6 sensational ways to enjoy strawberries — sweet, savory and boozy, too

A berry bonanza is about to hit the Bay Area.

As California’s storied strawberry crop rides its annual juicy wave northward, the best berries of the year are starting to pop up at Bay Area roadside stands and farmers markets, where chefs, such as Isaac Miller of Redwood City’s Timber and Salt, flock in search of plump, local berries.

Miller favors varieties like Albion and the somewhat smaller Seascapes for their superior flavor — and he’s a fan of Watsonville’s Rodriguez Ranch and Tomatero Farms in particular. Make sure you’re getting the best berries, he says, by trying before buying. And pay attention to the color.

“I do not want any white on them, whatsoever,” he says. “I want them to be fully blush, beautiful red.”

The nose also knows when strawberries are just right, says blogger and cookbook author Gaby Dalkin. Ripe berries are “so fragrant,” she says. “You walk down the aisles at the farmers market and they just hit you during strawberry season.”

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Eating berries straight or lightly sprinkled with a little sugar is without a doubt one of the best ways to indulge. But since the local season lasts a good five months, there’s plenty of time to play with recipes for eating strawberries all day long, not just for dessert. Not that there’s anything wrong with dessert, but a steady supply of strawberry shortcake isn’t conducive to staying svelte during swimsuit season.

Strawberries figure into several recipes in Dalkin’s new cookbook, “What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food” (Abrams, 2018), including chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake pops, strawberry-pineapple coconut smoothies and a flatbread she says was inspired by her desire to create something unique for a Mother’s Day brunch. She tops pizza dough with homemade ricotta and dollops …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

Timber and Salt’s Strawberry Soup with Burrata, Fried Almonds and Aged Balsamic

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Strawberry soup:

2 pints strawberries, washed and hulled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

½ an English cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 shallot, peeled

½ garlic clove,

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Strawberry relish:

¼ cup red bell pepper, diced small

¼ cup English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small

¼ cup strawberries, quartered

½ shallot, minced

Fried almonds:

½ cup whole almonds

1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Garnish:

8 ounces burrata

2 tablespoons 12-year-old balsamic vinegar (or any high-quality balsamic)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 sprigs basil flowers

Fleur de sel and cracked black pepper

Directions:

For the strawberry soup, chop the strawberries and veggies into large chunks; place in a large bowl. Pour vinegar and olive oil over them, and allow to marinate for 2 hours, tossing every 15 minutes or so. Place vegetables in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding water to achieve the right consistency if necessary. Season with salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, combine all the strawberry relish ingredients. Season lightly with salt and cracked pepper.
In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add almonds and fry at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Strain and sprinkle with salt. Roughly chop into thirds.
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Cut burrata into 8 portions. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and oil.
To serve, place an ounce of burrata into each soup bowl. Season with fleur de sel and cracked pepper. Add a spoonful of the strawberry relish and almonds. Pour the soup …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

Bergerac’s Avocado Strawberry Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries, stemmed and cut in half

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup Champagne vinegar

½ fennel bulb

2 Haas avocados

1 ounce toasted Marcona almonds

½ cup Green Goddess dressing (see recipe below)

Cracked black pepper, Maldon sea salt

Pea tendrils to garnish

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, combine strawberries, sugar and Champagne vinegar and allow to macerate for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, using a knife or mandolin, slice fennel bulb paper thin. Transfer to an ice water bath to keep cold and crisp.
Just before serving, slice avocados in half. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out each avocado half.
On each plate, place a few slices of shaved fennel; drizzle with a spoonful of dressing. Place avocado on top, cut side up. Place six strawberry halves and ¼ of the toasted almonds around the avocado. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle avocado half with another spoonful of dressing and garnish with pea tendrils. Repeat plating with remaining avocado halves.

Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:

1/3 cup creme fraiche

1 garlic clove

¼ cup each chopped chives, fresh tarragon leaves, Italian parsley leaves and fresh chervil

Zest of ¼ lemon, grated

2½ tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1½ tablespoons water

1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:

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Place creme fraiche in a mixing bowl. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, herbs, lemon zest, vinegar and water. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. With motor …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

How to make Frosé (Frozen Rosé)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 750-ml bottle of rosé

1 pint strawberries, stemmed and hulled

1 tablespoon sugar

3 ounces orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Ice cubes as needed

Optional garnish: ½ ounce freeze-dried strawberries, 2 teaspoons sugar, sliced fresh strawberries

Directions:

Pour rosé into ice cube trays and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Place strawberries in a blender and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Allow berries to stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until they start to release some juices.
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Pulverize the freeze-dried strawberries in a spice grinder. Combine with 2 teaspoons sugar, and use the mixture to rim your glasses.
Add liqueur and rosé ice cubes to the strawberries in the blender, along with 4 to 6 regular ice cubes. Blend until just combined. Pour into glasses and garnish with sliced berries.

— Jennifer Graue

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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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