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From the Seasonal Kitchen (06/16/2010)
by Caroline van Schaik

With local rhubarb and strawberries in the farmers markets, here are some sweet and savory (and surprising) ways to serve them. Not that picking off the tops and popping strawberries directly into your mouth is to be avoided – witness the Ridgeway Community School Garden Club devouring quarts of them as fuel to pounding in tomato stakes this week!

And one more note: California strawberries look so picture perfect because they are grown with more pesticides than any other crop in this country. You thought methyl bromide was banned? California strawberry growers continue to win an Environmental Protection Agency exemption. Organic- or Food Alliance-certified berries are the guaranteed exception. Ask your local farmer about pest management, and if ever you wanted to make a statement about health – yours and that of the earth – buy these berries close to home.

Spinach with Strawberries

2 bunches of spinach, washed and cut into 1-inch sections

1 cup strawberries, washed and stemmed

Chives or finely sliced green onions to garnish

Melt a small amount of butter in a large skillet and sauté the spinach for a minute or two. Cut up the larger berries; set aside a few for garnish. At the remaining berries all at once to the spinach and serve immediately, with the garnishes. Red chard instead of the spinach works well, too.

From “The Tassajara Recipe Book” by Ed Espe Brown

Lime Cream & Strawberries

3 egg yolks

5 Tbspn sugar

1 cup ½ & ½ or cream

Peel of a small lime, zested or finely minced

1 pint strawberries

2 Tbspn sugar

Juice of 2-3 limes

½ cup whipping cream

Beat the yolks and 5 tablespoons of sugar together until light. Heat the 11/2 % ½ with the lime peel, then gradually whisk into the yolks to warm them. Return the custard’ to heat and cook gently until it coats the back of a sppo0n - whisk continuously, and do NOT boil. It will thicken slightly.

Rinse, stem, and dry the berries – slice as desired; sprinkle with the sugar and toss with the lime juice, then refrigerate.

Before serving, whip the cream to the soft peak stage and fold it into the custard. Serve in any order – berries topped by custard or the custard topped by the berries.

From “The Tassajara Recipe Book” by Ed Espe Brown

Gingered Fruit Crisp with Rum Whipped Cream

NOTE: This recipe works well for rhubarb and all the berries that mark our growing season.

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 tspn cinnamon

1 ½ sticks butter

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

1 Tbspn grated fresh ginger

Grated rind of 1 lemon

1-2 tspn cornstarch (optional)

¾ - 1 cup sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit

4-6 cups chopped fresh fruit or berries


1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Tbspn sugar

1 Tbspn dark rum

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, sugar, and spice, then work in the butter and walnuts to make a course meal for the topping. In another bowl, mix together the ginger, lemon juice and rind, cornstarch if using, sugar, and fruit. Turn the fruit into a 2-qut. baking dish (a 9-inch pan works, too) and cover with the topping. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree F oven for 20-35 minutes, until the topping is crisp and the fruit is bubbling.

To make the Rum Whipped Cream, beat all ingredients together to your desired peak stage.

From “Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland,” by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson

This column of good eating is brought to you by members and friends of the Winona County EDA Local Foods Committee and UM Master Gardeners.  Questions or comments?  Contact us: elrs2626@hotmail.com .



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