolate chips in a small bowl until melted. Stir in enough oil to thin the chocolate to where it is “drizzle-able” (pretend that’s a word).
  7. Construct Napoleons as follows: one crescent rectangle, dollop of pudding mixture, sliced fruit, another crescent rectangle, another dollop, more fruit, & one last crescent rectangle. Drizzle with chocolate. For small children, just dollop some pudding in a bowl, place a crescent rectangle in the pudding, & top with fruit & chocolate drizzle.

Get Your Craft On Tuesdays

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Award-winning (!!!) peach-strawberry cobbler.

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, a holiday that commemorates the day in 1847 when the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a state holiday in Utah; everywhere else, Mormon wards put on picnics/barbecues/etc. to celebrate. Our new ward had a barbecue & “Dutch oven” baking contest on Saturday. (“Dutch oven” is in quotes because entrants were instructed to bake it in their ovens at home, then bring it in a Dutch oven. I used my Le Creuset Dutch oven. It still counts.)

Meet: the winner! Ta-da!

This recipe originated from The Princess & the Frog: Tiana’s Cookbook: Recipes for Kids, was modified by Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking, & then re-modified by me & my unfortunately still wonky (that Indiana-ism is the only word I can think of that can accurately describe it) oven.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups diced fresh peaches (I wound up having to freeze half of mine because produce gets to the store a little riper down here than in the Tri-State Area; they still worked fine)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (ditto)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup cold milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (or prepare your campfire, if you’re ambitious enough to be all “authentic”). Use a pat of the butter to grease the inside of your Dutch oven.
  2. Melt remaining butter in the microwave. Set aside.
  3. Combine fruit in a small-ish bowl & sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the sugar. Stir gently & then set aside to macerate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, & salt. Add remaining sugar, milk, & vanilla; stir until well blended. The batter will be (perhaps alarmingly) thin.
  5. Pour the melted butter into the batter & whisk quickly until just combined. The batter should be a little thicker now. Pour immediately into the bottom of your Dutch oven.
  6. Gently spoon the fruit mixture into the batter & lightly press it partway into the batter.
  7. Bake (uncovered if you’re using the oven; covered if you’re using a campfire) about 1 hour, or until top is golden brown. Serve warm. Win a baking contest!

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Strawberry ice cream. 3 ways.

Before we had to put the ice cream maker away for the move, I wanted to make ice cream one last time. Strawberry ice cream, to be exact. The day after I made this decision, Bridget over at Bake at 350 posted a strawberry ice cream recipe! It was meant to be!

I like to eat ice cream in three ways: 1) with a spoon, 2) with a fork, & 3) with my fingers.

But first, we have to start with the ice cream. Which, in this case, apparently comes from the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Book. After tasting this, I think I may need to go out & buy it.

  • 2 cups hulled & sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 eggs, pasteurized**
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

** If you can’t or don’t want to buy pasteurized eggs — or don’t realize until you’re already halfway into the recipe that it calls for eggs that don’t get cooked, ahem — pasteurize them at home! The eHow.com link I used is now broken, but the gist is to bring the eggs you’ll be using to room temp, then heat a pot of water (enough to cover the eggs) to between 145 & 160 degrees F (use a candy thermometer; I don’t have one, so I used my meat thermometer, which was much less precise & my whites got just the tiniest bit cooked, but still whisked up just fine). Add the eggs to the water, remove from the heat, & let sit for exactly 3 minutes. Then remove the eggs, rinse with cool water, & use them!

  1. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, & lemon juice. Stir just enough to coat, then cover & refrigerate at least an hour.
  2. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, pastry blender, or even 2 forks; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 to 2 minutes, or until frothy & light. Bemoan the fact that your arm is screaming in protest. Vow to start lifting weights again.
  4. Gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar while still whisking (& arm still protesting); whisk (with your left hand now) for one more minute after it’s all been added.
  5. Stir in the cream & milk. Add the strawberries & stir well.
  6. Add the mixture to the chilled canister of your ice cream maker & follow the manufacturer directions to process it.
  7. Remove from the canister to a freezer-safe container & freeze for a few hours to allow it to harden. But not too much. Unless that’s how you like it. In our family… well, to give you an idea, The Munchkin calls it “ice kweam soup.”

Now. How to serve it?

With a spoon: Scoop some into a dessert dish. Add some blueberries for some fruity, patriotic flair.

With a fork: Serve a scoop alongside a slice of my most favorite lemon-blueberry pound cake. So many delicious summer fruits together on one plate? You can’t say no to that.

With your fingers: Press a small, hard scoop between two soft chocolate-chip cookies. When I was in high school, I used to frequent a shop near UCLA called Diddy Riese, where they made amazing ice cream sandwiches using soft, fresh-baked cookies & enormous scoops of Dreyer’s (Edy’s, for you Easterners) ice cream, for only $1! The price has since gone up to $1.50, but the lines are still around the block, the sandwiches are still scrumptious, & this ice-cream/cookie combo still brings back tasty memories.

What’s your favorite way to eat ice cream? Are you an “ice kweam soup” person too?

Tidy Mom

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