Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring and Strawberries

Well, I got very busy in April, so did not get a chance to post for Easter and Passover as I had hoped. Ahhhh well, there is always next year! Something for you all to look forward to then! Here is a nice picture of my May flowers that the April showers brought. Rhubarb will be in my next post, another springtime favorite.

Spring is finally here, and it's always amazing to me how God designs us, or at least me, to go with the seasons. Already, I no longer crave the heavier-stick-to-your-ribs fare that I instictively start coooking when  I feel the fall season change. Now it's the reverse, craving the lighter foods of salads and veggies and fruit, more fish and poultry. Just what we need to do well in the warmer weather and to be able to take advantage of all the spring lettuces, spinach, herbs and spring peas also. Mother's Day was also just here, and one of my favorite dishes was on the menu and a real treat anytime, great for breakfast, brunch or lunch and good for vegetarian friends as well. As soon as strawberries come in season here the end of the month, you'll be ready with a few of my favorite recipes heres.

Strawberry Crepes

My basic crepe recipe is:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot
Now comes the fun part of stuffing them! Several variations to choose from.
Strawberry and cream:
Lay the crepe out  and in the first 1/4, spoon whipped cream or sour cream across in a line, then top with fresh sliced strawberries or strawberries in syrup. Fold the first part of the crepe over and continue to roll like a jellyroll or rollover. Sprinkle the top with strawberry syrup and powdered sugar. 
Pineapple and cottage cheese:
Lay out as above and instead of whipped cream, spoon pineapple cottage cheese in the center, roll up, drizzle with pineapple juice and powdered sugar. Just 2 of my favorites, but you can use about anything you desire, just about any mild or sweet cheese and fruit are awesome.

Strawberry Shortcake here is not the lackluster stuff from the store. There are 2 versions, depending on how PA Dutch you are. My other half loves the very PA Dutch Version of actual shortcake. My father loves the biscuits version. I'll give you recipes for both.

2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lard
pinch of salt
1 C milk
2 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder

Beat sugar, eggs, lard and salt together and then add alternately the milk and flour and baking powder. Bake in a 9x11 or 2 rounds, sprayed with cooking spray, 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Now, to top it off, put a nice cream cheese or cooked icing on top. Then serve with sliced strawberries in a light syrup. He then likes to drown it in milk. But this cake is so yummy, I often eat it alone.

Shortcake Biscuits
These are basic drop biscuits, but they are light and fluffy with a slight crust and perfect for strawberries.
2 C sifted flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6-7 tbs shortening
2/3-3/4 C milk
SIFT flour, baking powder and salt. KNIVE in shortening. HOLLOW OUT and add milk, for dough. Either bake in a 8x8 dish or drop by spoons on greased tray. BAKE at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
When ready to serve, crumble in a dish and top with sliced strawberries in syrup and whipped cream.

Another yummy thing this time of year is my

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This dressing is good on any kind of salad, although better with peppier greens and a good marinade for chicken and fish.
Slice fresh strawberries and toss with spinach, ( 1 qt strawberries and about 10-12 oz spinach). Add 1/4 C slivered blanched almonds.
Poppyseed Dressing
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs poppyseeds
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs minced onion

I mix the above in a small blender and pulse until blended well and then chill for an hr. if it can sit overnight it is even better. Take and drizzle over salad and toss. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes before serving chilled.
I also love good fresh tuna steaks. As you heat up the grill for summer and want something yummy to go with the salads, try this tuna steak marinade before grilling. It is devine. 
In a large glass dish/pan, combine
1/4 C orange juice
1/4 C soy sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4  4oz tuna steaks

Mix the above ingredients except for tuna in the glass dish. Add the steaks, cover with plastic wrap or put in a zip lock baggie and refrigerate for 1/2 hr to 1hr. Take steaks out and grill like normal and discard marinade.