Oh, the strawberry season is too short! And this year seems to be an exceptional year for strawberries. I've gotten them from a couple of different farmers this year and they have been heavenly. This Saturday at Market Square, the Colvin's may have had the best strawberries EVER -- at least my sister and I both thought so.
I mean, EVERYBODY loves strawberries, right?
So -- what have we been DOING with all these strawberries? Well, let me tell you...
Last year I learned how to really put up jam and found a recipe for Strawberry Lemon Marmalade that has made me famous among my jam eating friends. It was in the Better Homes and Gardens Canning magazine that came out last year (a special edition that had LOADS of excellent canning recipes -- see if you can put your hands on it, and you'll be happy, I promise.) The link is to their recipe for Orange Marmalade, but the Strawberry Lemon version is at the end. It is surprisingly easy and so worth the bit of time it takes! So far this year I've put up 12 jars. I don't know if I'll do more or not ... I have a sneaking suspicion that if I don't I will probably regret it about December.
This year I stumbled across this Strawberry-Balsamic-Thyme Jam recipe -- it may be the best all-around strawberry jams I've ever tasted. I expected the balsamic to stand out, but it didn't; instead, it gave the jam a wonderful depth without being overly sweet. I could barely taste the thyme, and don't know if my plant was too young to have a strong flavor, or if the herb was just there to brighten things up a bit. At any rate, it is also well worth the effort. So far I've put up 8 jars, and will probably do another batch of 8 if the strawberries don't play out before I get to it. This, I suspect, is the jam that will make the best tarts. EVER.
And did you know there is such a thing as Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream? It is next on my list of things to try. The recipes I'm looking at are:
- Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream from Mike's Table -- I like the looks of this one, because I think the custard looks rich and well made. I mean, if you're going to eat ice cream, let's just go all out.
- Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream from Zoe Bakes -- oh wow... this one may be the real winner. Roasting the strawberries first? Who ever heard of such a thing? And I can't wait to try it! I love that she uses a basic vanilla base.
My all time favorite strawberry ice cream recipe last year was a Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop. There are a lot of copies of the recipe out there on the web, (like this one) but I would really recommend that you just go pick up a copy of the book. I LOVED that the ice cream wasn't too sweet, with a lithe bit of tartness from the sour cream. And it was CREAMY. Oh my.
My hubby, however, wasn't wild about the sour cream taste in the ice cream. He wants his ice cream to be rich and sweet sweet sweet -- he wants it to taste like he remembers the ice cream his dad used to make in the back yard tasted. So, I'm still on the hunt for a perfect strawberry ice cream recipe. I tried this Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream recipe from Williams Sonoma. In my book, it is absolutely a keeper. Hubby, however, wants his even sweeter. I think I'm going to have to go get him a pint of Ben & Jerry's....
Ice cream aside, you can't have strawberries without thinking strawberry shortcake. I generally don't care for the typical store bought or home-made biscuit style shortcake. This recipe for a lemon flavored French Yogurt Cake from Bon Appetit came at the perfect time and gave me a perfect sub for shortcake -- cover a slice of this with a bunch of sliced and sugared strawberries, with or without the whipped cream, and you are in a very nice place. A very nice place, indeed.
I really wanted to find recipes using strawberries that weren't deserts. We all know that strawberries are made to go on a spinach salad with bacon and almonds, right? You DO know that? But I wanted to find something else.
And then, I did.
I found this recipe for Strawberry-Avocado Salsa from Cooking Light and HAD to give it a try. I made it today and served it over chicken breast tenders that had been marinated lightly in oil, lime, salt, pepper, garlic, chili, and cumin then grilled. It was amazing. I loved it. Even better -- MY HUSBAND LOVED IT!!! The recipe says it makes four servings -- in my house it was lucky to be enough for two. We didn't lick the bowl, but I think that was only because we both have good manners. If nobody else had been watching, I'm not sure what either of us would have done... I'm going to double the avocado next time, just because I would have liked to have tasted it a bit more, but this recipe is definitely on the KEEP list.
Oh, what a life. So many strawberries and such a short time in which to eat them...yet we must carry on, dear friends, we must persevere.
And that's that. So, what about you guys? Any great strawberry recipes to pass on? Let me know!
Strawberry Lemon Marmalade
Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream (from Mike's Table)
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream (from Zoe Bakes)
Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop)
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream (Williams Sonoma)
Lemon flavored French Yogurt Cake (from Bon Appetit)
Strawberry-Avocado Salsa (from Cooking Light)