Strawberries make it that much sweeter

To me, no food seems as festive as the bright red strawberry. It makes any celebration — from a Father’s Day brunch to a bridal shower to a b’nai mitzvah party — that much sweeter.

Strawberries are local, too. California produces about 85 percent of the nation’s strawberries, and the nearby Salinas/Watsonville area produces more than 40 percent of the state’s crop. You can even go to a pick-your-own farm right in our own backyard, south of Half Moon Bay along Highway 1 for example.

These recipes turn some Jewish favorites (including a cold borscht)  into strawberry spectaculars.

 

Strawberry “Borscht”

Serves 4

1 lb. strawberries

11⁄2 to 2 cups orange juice

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 cup cubed pineapple

    (cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks)

1 cup plus 1⁄2 cup chopped strawberries (cut into 1⁄2-inch     pieces)

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

4 tsp. finely chopped mint

Rinse, drain and hull the pound of strawberries. Purée. Measure. There should be 11⁄2 to 2 cups of purée. Combine with an equal amount of orange juice, also adding sugar and lemon juice. Chill. Just before serving, add pineapple and 1 cup of the strawberry pieces. Mix. Put into individual bowls. Top each serving with 1⁄4 cup yogurt, 1⁄8 cup strawberry pieces and 1 tsp. mint.

 

Roasted Strawberry Strudel

Serves 6

2 lbs. strawberries

4 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. walnut oil (optional)

2 Tbs. finely minced candied (crystallized) ginger

oil or oil spray for greasing baking trays

4 sheets of filo dough, each 13×17 inches (thawed if frozen)

1⁄4 cup melted butter

1⁄3 cup bread crumbs

3 Tbs. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, drain and hull strawberries. Cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Combine with honey, walnut oil and ginger. Spread in single layers on two greased, rimmed baking trays. Bake for 20 minutes until berries are soft and juices are thick and syrupy. Let cool.

Return oven to 350 degrees. Working with one sheet of filo at a time (keep others covered), brush with butter, then top with next sheet. Repeat, ending with the top sheet buttered. Scatter bread crumbs across top. Mound filling in a line about 2 to 3 inches wide along the longer edge of the filo dough, leaving a 2-inch margin from sides and end. Sprinkle nuts over strawberries. Fold filo over filling, fold over the ends and roll up. Brush top and sides with butter. Place seam side down on greased baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice

Serves 6

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup water

1 lb. strawberries

1 Tbs. lime juice

1 cup coconut milk

1⁄2 tsp. almond extract

Mix sugar and water in a small pot. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool. Wash, drain and hull berries. Purée. Measure 11⁄2 cups of purée for ice (save rest for another use). Mix purée with sugar water, lime juice, coconut milk and almond extract. Chill. Pour into ice cream maker and churn as per manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into airtight container and freeze for 2 hours up to 4 days. Take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving.

Faith Kramer is a Bay area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com. Contact her at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.