It’s summertime and that means it is time to binge on fresh berries! Yes, all of them especially in Florida where a warm winter has yielded a generous crops of berries and they are on sale everywhere! So berry lovers like myself are already getting a great deal on tons of these tasty and super healthy fruits.
But berries are more than a delicious seasonal treat. Berries are considered a “superfood” because they are loaded with antioxidants. In other words, they protect our cells from serious cellular and DNA damage like cancer and from aging as well.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” said Hippocrates. (And let us enjoy it too, I add.)
Strawberries don’t need much, especially if they are fresh. You can have them in smoothies, soups, salads, salad dressings, desserts (of course) and just plain or macerated with fresh whipped cream or mascarpone with yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. Here are some of my favorite strawberry recipes:
This is one of the easiest yet most delicious way to enjoy your seasonal berries on your breakfast crepes, as a mid-afternoon (late night) snack or to serve, enjoy, as a light dessert.
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
3 T fine granulated (or brown) sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 T balsamic vinegar, optional
Fresh mint leaves, chifonnade, optional
- In a medium bowl combine strawberries with sugar and balsamic vinegar, if using. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or until juices are released. Serve with fresh whipped cream or mascarpone, with granola and yogurt, or refrigerate covered for up to 1 day.
There is something about this dessert I love. It is both a pie and a custard so I get to enjoy the best of two worlds. Needless to say, it is super easy to make and undeniable comforting!
4 T (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3 c fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, rinsed and dry
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c whole raw almonds, blanched or soaked overnight
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 T cornstarch
Pinch of sea salt
3 large organic eggs
3/4 c whole organic milk
1 t vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8-inch baking dish with one tablespoon of butter.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining butter and set aside.
- In a food processor, mix flour and almonds until finely ground. Add sugar, cornstarch and salt and keep mixing. Add one egg at a time and keep mixing well. Add the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract until well blended and combined.
- Arrange the strawberries in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Pour batter over the strawberries and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until set.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Serve alone, with fresh or macerated strawberries, vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
Fresh Summer Salad with Strawberry Dressing
This a must-prepare dressing that is great with arugula, dandelion (or spinach), strawberries, glazed pecan and feta cheese salad.
1 c arugula, rinsed
1/2 c dandelion greens, rinsed
1/2 c spinach, rinsed
1/2 c pickled beets, coarsely chopped
3 c fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 radish, thinly sliced
1/4 c honey glazed walnuts
1/4 c golden raisins, optional
Feta cheese (blue or gorgonzola), optional
1/4 c edamame, optional
1/4-1/2 c quinoa, optional
2 T chia seeds, optional
2 T sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
1/2 red onion, chopped (use more if desired)
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad and mix well. Set aside covered with a damped paper towel and refrigerate.
1 1/2 c balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup red wine (I like using Malbec)
6-10 strawberries (depending on size), hulled and halved
1/2 c fine sugar (may use good Maple syrup or Agave nectar instead, but remember to use less)
A splash of fresh lime juice
1/4 t paprika
1 T fresh cilantro or mint, chopped
1 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 c olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, over low heat combine balsamic vinegar, wine and reduce to 1 cup. Add strawberries and reduce to 3/4 cup. Add sugar and lime juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Add herbs, stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature. Place in a small bowl and whisk in the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle over salad, combine well and serve immediately.