Thursday, April 8, 2010
Strawberry Season is Here!
Spring time is here so that means plenty of strawberries! This last weekend I went with my boyfriend to Carlsbad where there is a large field of strawberries where you can pay and pick. It was such a beautiful sight! The sweetest thing is when you see a little child go and pick a strawberry and quickly put it in their mouth; it's also cute when you see the traces of strawberry all over their chubby cheeks :). It was such a nice day for everyone to be outside in the sun picking one of the best fruits (or flowers if you want to get technical) of the season. We bought a small bucket that would usually fit about 15-20 large strawberries. It really wasn't big at all (think medium popcorn bucket). Of course we couldn't go home with just 15 strawberries for $8.00, that's just ridiculous. So we copied other people's techniques which meant pulling strawberries with the entire vine and hanging it on the outside of the bucket. I'll definitely post a picture of that soon. With this technique, we were able to get almost 4 pounds of strawberries!!! Now that I look back, that was one too many for my own good. I can't even look at them in the grocery store anymore. So what to do with all these strawberries? Immediately I began to think about what I could bake with these strawberries. I am a big fan of strawberry rhubarb pie so I thought about making pie but that just required more time than I really had. I decided I'd made the same kind of pie filling but a different topping - a crispy crumble topping!
45 minutes later, I was enjoying a baked strawberry rhubarb crumble.
Here is a great filling recipe from Smitten Kitchen:
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces (it looks like a pink celery stalk)
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered (this means about 4 cups)
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
After making this filling, I spooned the mixture into small ramkins instead of large baking dish such as the one on Smitten Kitchen's website.
I went on to use another recipe from All You magazine for the crumble on top.
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
You might need to make more of the crumble to cover all of the strawberry rhubarb filling. I ended up cutting the strawberry rhubarb recipe in half and used only half of the crumble recipe too. I was a little short on crumble.
Pop the ramkins into the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes and voila!
I really liked the tartness of the rhubarb and sweetness of the strawberries combined. I hope you enjoy it too!
Another recipe I tried that evening after strawberry picking was strawberry jam. I wanted to avoid pectin when making the jam but you really need it. Without it, your jam won't solidify and instead become a runny mess. I'm going to use it top pancakes now instead of using it on toast.
This is quite the blog post this week. My friend came to visit me last night for a late night bake session and it was so much fun. I got to try a recipe that she used from Martha Stewart called Lime Meltaways. If you enjoy citrus flavors and shortbread cookies, this is for you.
Ingredients (to make 10 dozen):
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar (split into 1/3 and 2/3)
Grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
With an electric mixer, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.
With parchment paper, roll the dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the 2/3 cup sugar-filled bag and toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store them in an airtight container.
Refreshing, cool and light. Three words that describe what my taste buds were surely feeling :).
PS If you like lemons, you can substitute the lime juice/zest with that of a lemon.
PSS I need better images...