Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberries for Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

What’s your first thought when you think of strawberries?  Strawberry Shortcake?  Strawberry Daiquiri? Strawberries dipped in chocolate?  The choices are endless aren’t they?


Nutritional Value:
The amazing thing about these little flavor powerhouses is that they are absolutely packed with nutrition.  One cup of strawberries gives you 247mg of Potassium, 16 mg of Magnesium, 85 mg of Vitamin C, 21mg of Calcium and yet has only 45 calories! Truly nutritious for both body and mind!
Strawberry Legends:
Newlyweds in provincial France were always served cold strawberry soup because the tiny little strawberry was highly regarded as an aphrodisiac!  The strawberry is the symbol for Venus due to its red color and heart shape. Legend states that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it; you will fall in love with each other! Medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on church altars and pillars as a symbol of perfection.  In Bavaria some people still tie baskets of strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to the elves in the springtime.  If you ask Debbie Fabre what is the one food she would want if she was stranded on a deserted island; she would choose strawberries!
Growing Facts:
Strawberries are the only fruit with the seed on the outside; 200 in each strawberry and were being cultivated by the Indians when Columbus arrived in the United States! Cultivated commercially since the 1800’s, strawberries are the leading small fruit crop in the United States and are grown from Alaska to Florida! Americans consume an average of 4.85 pounds of strawberries each.
Strawberry storage:
For strawberries to stay fresh, do not wash them right away. Store them in a large container with a dry paper towel at the bottom. Separate the berries by layering them with paper towels to maximize freshness. Just before using, wash strawberries with the caps attached under a gentle spray of cool water. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature before serving.
Can you tell I love strawberries?  Pretty obvious isn’t it!  Here in the Quaretti-Lee household strawberries are not just for dessert.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner will feature strawberries at the height of the season; we just can’t get enough of these beautiful little treasures!  Here are some of our favorites!
Breakfast:
Strawberry Smoothies: take 1 pound ripe strawberries, 8 ounces of good quality yogurt, 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup of ice cubes.  Blend until smooth, pour into tall glasses and enjoy!
Lunch:
Strawberry Spinach Salad: Toss together 6 ounces baby spinach, 1 cup quartered strawberries, ½ cup fresh raw peas, ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans and ½ cup crumbled goat cheese. Combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped lemon thyme, I small shallot finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.

Dinner:
Grilled chicken with Strawberry Salsa: Mix together 8 ounces finely chopped fresh strawberries, 1 red or green with the chili seeds removed and finely chopped, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or basil. Let the strawberry mixture sit for about 30 minutes while you grill your chicken then serve on the side or pour over your chicken.
Cocktails:
Strawberry Daiquiri: Blend together 4 fresh strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 jiggers of white rum, 1 jigger of strawberry liqueur and 1 jigger of lime juice. Pour into martini glasses and garnish with ½ of fresh strawberry.
Desserts: 
Strawberry Tart:
Ingredients:
1 ½ Cups Self Rising Flour
¼ Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Butter
¾ Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract (almond extract can also be used but then delete the lemon zest)
Zest from ½ lemon
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons cream
1 Pint Strawberries (washed, hulled and cut in half)

Method:
1.   Pre-Heat oven to 350
2.   Beat butter, sugar, eggs, lemon extract and cream together.
3.   Combine flour and salt.
4.   Gently add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, do not over mix.
5.   Spread into a 9 inch spring form pan coated with non stick spray.
6.   Press strawberries into batter in a circular pattern.
7.   Bake for 45 minutes.
8.   Cool 15-20 minutes and transfer to serving platter.
9.   Slice & serve as is or with optional toppings.
Optional Toppings:
Sliced strawberries and whipped cream
A drizzle of chocolate sauce
Vanilla or strawberry ice cream

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream
7 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (the best you can get)
1 ¾ sticks butter
5 eggs separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon chili powder
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Melt butter and chocolate over water
Fold in egg yolks, vanilla, sugar cocoa powder and salt
Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into chocolate mixture
Bake in a 9 inch greased spring form pan at 350 for 35-40 minutes
Let cool and remove to serving platter
Top each serving with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream; dust with a bit of cocoa powder prior to serving
And last but certainly not least we can’t forget Nutella Meringues filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream!
Whip 4 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar.  Beat until stiff and gently swirl in 1/3 cup Nutella.  Do not mix in completely.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a piping bag make 3 inch circles and fill the base and double pipe the outer edge of the circle to form a bowl.
Put into pre heated 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 200 and check after one hour.  If the meringues are dry turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for 2 hours.  If the meringues are not quite dry continue baking for another 15-25 minutes.
Slice one pint strawberries and mix with sweetened whipped cream.  Fill the Nutella Meringues with the strawberry whipped cream mixture and garnish with a fresh strawberry.  I like to add a bit of chocolate sauce to the plate as an additional garnish.

 

10 comments:

  1. KC, do you ever have my number...lol
    I love this article and learned so much about the strawberry...no wonder I'm so sexy...:)) I think people in Bavaria are crazy to offer the strawberries to the elves..I'm glad I'm here. So, I plan to try these recipes and I'll let you know what I think..as the strawberry expert of course. As a matter of fact I have some in my refrigerator right now. I'm sure that's no surprise and I also made Lactose Free Strawberry Ice Cream today...Love the article!! Deb

    ReplyDelete
  2. KC, Love all these recipes! I am a strawberry lover myself. The first recipe I am going to use will be the Nutella Meringues! Right up my ally as you would probably know... :) A lot of great info on strawberries I was not aware of...Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful post! So much strawberry info and great recipes to choose...I'm definitely starting with that rich chocolate cake!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great post! I could definitely eat strawberries ANY time of the day and these recipes looks delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a fun post! Love all the strawberries, love your strawberry recipes, but may I add a couple? Since I have 2 Costco size containers of strawberries in my fridge right now, we've been having strawberries with our granola for breakfast, I made a jar of strawberry jam yesterday and this afternoon I'm making strawberry sorbet. For supper tonight I just decided to make your strawberry spinach salad to go with our grilled chicken! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the ideas mjskit! Strawberry jam is one of my favs!
    Bella; what's cooking at your hose today...soemthing fantastic I know!
    Deb, let us know when you post your ice cream recipe...we ALL would like to try it!
    Shawn, the chocolate cake is one of my most requested desserts!
    thank Kelly; enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm wild about strawberries too and the possibilities are endless. Your recipe collection looks delish! One of my favorites to make this time of year is a skinny strawberry shortcake trifle...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ha ha .. I Just saw your post KC and it was shrimp and grits that day. With all the talk about them I had to have some!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am sooo ready to make shrimp and grits again but tonight we are going to Sarasota for Thai food...can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  10. KC...I can't decided which recipe I like the best. They ALL look so delicious that I want to try them all. Have never used Nutella before although I have daughters who swear by it. So I think I'll get some and try that decadent meringue recipe first. YUM!!!

    ReplyDelete