Farm fresh strawberries

Summer strawberries fresh from the farm were gifted to me a couple of weeks ago, and were they ever delicious. There is something special about fresh strawberries that have not gone through a market of handling, packaging and processing for shipment.

These berries were sweet, tender and delicious. Many of them were petite and perfect for strawberry tarts.  I have an amazing recipe that I have used for years that makes any type of fruit tart bakery quality.  This time, I did not add the glaze, which even makes their presentation more spectacular, but opted to just enjoy the sweetness of these special berries instead.

Using your favorite pie crust, determine the size and shape of the tarts.  I have a variety of pans, and often choose to use my heart tart pan. This time, I used one large rectangle and three smaller circle pans for the recipe quantity.  Prepare the crust and cool.

Make the tart filling. Whip together one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, and 1/2 cup whipping cream.  Spread into the tart shells.  And, then top with fruit. I dusted these tarts with white sanding sugar.

An additional glaze can be added of 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate and brushed over the fruit.  Refrigerate until serving.

Yummy for summer.

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Brown sugar cream tart

Here is another summer berry tart recipe which was adapted from Coastal Living magazine, July August 2011 issue.

I love the creamy filling in this recipe which is added to a pre-baked already cooled tart shell.  I even refrigerated these two steps before adding my berries right before serving.  I think that pretty much guarantees that the berries will not stain the filling and become less than attractive for the presentation.

I used one package of refrigerated pie crust dough to fill my long tart shell. (4 by 14 inches) I did have some leftovers, but followed the package directions for thawing and baking the shell. It is important to have a nice tall sided crust to hold the brown sugar cream filling for the tart.  That is why I planned to thaw both pie dough crusts.

To prepare the filling:  Mix together these ingredients– 1/3 cup sour cream, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup whipping cream. I used an electric hand mixer to blend until creamy.  Once the shell is baked and cooled, add the filling and chill in the refrigerator.

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Select the berries to decorate.  Choices could include, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe ribbons, or strawberry slices.  I used strawberry slices for Memorial Day and after slicing for plating, used a drizzle of chocolate syrup and some whipped cream.  This is a delicious dessert.

Strawberry Wonton Cups

Are you looking for an easy dessert that can be made in minutes?

Start with an idea from Imperial Sugar, and modify to make an even easier sweet treat that is perfect for a light dessert after a meal, or to serve on a dessert buffet.

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Bake 12 wonton wrappers in one-half of a 24-cup muffin tin.  Press the wontons into the cups to make sure there is a nice opening in the center of each cup.  Bake in the oven set to 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

When cooled, fill with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  If desired, drizzle with chocolate syrup. And finally, dust with powdered sugar.

What a pretty RED dessert for Valentine’s Day this year!

Options:  use any type of berry for this dessert–raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries

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waffles from a can

I must admit that I do take shortcuts in the kitchen on some days.  When I find a product that I really like, I tend to use those “semi-homemade” time-saving steps.

I have found that the Stonewall Kitchen mixes are time savers and equally tasty.  I tried the Strawberry and Pancake waffle mix recently with great success.  The mix is full of flavor with a burst of strawberry appeal.  Made in the USA and distributed by Stonewall Kitchens of Maine, the waffles are perfect with every bite.

Using a Belgian waffle maker, I was able to make four large waffles with one recipe on the can.  The mix uses wheat flour and buttermilk for that home-made waffle feel and taste. I added fresh strawberries, sliced almonds and real whipped cream.

Drizzled with pure maple syrup, this mix is a real treat. This would be a wonderful surprise for someone you love on Valentine’s morning.

#Stonewall Kitchen

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strawberries with chocolate filling

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor one of my community group meetings this week, I made these strawberries with chocolate filling.  They are a nice party snack, which can be prepared rather easily.  This recipe makes enough filling for a large clam shell package of strawberries.

The strawberries are nice for a breakfast, a tea party, a light dessert or even just an afternoon snack.  They are refreshing and not too sweet. They would be perfect for Valentine’s Day or for a fruit platter.

To make the recipe, I first cleaned and sliced the strawberries into halves.  Next, I melted one and one-half ounces of semisweet chocolate in the microwave.  I used a scale to weigh the chocolate.  To the chocolate, I added one eight ounce package of softened cream cheese, and one teaspoon vanilla extract.  Using a hand mixer, I creamed the three ingredients together and then added one cup of Cool Whip topping.  Using a pastry bag with a number 21 tip, I piped a small rosette onto each strawberry half.

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I chopped some chocolate to garnish the berries.  Refrigerate these strawberries until ready to serve.  Delicious and easy. I found this recipe online at the Taste of Home.

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strawberry lemon balm butter

summer berries are filling the market.  why not try this strawberry butter for a special weekend breakfast treat?  i made the recipe with margarine and it was just as delicious.

the spread can be used on toasted English muffins, French toast, pancakes, toast, or even cinnamon Triscuits.

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i just love the taste of the strawberries combined with homegrown lemon balm from my garden. i only have a few recipes that use the lemon balm, so this one has added in nicely to my summer file of herbal treats.

to make the butter:   bring 2 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine to room temperature.  chop about 10 strawberries into small pieces.  chop lemon balm leaves to measure about 2 tablespoons. measure out 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar.

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in a mini food processor, combine the butter and the sugar until creamy.  add the strawberries and lemon balm until the mixture is well combined.

transfer to a small container for serving. refrigerate until ready to serve.

bruschetta with strawberries

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summer outdoor potluck season is back. i made this easy recipe for an appetizer garden walk party this past week.  it was perfect.

strawberries and balsamic vinegar have been combined for years in Italy.  recipes similar to this one can be found in many cookbooks, and can be a wonderfully refreshing addition to any backyard party.

i used a coconut balsamic vinegar, Fustini’s, as it added just enough flavor to make the strawberries extra tasty.  as a suggestion for a pack and go appetizer tray, i used a disposable foil pie plate with lid.  it worked perfectly with a striped napkin.

to make the French bread toasts:  slice and brush with olive oil first, and then season with herbs. toast for about five minutes at 350 degrees, watching for just the correct amount of browning.

to make the strawberries:  chop one container of strawberries and add 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and mix with fresh basil that has been thinly sliced and chopped.  toss and serve.  the strawberries could also be served over vanilla ice cream.

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