Going Strawberries!!!

endless_strawberries

A large part of my weight loss over the last couple of months has been a shift from processed foods, breads and sweets to grilled/smoked meat, fresh vegetables and lots of fruit. Almost every week I bring home at least two pints of strawberries. I LOVE strawberries, but there have been a few times lately where I felt kind of burned out on them.

Until this past Thursday night, when I was invited to a special California Strawberry blogging event here in Dallas. We had strawberries in every part of our meal, and they used them in ways I had never even considered before.

CA Strawberry tour Dallas event group picture

Picture courtesy of JuneCleaverNirvana

Here’s what our menu looked like and how you can try the same foods at your house:

 

strawberry_muddle_cocktail

 

Strawberry Muddle Cocktail

Ingredients

2 large or 3 small fresh California strawberries, stemmed
1/2-1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 slices lemon
6 ounces prosecco
Crushed ice
Mint leaf

Directions

In a glass, muddle strawberries to a fine pulp. Add simple syrup to taste. Place lemon slices on top of strawberries and punch out the centers, leaving rinds in glass. Gently pour in prosecco; do not stir. Layer top of glass with ice; garnish with mint.

strawberry_gazpacho

Strawberry Gazpacho

Ingredients

Strawberry Gazpacho:

6 lbs. Fresh California strawberries, stemmed and chopped
2 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
9 cloves garlic
3 jalapeño peppers
1 1/2 cups Sherry vinegar
Salt and black pepper as needed.

Jicama Salad:

8 cups Jicama, peeled and julienned
2 bunches chives, cut in 1 1/2-inch length
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper as needed.
1 1/2 pounds fresh goat cheese

Directions

To make Strawberry Gazpacho, in blender, purée strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, jalapeños and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. yield: 24 cups

To make Jicama Salad, combine jicama, chives, oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper. yield: 8 cups

For each serving, to order, mound 1/3 cup Jicama Salad in center of soup plate. Carefully ladle 1 cup Strawberry Gazpacho around salad; top with 1 ounce goat cheese, formed into a ball.

grilled_mahi__mahi_tacos_with_strawberry_salsa

Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Strawberry Salsa

Ingredients

Strawberry Salsa:

1 cup diced fresh California strawberries
1/2 cup diced mango
1/4 cup diced papaya
1/4 cups diced pineapple
2 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Cayenne pepper

Avocado Sour Cream:

1/4 cup diced avocado
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Chipotle Sour Cream:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 chipotle in adobo
Salt and white pepper
Granulated garlic
1 pound mahi-mahi, cut into 2-ounce pieces
Salt and black pepper
Ground cumin, ground coriander and ancho chile powder
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, heated
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas, heated
2 cups shredded napa cabbage

Directions

To make Strawberry Salsa, gently mix together all ingredients; season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. To make Avocado Sour Cream, blend all ingredients in food processor or with stick blender. To make Chipotle Sour Cream, blend sour cream and chipotle in food processor or with stick blender; season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Season mahi-mahi with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and ancho chile powder. On gas or charcoal grill, cook fish until it offers no resistance to the point of a small, sharp knife. Place 1 corn tortilla on top of each flour tortilla. Top each corn tortilla with 1/4 cup cabbage, 1 piece mahi-mahi and 1/4 cup Strawberry Salsa. Serve Avocado Sour Cream and Chipotle Sour Cream on the side. Makes 4 servings.

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The nice thing about several of these recipes is that they aren’t the typical sweet strawberry taste, several of them are quite savory. Surprising, but very tasty. But I have to admit my favorite was still dessert – Strawberry Shortcake Sliders.

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
6 cups stemmed fresh California strawberries, divided
1 cup simple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar
Mint chiffonade

Directions

Sift flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter to fine particles. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups cream (enough so that dough holds together and is soft but not sticky). On a floured surface, knead dough lightly a few times to form a ball. Pat into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400°F. With a 2-inch round cutter, cut dough into 12 circles. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.

In a saucepan, simmer 4 cups strawberries with simple syrup until jam-like consistency; cool. Slice remaining strawberries. Whip 3/4 cup cream with vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form.

To serve, cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Place 3 shortcake bottoms on each of 4 plates. Top with cooked strawberries, whipped cream and sliced strawberries, dividing ingredients evenly.

Place tops on shortcakes; dust with confectioner’s sugar and sprinkle with mint.

Makes 4 servings

I would encourage you to try these recipes and more. Strawberries are super healthy and great tasting – how much better can you get?

Excuse me, while I go make myself some fresh strawberries and bananas as a midnight snack . . .

All recipes provided by the California Strawberry Commission.

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