Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Washing Berries

June 14, 2016

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It’s berry season, and the markets are bursting with a variety to choose from. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are among the most popular of the mini fruits, and also the most delicate.

It is important to thoroughly wash berries, to remove debris. Running them under  water often damages them, as the stream provides too much force for something as fragile as a raspberry. The solution, is to soak, rather than rinse them, to get them clean. Strawberries, in particular, seem to make it to the dirty dozen list each year, due to their extremely high pesticide load. (Read more about the dirty dozen here.) Buying organic berries are recommended.

To properly clean fresh berries, place them in the basket of a salad spinner, and submerge them in cool, clean water to soak for several minutes. You can also add a couple of spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to the first bath, to aid in the removal of debris. This may be too much acid for raspberries and blackberries, but for the sturdier varieties, the vinegar is fine. Use it sparingly, to make sure you don’t damage the fruit. Strain, and change the water a few times until the water remains clean. The vinegar is also helpful in fighting mold that develops quickly on soft fruit, like berries. Just be sure to get it all off before using them.

If you don’t have a salad spinner, a large bowl and a colander or strainer works as well.

Shake the strainer lightly, and allow the berries to dry before storing. (DON’T SPIN!!!)Place a folded paper towel in the bottom of the storage container to absorb any excess water and cushion the berries.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

August 5, 2015

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Summer berries seem to be at their peek right now. They are plump, juicy and sweet, and don’t need much to turn them into a delcious dessert. We love making these little mini sweet biscuits, which we fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. They are just sweet enough to make the transition into dessert territory, and the perfect foil for the rich cream and fruit. They are like your very own miniature strawberry shortcake, and we bet you’ll opt for more than one!

Mini Shortcakes | a.k.a. Sweet Dessert Biscuits:(adapted from Ina Garten)

Sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar,1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt and place it in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add 1- 1/2 sticks of butter, diced into small pieces and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Add 2 eggs (slightly beaten with a fork ) and 1/2 cup heavy cream. With the mixer running on low, add them to the flour/ butter mixture and mix until combined and a sticky dough forms.

Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead so that it comes together and is workable. Roll until the dough is about 1/2″ -5/8″ thick. Using a lightly floured round cutter, or a drinking glass with a diameter of about 2″, cut the dough into rounds and place on sheet pan. Brush with an egg wash (beaten egg and a little milk or water) and sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Allow to cool.

To serve, slice open and fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. You can substitute ice-cream or frozen yogurt for the whipped cream, and use any fruit you like. If you want to get “fancy,” marinate the berries in Grand Marnier or a little aged balsamic vinegar before serving, and enjoy!!

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Storing Berries

June 30, 2015

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Berries are plentiful and in season right now. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are delicious and nutritious. They are also very perishable. One little speck of mold seems to sprout out of nowhere, and spreads through the entire box quickly. Most experts advise keeping them unwashed until you are ready to eat them. Not only does that not seem to help, but I find that unwashed fruit becomes uneaten fruit around here.

The folks at Food 52 have a solution, and we think it is a good one.

They advise soaking berries in a mix of three parts water and one part white vinegar, to kill the mold spores and bacteria that causes the fruit to spoil. After a short soak, rinse the fruit well to get rid of the vinegar taste.
Keeping the berries dry is critical to extending their shelf life. They suggest laying paper towels in the basket of a salad spinner to cushion the delicate berries, and give them a good spin to dry them off. Once fully dry, line a container with paper towels to absorb any additional moisture, and partially cover it, so that air can get in. Place the container in the refrigerator, and enjoy your berries for days to come!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Fruit Ice

June 24, 2014

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Summer is here and the days are starting to heat up. It’s more important than ever to drink lots of water to keep cool, and stay hydrated. This trick adds a little fun and flavor to your water pitcher, by freezing pieces of fruit right into the ice cubes.

In a large ice cube tray, place slices of lemon, lime,orange or other fruit into the wells of the tray. Add water and freeze until solid.

The end result are beautiful fruit filled ice cubes that add a hint of taste to your water as they melt.

Delicious and nutritious! Yum!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Easy Menu for a Hot Evening

August 1, 2013

Last week, I had a lot of house guests, and not a lot of time. The temperatures were in the high 90’s and humid, making using the oven for a prolonged period of time unappealing.

When I get time crunched, I tend to  rely on our old standby “unrecipes”.

I created this easy menu, which was served as a buffet for 14 people.  All the food shopping and cooking was done the day of the event, except for the desserts, which were made the night before. I’d say it was a hit!

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My battle with hors ‘doeurves is well documented, so I kept it super simple.

We started with an array of hummus, served with pita chips and baby carrots, and a big bowl of cold, steamed shrimp. All were purchased, and devoured.

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For the main meal, we had balsamic marinated chicken, “tarted up” with lemon zest and parsley. We broiled salmon and served it with a low fat avocado cream on the side.

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Rice with shallots, corn and mint, a watermelon and feta salad, and a cool celery salad with walnuts and parmesan were nice make-ahead side dishes that can be served at room temperature.

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We finished the meal with cold desserts: a flour-less chocolate cake with white chocolate bourbon cream,( I owe you the recipe), fresh strawberries and a cheesecake.

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Everyone seemed happy with the selection, and took home leftovers, a sure sign of a good meal!

photos: indigo jones

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Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Hulling Strawberries

July 23, 2013

This time of year, strawberries are abundant. Hulling them, is not a fun task. I confess most of the time, I just hack the green tops off and go,creating a lot of waste, and a less than beautiful berry.

Now that I have discovered this little trick, they will be perfectly hulled from now on.

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How to Hull a Strawberry:

Insert a plastic straw into the bottom of the strawberry and gently push it through, causing the white hull and the green top to pop right off. How easy is that?
I can’t wait to try it out on my next batch of berries!

Photos: Strawberry tops: indigo jones

3 berries: Glasshouse Images

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The Clean 15

June 5, 2012

We have written here about the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of produce that has the highest levels of pesticides and contamination. It is recommended that these foods be organic wherever possible.

There is another list called the “Clean 15”, which have the lowest pesticide load, and can be enjoyed in the conventional varieties.

These are:

Onions

Sweet corn

Pineapples

Avocado

Sweet peas

Mangoes

Eggplant

Cantaloupe

Kiwi

Watermelon

Sweet potatoes

Grapefruit

Mushrooms

Asparagus

Other foods, such as broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes have more recently tested cleaner as well, due to less pest threats, and therefore less spraying.

Many of these fruits and vegetables have a protective outer layer that gets peeled or removed before eating. This helps eliminate the toxins, which are largely on the outside of the food.

The current list of the most harmful foods tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, and as many as 67. Buying organic insures that the fruit and vegetables are not treated with harmful pesticides.

Foods that should be organic:

Celery

Strawberries

Peaches

Apples

Blueberries

Nectarines

Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens

Cherries

Potatoes

Grapes

Lettuce

This lists were compiled by the Environmental Working Group, which is an organization made up of scientists, researchers and policymakers. The data used was supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture’s tests for pesticide residue on fresh produce.

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

Unrecipe of the Week

January 28, 2012

Ahh, the glamorous life of a fashionista! I just returned from a week away from home, doing presentations in Scandinavia.  Sounds wonderful, until you realize that every night after work, we got on a train or a plane, skipped dinner and went to bed late, only to wake up and do it all over again. Lunch was served at 11:15, and tended to be a stand up affair.

After finishing my final presentation in Copenhagen, I opted for a short walk and a quiet seated lunch before heading to the airport. I am a little embarrassed to admit that where I ended up was Hard Rock Café!  The real surprise was the delicious salad I had there. It was a light and healthy blend of lettuce, fresh fruit and grilled chicken that they referred to as the “anti Cobb”.  Here is our take on this yummy salad:

Indigo Jones’ Anti Cobb Salad:

shredded lettuce

sliced Granny Smith apples

diced mango

sliced avocado

sliced strawberries

orange sections

dried cranberries

diced roasted chicken breast (optional)

Layer the fruit in rows over the shredded lettuce. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!!!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Whisk together 2 parts olive oil and 1 part balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

 

 

 


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