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Posts Tagged ‘Strawberry’

In June I had all kinds of gorgeous, berry delicious recipes picked out to make while strawberries were in season, sadly though life was hectic and I never made it to our local patch this year.

Strawberry picking is a tradition in our family that I’ve always looked forward to. The best part of being in the patch is popping that very first plump, juicy berry into your mouth and tasting that off-the-vine freshness that comes with picking your own. It sure motivates you to get picking and fill that basket so you can bring more of that berry goodness home with you.

Recipes abound for these ruby-red beauties and the possibilities they bring to the table are endless.  One of the ways I’ve been eating them since the spring is in a goat cheese and spinach salad that I truly love.

For this salad, one of the things I really concentrated on, was the dressing. I wanted to come up with something that was light, summer-y, full of good-for-you ingredients and the most important thing – great berry flavour.  Nothing artificial. I wanted to compliment the spinach and goat cheese with a berry-bursting freshness — the same freshness found in berry patches across Ontario.

Each year, I usually make strawberry jam as a way of capturing and enjoying those delicious berries all year-long. One of the jams I make is a no-cook strawberry freezer jam which is basically a mixture of freshly crushed berries, sugar, pectin and lemon juice.  The jam is not cooked but poured directly into jars and kept in the freezer until I need it. Because it doesn’t go through a long cooking process, the jam is bright red, sweet and full of delicious berry flavour.

I had some in the freezer that hadn’t set all that well, so I’d been saving it to serve as a topping over ice cream. Then I thought, what better way to bring that berry-freshness to the dressing than to use my runny strawberry freezer jam. It would work perfectly as a base for a salad dressing.

I added a little olive oil to thin it out, apple cider vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice for a little flavour contrast, and some poppy seeds for crunch.  This is now one of our all-time favourite dressings and it has everyone helping themselves to seconds of vitamin-packed spinach and strawberries. It takes just a couple of minutes to put together, and brings one of the freshest tasting dressings right to your table, so you can enjoy summer all year-long.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 6

6 cups spinach, washed

2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

4 – 5 ounces goat cheese

1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Method

1. Wash and dry spinach leaves and remove longs stems if necessary.  Place in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Wash strawberries, remove stems and cut into quarters. Place berries on top of spinach.

3. Crumble goat cheese into bite-size chunks and place on top of berries and spinach followed by the almonds.

4.  Make the dressing.

Perfect Summer Preserve Strawberry Dressing

1/2 cup strawberry freezer jam

1/8 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Method

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir with a whisk for 30 seconds until incorporated or place all the ingredients in a mason jar fitted with a lid and shake for 15 seconds.

Pour over your salad and enjoy!

Any left over dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

If you don’t have strawberry freezer jam, you can easily substitute any favourite strawberry preserves.

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They say love is in the air, so what better way to say “I love you”  than with a strawberry cupcake topped with whipped buttercream and candied hearts.

These cupcakes are easy, moist and straw-bel-icious!!!  Filled with fresh

strawberries the sweet, light flavour comes through in every bite. Whip

some up for the sweethearts in your life.

 

Strawberry Cupcakes

Makes 12

1/3 cup (75 g) butter, softened

1 cup (230 g) sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla

1 cup (150 g) flour

1 tsp ( 5 ml) baking powder

1/3 cup (85 ml) milk

6-8 (120 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped

1-2 drops gel food colour in red (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F /175 ° C.  Line one standard 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the egg and then the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating between the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; beat until combined after each addition.  Fold in the strawberries. At this point I added two drops of Americolor “Super Red” soft gel paste food colour to add a deeper strawberry colour.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are slightly golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean,about 20 minutes.  Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on wire racks.

This recipe can easily be doubled.

Vanilla/Strawberry Buttercream

Yields:  3 cups

5 large egg whites

1 cup (210 g) butter, softened

1 cup (190 g) + 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

6-7 (100 g) chopped strawberries (optional)

1. Pour egg whites and sugar into a grease-free and heatproof bowl. Place the bowl in a double boiler, with the water simmering, but not touching the bowl.  Whisk the sugar and eggs continuously until it reaches 160 °F / 70 °C .  This will take approximately 15 minutes.  If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the mixture by rubbing it between your fingers; if the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is thick, it’s ready for the next step.

2. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whip using the whisk attachment until white, glossy, thick and cool.  You can test the temperature by placing your hand on the outside of the bowl, if it’s comfortable and approximately room temperature, it’s ready for the butter.  This step can take 10 – 15 minutes.

3. Start by switching to the paddle attachment on your mixer.  Slowly add the butter in chunks, one at a time, until incorporated and your mixture is thick, smooth and silky.

Notes:

Don’t worry is your mixture looks soupy or curdles.  It may appear to be ruined, but keep mixing and it will come together.  If your buttercream appears to be too runny; place the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes and rewhip.  If the buttercream appears to be to cold, set it back in the double boiler for a few seconds and whip again.

Add the pure vanilla extract or scrape a vanilla bean, if you would like some tiny vanilla bean specs, and mix.

If you would like to have a strawberry buttercream add 100 g (6-7) coarsely chopped fresh strawberries to the buttercream and whip for 1-2 minutes.  (You can also add a drop of strawberry flavouring, though you won’t need it if your strawberries have a lot of flavour).

Pipe vanilla buttercream using a Wilton tip # 2A  tip in a pastry bag in swirls on the cooled cupcake topped with a couple of candy hearts, sprinkles, smarties or Hershey’s kisses.

To pipe the strawberry buttercream you will need to use an open piping tip so that the strawberries won’t get stuck in the tip.  Wilton # 12 Round or #199 Open Star should work just fine.

The buttercream should be used immediately or stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.  Leave out at room temperature and rewhip with the paddle attachment of your mixer for 5 to 10 minutes when needed.

Mmmm. Mmm. mmm. mm. Can’t you just taste that fresh berri ‘ ness?

Hope you’re busy spread’in some berry-licious love and I hope you have a wonderful

weekend.~!

Jackie

XXOO

 

 

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