My Mother’s Day surprise included a new Ninja Blender today, so to break it in, I made my favorite smoothie.
This blender is amazing. We also made a smoothie with extra ice and it came out like gelato. The blades are so powerful that it can pulverize the ice without melting it, and basically make ice cream (or gelato, or sorbet) in one minute.
I also recently discovered White Cranberry-Peach juice, which is to-die-for. I can’t wait to try it with cocktails once summer gets underway. This sweet juice makes any additional sweetener totally unnecessary for the smoothie. You might also like my favorite peach smoothie.
A savory salad courtesy of True Food Kitchen and the California Strawberry Commission. Used by permission.
Author: True Food Kitchen and the California Strawberry Commission
Recipe type: Appetiser
2 cups snap peas, cleaned
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
4 oz baby greens
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 cup goat cheese
1⁄2 cup toasted walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Blanch the snap peas in salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Refresh in ice water immediately after cooking to lock in the bright green color and to keep from overcooking.
Lay out the fennel on a sheet pan. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast snap peas at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes.
Arrange strawberries, baby greens, blanched snap peas and roasted fennel in a large salad bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the agave nectar and balsamic vinegar with the olive oil to create the vinaigrette. Whisk until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide on four plates and drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. Top the salad with equal parts goat cheese and walnuts.
Last week, the California Strawberry Commission hosted in an event in San Francisco highlighting strawberries and featuring Cheryl Sternman Rule, author of the new book, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables. Ms. Sternman Rule is a Silicon-Valley based food writer who writes the amazing blog, 5 Second Rule. I am always inspired by her writing and her photography alike. If this blog is not on your radar screen, it should be. Add it to your list. Stat.
The California Strawberry commission generously shared some amazing recipes with me which I am excited to share with you, like this Strawberry Caprese Salad. What a great combination to mix the sweetness of strawberries with the tanginess of a balsamic reduction and the creaminess of Mozzarella. If it seems strange at first, don’t forget, tomatoes are fruit too!
I feel so lucky to live in California in the heart of Strawberry country. Did you know that California produces 88% of all of the strawberries in the US? We benefit from a year-round growing season. In Southern California, there is harvesting of strawberries in April, May and June as well as October, November and December. Northern California sees its peak growing season in late spring and early summer, but also continues to harvest into November.
To keep strawberries fresh once harvested, they are rushed to a cooling facility where the heat from the fields is drawn out quickly and then they are kept at 32˚F until they reach the market.
For more great strawberry recipes and recipes for everything else in your CSA box or in your bag from the Farmer’s Market, don’t forget to order:
Over the past six days, I’ve shared each course of a five-course dinner I cooked for my husband’s recent birthday party. Looking at the array of photos below, would it occur to you that this is a collection of vegan, gluten-free recipes? Think of it. No cheese. No pasta. No fish or fowl. If you had asked me on my husband’s birthday last year whether I could (or would even want to) make a dinner like this, I would have answered, “no,” flatly. Now, I can barely imagine eating any other way. Well, almost barely.
Yes, we are happily joining the national craze of eating in a sustainable, healthful way. In fact, just yesterday, I planted a whole pallet of seeds which means we’re joining the garden-at-home craze too. Count on a whole host of blog entries about this new adventure. When I was on the outside looking in at this fad, I thought it was a bit of overblown malarky, and, well, just a fad. Now that I’m joining in, I can feel myself transforming into an evangelist. I guess 38 per cent of Americans (the number of people who had a vegetable garden last year) can’t be wrong. Well, sometimes they can, but not this time.
I absolutely must thank Viviane Bauquet Farre for her inspiration and help on this birthday dinner project. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, you are really missing out. You can find her at food and style and please, go “Like” her facebook fan page. Viviane creates the most original and beautiful recipes. She also produces some of the highest quality cooking instructional videos on the web. See them all on StreamingGourmet.com. It took me months to figure out that her recipes are vegetarian, so they will appeal to you whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan, an omnivore or someone determined to subsist on truffles and scotch. Seriously. Thanks again, Viviane!
These might look like buckwheat pancakes, but the color comes from the strawberry coulis that is in the batter, not from buckwheat flour.
With strawberries still in season and on sale here in California, I couldn’t resist trying something new and a little decadent with them. I’ve been thinking about putting the strawberry goodness right into the pancake rather than just spreading jam or syrup on top. The result? A bright, light pancake with lots of flavor. The strawberry coulis replaces the milk which makes for an interesting twist. Also, instead of baking powder, this version uses the acid from the orange juice mixed with baking soda to get the fluffy rise needed for a good pancake. Also, in this rendition, the eggs are separated. The whites get whipped up into a wet froth and folded into the batter at the end. This helps make the batter smooth and shapely as it goes into the pan and gives a light, bubbly texture to the finished pancake.
Strawberry-Coulis Infused Pancakes Serves 2
7 large strawberries (CA large), sliced in half
Juice of one small orange
1 tsp orange zest (optional) – gives pancake a little bite
2 Tbsp confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
Purée all ingredients in a blender and push through a sieve (to remove the strawberry seeds). This makes almost one cup of coulis – enough to put coulis in the pancakes and pour some on top. Set aside 1/2 cup for the recipe and chill the rest.
1/2 cup strawberry coulis (see above)
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Start heating your pan under medium heat. Having the pan fully and evenly heated helps make even the first pancake come out just right. Beat the egg yolks with the strawberry coulis and set aside. Mix all of the dry ingredients.
2. Beat the egg whites rapidly with a whisk until the are stiff, but not so stiff that they would stay in the bowl if you inverted it. It takes about 2 minutes of serious whisking.
3. Stir together the dry ingredients and the coulis/egg mixture until completely combined, but not overly mixed. Fold in the egg whites. Again, don’t over mix. You just want to get the egg whites incorporated.
4. Drop a dollop of butter into the pan and allow it to melt, but not brown. Drop one ladle full of batter into the pan. Allow to cook until edges appear less shiny and bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Transfer to a warm plate. If not eating immediately, keep in an oven heated to 250˚F. Garnish with fresh strawberries and serve with additional strawberry coulis.