11 June 2010

Strawberries Two Ways

I have yet another incurable food addiction.

When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparents in Bordentown, NJ. My grandfather, as you may recall, had a huge garden down there (his retirement garden in West Virgina is even bigger, which really makes no sense, since the rest of the family is still in NJ). My fondest childhood memory was going during strawberry season. My cousins and I would go out and pick our own strawberries: gorgeous, plump, juicy red berries that were lucky if they even made it inside to my Nan, who would cut them for us, stick them in a tall glass with a little sprinkle of sugar (not that they needed it).

Really, can you beat a memory like that? Name me one childhood memory you have that is more wholesome and lovely. :)

Well, today I went to the farmer's market, like I do almost every Friday afternoon. I was smarter today than usual. Instead of being instantly drawn to the first fragrant strawberry stand, I looked around for the best deal, and best fruit. I managed to find them at a stand buried behind most of the produce stands. Hidden within meat trucks and honey stands was the best deal I had seen yet, and absolutely the best berries in the market. Three schale for 5 euro (that comes to about 1.5 kilos, roughly 5 pounds of strawberries). Being that it's only the hubs and myself, this may seem like overkill, but trust me, it's not. I have plans.

I'm going to share 2 of my favorite ways to eat this lovely little berry.

Strawberry-Kiwi Salad
Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: N/A


Here's what you need:

2 cups strawberries (20-30 berries or so)

4 kiwis (I used green and gold)

Optional: Mint Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

Here's what you do:

-Quarter your strawberries (cut bigger ones into eighths if you feel like it - go crazy!)

-Slice off both ends of your kiwi. Stand on its end and run your knife just along the inside of the skin - really ripe kiwis will separate from their skins pretty easily. You can sometimes just peel the skin right off, but I always end up pulling a lot of kiwi off with it!

-Once your kiwi is de-peeled, cut into small bite-size pieces. Lather, rinse, and repeat for each kiwi.

-Toss your fruits together with a couple tablespoons of mint simple syrup if you feel like it. Unnecessary, but delicious all the same.

To make mint simple syrup: place 1 cup sugar, one cup water, and 1 loosely packed cup of clean mint leaves in a pan. Bring to a boil, then shut off the heat and leave until cooled (you'll start to smell mint - then you'll know it's good). You can realistically strain it after about 10 minutes, but the longer you leave it, the more minty it will get!

Balsamic Berries with Sweet Mascarpone
Servings: 2 Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: N/A


This is a classic Italian combination. I've done very little with the traditional recipe (as I understand it to be... I've never actually used one). I just added some delicious local products to jazz it up a little.

Here's what you need:

-2 cups of quartered strawberries

-about 1 TB Balsamic vinegar

I used balsamica crema, a super sweet balsamic reduction; amazing on strawberries!

-1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

-2 tsp honey

I used a slightly creamy local honey called Vanille Zauber, which means vanilla magic! Yes, all those little black flecks are vanilla seeds. Besides the fact that it clearly endows you with amazing powers (magic you see), it's indescribably delicious. Regular honey is fine if you can't find/make the vanilla stuff, but it's SO worth it if you can!

Here's what you do:

-Toss your berries with your balsamic.

-Mix the honey into the Mascarpone. Now, if you've never tried mascarpone cheese (which the hubs and I hadn't before tonight), it tastes a lot like an incredibly thick whipped cream. My hubby actually thought that's what it was when I told him to try some (he's very trusting - I hold out a spoon or fork without telling him what it is and he'll try it, no questions asked. Good thing I'm not sneaky... evil laughter).

Anyhow, after trying the mascarpone (always try unfamiliar ingredients before you use or tweak them!) I questioned whether or not I should even bother adding honey. The berries are really sweet, and my balsamic cream was sweet. Well, any doubts I had were curbed hard once I tried the mascarpone with my vanilla honey in it. The slight sweetness of the honey, along with the complex flavor vanilla brings brought it to an almost transcendental place! If you can't find vanilla honey, try mixing some vanilla powder into regular honey (great recipe from Kitchen Butterfly on making your own powder).

- Split your berries into 2 serving glasses, and top each with half of the cheese mixture.

 Share with someone you really love (you have to really love the person to be willing to part with half of this!)


  1. Hi Sherri
    Was reading your blog to your grandparents they just loved it that you had many fond memories of the garden.Everyone is so proud of you and cant wait to see you and Phil.
    Love you
    Aunt Jane

  2. I could be addicted to strawberries too, especially with mascarpone!


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