Local strawberries are here!!! Get them while you can. Around my neighborhood, they're available at every produce stand. They tend to be sweeter than the ones you find in the grocery store. In these parts, they also tend to be a bit smaller (bite-sized!) The season is so short and I simply feel I can't get enough. So, I get carried away, often buying entire flats of these succulent little devils. That adds up to a lot of strawberries!!
I serve them cut up in bowls, whole for the nibbling and even cooked into all sorts of foods. They're wonderful on top of a bowl of ice cream and who doesn't love a chocolate dipped berry?
These are my stand-by take with item. You might call them my signature dish. They are soooo easy!!!!
Making Dipped Berries:
I always keep a bag of chocolate candy melts handy (I buy mine at AC Moore or Michael's.) I simply grab a basket of berries, rinse them and allow them to dry a bit - just spread them on a bed of paper towels. ***Water is an enemy to dipping chocolate. Cover a tray with waxed paper. You could also use parchment paper. Plastic wrap does not work well. Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Since microwaves vary drastically, it is hard to tell you how long to cook the chocolate. Chocolate does burn easily so I suggest beginning with 30 seconds at a time. Stir. Repeat until chocolate is soft and stirable. Simply grabe a berry by the stem and dip it in the melted chocolate to coat. Set the berry on the waxed paper-covered tray. Set the full tray flat on a shelf in teh refrigerator to set the chocolate. (This only takes about 5 minutes.) Arrange the berries on a pretty plate and wait for the ooohs and ahhhs!!
Want more praise? Serve white wine (or champagne) with chilled strawberries in the glass. These are both pretty and tasty!
Just want to add a Spring touch to your kitchen? Check out some of the kitchen accessories (like these strawberry potholders) featured in my Etsy shop.
Ever wondered what it takes to make the World's Largest Strawberry Shortcake? (Have you ever had 15,000 folks drop by for dessert and wanted to impress them with something sweet and pretty?)
It's simple. All you need is 514 cups of sugar, 224 cups of shortening, 192 cups of eggs, 9992 cups of flour, 576 teaspoons of salt, 2048 teaspoons of baking powder, 448 cups of milk and 18 cups of vanilla. Use whipped cream to taste and pretty much all the fresh strawberries you can get your hands on!!
The odds are, it won't fit in your home oven. OF COURSE, YOUR KITCHEN MAY BE ROOMIER THAN MINE. (Just sayin'...) Oh yeah, you MAY need a flatbed truck to take it to your friends.
It might just be easier (and possibly cheaper) to attend the Lebanon Strawberry Festival in Lebanon, Oregon and just get in line for a slice. The festival takes place this weekend, June 2-5.
Oregon a bit too far? There are strawberry festivals just about everywhere this week. Maybe one of these would be closer for you - the Newark Strawberry Festival in Newark, Ohio, the West Cape May Strawberry Festival in Cape May, New Jersey, the Kimmswick Strawberry Festival in Kimmswick, Missouri or even the Troy Strawberry Festival in Troy, Ohio.Want to enter a Strawberry Recipe Contest? Then head on over to the Ashland Strawberry Faire in Ashland, Virginia. Bring your favorite strawberry dish or beverage to the Henry Clay Inn (near Randolph Macon College) between 9:30 and 10 a.m. on June 4th. Cash prizes will be awarded and winners will be announced at 11 a.m. While you're there, enter your favorite tyke in the Little Miss or Little Mr. Strawberry contests.
Check your local calendars. I'm sure you'll find a strawberry event near your location, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters! - With the Thanksgiving preparation madness winding down, and the cooking madness about to begin, I have to take a moment to reflect on the many, many things...