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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp II

The bright, tart taste of rhubarb and the iconic, sweet taste of strawberries is a classic spring and summer combination. This strawberry rhubarb crisp gets some subtle variety with a splash of lime juice in the filling and chopped pistachios in the topping–a recipe that is high on flavor and relatively low on sugar.

You may be thinking, do we really need another recipe for strawberry rhubarb crisp?  Well, if you like making fruit crisps like I do, then the answer is yes!  I make crisps all summer long, and I rarely make them the same way twice.  There are endless variations on the basic theme, and the variations are what make fruit crisps fun and personalized.  You can tailor them to your own tastes, and they always taste best when they feature fresh, in-season fruit.  As much as I love rhubarb pies (I have made two already this month, thanks to a nice big armful of rhubarb from my aunt), crisps are easier and quicker to make.

strawberry rhubarb crisp and grassThis most recent version of strawberry rhubarb crisp is similar to one I posted about a year ago, but with the twist of added lime juice and chopped pistachios.  (I seem to be on a bit of a pistachio kick lately, as my last posted recipe contained them too). The lime juice just adds a bit more brightness to the fruit (which was very bright already!), and the chopped pistachios add texture a bit of saltiness, and protein.  I’m always looking for ways to add protein!  I also like this recipe because the topping is light on the flour, leaning more heavily on the old fashioned rolled oats, and as I mentioned above, not much sugar–just 1/4 to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

With rhubarb season in full swing and strawberry season finally upon us, this is the perfect time to be making this type of dessert.  It’s so nice to see fresh strawberries, and the daylight lasting into the evening is beautiful.  Because the weather has been so dry lately, we have very few mosquitoes to contend with, so we can be outside in the evenings much more easily than we often can at this time of year.  To be able to walk outside in the evening, barefoot, with a bowl of warm strawberry rhubarb crisp in one hand and a spoon in the other, looking for a quiet place to sit and enjoy it–that is one of the joys and luxuries of summer.  I hope you are all having a great week!strawberry rhubarb crisp in handstrawberry rhubarb crisp outside DSC_0782 strawberries and rhubarb in green bowlI will share this recipe at Angie’s weekly Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp II

  • Servings: about 6
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour (I used all-purpose flour, but you can use any kind)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted, salted pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup (depending on how sweet or tart you want it) of brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a 9-inch pie plate, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lime juice, and flour.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, and pistachios.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs about the size of peas.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the fruit.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling.  Serve warm.  I like it just as it is, but you can serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you wish. Enjoy!

 

This recipe is adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Strawberry-Mint Pizza With a Hint of Lime

Fruit pizza is such a versatile thing. It’s like a blank canvas where you can mix and match different fruits, flavors, and colors. This strawberry-mint pizza features strawberries, chopped mint, and cream cheese frosting infused with lime juice and lime zest, all on top of a scrumptious sugar cookie crust.  It’s a fresh, delicious, and beautiful dessert, like a taste of spring.

strawberry-mint pizza on baking sheet 2It is teacher appreciation week at my kids’ school, and I am helping out with bringing food in to the teachers to make their week special.  Fruit pizza is one of the things I took in this week, and this strawberry-mint fruit pizza recipe I am sharing here is the happy product of some experiments in the kitchen the past couple of days.  My kids really loved this version, and they were glad I made one to keep at home and didn’t give everything to the teachers. 🙂  (Though teachers do deserve lots of appreciation–that is such an important job!)

It is not yet strawberry season here, but it will be before we know it, so I wanted to make something that felt like spring.  We do have mint growing rampantly in our garden already, and I really like the combination of strawberry and mint. For the cream cheese frosting, I also wanted to liven it up a bit, and so I adapted a recipe for lime cream cheese frosting from one I found on Food52, who got it from Two Red Bowls.  This frosting is so easy to make, and it has such a nice, subtly zingy flavor from the lime.  The cookie crust recipe I adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and this crust is delicious.

strawberry mint pizza in handsOne of my favorite parts about making this strawberry-mint pizza was going out into our garden and picking the mint leaves.  Such a treat, and a hint of what’s to come as more things start to grow.  Of course the possibilities are endless as far as fruit pizzas go, but this combination is really refreshing and tasty, not to mention very pretty!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are celebrating Mother’s Day, I hope you have a very special day.

Fiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. I look forward to checking out the fiesta!lime frostingstrawberry mint pizza with background 2 strawberry mint pizza with mintDSC_0045

Strawberry-Mint Pizza With a Hint of Lime

  • Servings: 10-12
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For the crust:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat (or stir vigorously) the butter till fluffy.  Stir in the sugar and beat or stir again, until creamy.  Add the egg and the vanilla and beat or stir again, until creamy and all the ingredients are mixed together (any clumps of butter need to be incorporated into the batter).

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and corn starch.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, carefully beating/stirring until the batter is all combined to form a dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  After the dough has chilled, spread it out gently with your fingers onto a lightly greased  12-inch pizza pan.  If you don’t have one (like me), you can use a regular cookie sheet, and just shape the dough into a circle on that.  Press it gently down so it is evenly distributed.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes, or till the crust is just lightly browned.  You don’t want to over-bake it.  Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely before continuing.  (Your can work on your frosting and chopping the fruit while the dough is chilling and also while the crust is cooling.)

The recipe for the crust is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

For the frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened (low-fat versions do not work well for this frosting)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoons of lime juice, depending on your preference, and depending on the desired thickness of the frosting
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest

Directions:

If you are using an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until all is smooth and fluffy, adding the lime juice as needed.

If you are using a hand mixer (I love using a hand mixer), cream the cream cheese and butter together first. It makes is much easier if the cream cheese and butter are very soft.  Add the confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.  Finally, beat in the lime zest and lime juice as desired, till the frosting is light and fluffy. If it’s too watery, add more sugar.  If it’s too thick, add more lime juice till it’s the texture you like.

The recipe for this frosting is adapted from Food52 via Two Red Bowls.

For the strawberries and mint:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and finely chopped

Directions:

When the crust is baked and cooled and the frosting is made, spread the frosting evenly over the crust, leaving a small rim around the pizza that is unfrosted.  Place the chopped strawberries and mint all over the top of the pizza, as much or as little of the toppings as you like.  Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To plan ahead, you can make the crust and frosting a day in advance.  Just cover the crust with plastic wrap and store the frosting in the refrigerator.  Chop the fruit and assemble the pizza the next day.

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

strawberry rhubarb crisp in bowlThe combination of strawberries and rhubarb is one of my all-time favorites.  The sweetness of the strawberries mellows the tartness of the rhubarb, yet there is still enough tartness in this crisp to make it bright and lively.  I love this recipe because it is so simple, so easy, and it allows the fresh flavors of the fruits to really shine.  There is just enough brown sugar to sweeten the fruit filling without overpowering it.

It is lovely here in northern Michigan, and I am thankful to have the chance to spend a few days here at my family’s place, where we can walk to the beach and the town, with a beautiful view of the water in almost every direction.  After an extremely busy spring, it is so nice to have some time to recharge and slow down, soaking in the absolute beauty of this area.  Just like at home, I like to use food that is in season, and right now strawberries and rhubarb are easy to come by up here at farmers markets and produce stands.  WiFi is not so easy to come by here (and that is not always a bad thing), and we don’t have many cookbooks here, so I walked to the library in town to look for a recipe for a fruit crisp.  As I was browsing through cookbooks, one recipe caught my eye because of its simplicity.  It comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter.”  It is a basic fruit crisp recipe that can be used with any type of seasonal fruit, and I like this recipe so much, I am going to use it for upcoming crisps with raspberries, blueberries, and peaches, as they come into season.  I will share an adaptation of it below, using strawberries and rhubarb.  I did make a couple of changes–I used all-purpose flour instead of spelt flour since that is what we had in the cupboard, and I added 2 tablespoons more of the brown sugar, since rhubarb is not as naturally sweet as other fruits.  Still, this recipe uses less overall sugar than many of the ones I have tried, and I like it that way.  You can adjust the sweetness to your own tastes.

strawberries in colanderPerhaps it is because the strawberries and rhubarb are late spring/early summer fruits, or perhaps it is because I am writing this post very near Lake Michigan, which always makes me feel inspired, but in any case, making this crisp reminded me that summer is still young and full of possibilities. The days are long and full of bright sunlight. I have been breathing in the clean, northern air, and it smells like pine trees and fresh water.  It is only just recently that our schedule has slowed down enough that we can have more leisurely dinners.   We have had time to eat outside, watching the boats go down the channel into Lake Michigan.  Tomorrow we head for home, where it will still be summer, and we will still be able to eat dinner outside.  The lakes close to my home are much smaller than Lake Michigan, but they are still beautiful.  And as much as I don’t want to leave here, I love to be home.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and savor it as much as possible. strawberries and rhubarb, choppedstrawberrt rhubarb crisp before bakingstrawberry rhubarb crisp, bakedstrawberry rhubarb crisp 4sunset on the channelRound Lakesunset over Lake Michigan

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients for the fruit filling:

  • 2 cups of strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 2 cups of rhubarb, washed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon of flour (I used all-purpose flour, but you can use spelt flour or another type of flour)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (adjust the amount of sugar to your own tastes)

Ingredients for the crisp topping:

  • 1/4 cup flour (again, I used all-purpose flour, but you can use the type of flour you prefer)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (the old-fashioned kind, not instant or quick-cooking)
  • a pinch of salt (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the fruit and place it in a lightly greased 9 inch pie baking dish.  Stir in the tablespoon of flour and the brown sugar and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup flour, the oats, and the salt.  Cut the butter in with a fork or a pastry cutter and gently stir/mash until the mixture forms balls about the size of peas.  Spread the mixture evenly over the fruit in the pie pan.  Bake in your oven for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit starts to bubble.  Serve warm.  It tastes great by itself or with vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

 

This recipe is adapted from “My Father’s Daughter” by Gwyneth Paltrow

Strawberry Freezer Jam

strawberries with handStrawberry jam allows us to capture the bright flavor of fresh strawberries so we can have a fleeting taste of summer all year long.  The jars full of jam lined up in my freezer are like frosted, sparkling jewels, promising a bit of luxury in the bare winter.  It takes some time and effort to make jam, but when I taste a spoonful of the delicious stuff on my toast, it is all worth it.  And though it has a softer set, freezer jam is much quicker to make than the cooked version.

My kids and I went over to my mom’s house a couple of days ago to make strawberry jam.  My husband was at work that day, or he would have come too.  We have been doing this for a number of years now.  It is always a festive atmosphere, probably because strawberry season makes it feel like summer is really here, and we are taking part in it, savoring and preserving its sweetness.  One of my nieces was born a few years ago while we making jam, and one of my nephews was born right around that time too, so I think I also associate jam-making with new possibilities.  The juneberries are almost always ripe at the same time as strawberry jam-making time, so the kids often slip away on breaks to eat juneberries off of the huge bush in the back yard.  This year, my daughter and son were both old enough to be extremely helpful and key players in the process.  It is fun to see them grow and take on new responsibilities.

When the kids were younger, my dad was always part of the strawberry jam operation–mainly he took photos of us and entertained the kids when they were tired of mashing strawberries.  This year was the second time he was not with us, and we missed him dearly.  There is an empty spot now where he used to be, but I believe he is with us in spirit, glad we are carrying on the tradition, and laughing with us each time my mom sends me to the store to get more jelly jars or more sugar.  We never seem to have our supplies organized.  But the jam always turns out well anyway.

strawberry jam lined upSavoring the moment and trying to capture it and preserve it for the future are two seemingly opposing forces.  But somehow they connect for me when I am working with food or with photographs.  Strawberries are really best when eaten right after they have been picked.  Eating a fresh strawberry is a wonderful way to experience the feeling of summer; it grounds us in the moment.  Preserving the lovely and unforgettable taste of strawberries in jam is honoring the moment, because we know it is brief and fleeting, and very soon there will be no more local strawberries till next year.  To me, making jam symbolizes the honoring of moments and the passing of moments.  We try to make the most of each moment and each season as it comes.

The recipe below is adapted from the one found in the Sure-jell packet.  The recipe is for making approximately four 12 ounce jars of jam, but you can definitely double, triple, or quadruple it, depending on how many strawberries you have, how much jam you want, and how much time you want to spend in the kitchen–we made 40 jars!  It may seem like the recipe calls for a lot of sugar, but the sugar helps the jam set properly.  As long as a person doesn’t eat a whole jar of jam in one sitting, it really isn’t that much sugar per spoonful of jam, and at least it is real sugar, and not high fructose corn syrup! The freezer jam is easy to make, and truly preserves the wonderful fresh flavor of the fruit. strawberries 4strawberries in bowl 1strawberries mashedstrawerry jam with funnelstrawberry jam pyramidjam and strawberries 2

Strawberry Freezer Jam

  • Servings: approximately four 12-ounce jars of jam
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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of strawberries (they become about 2 cups when mashed)
  • 4 cups of sugar, preferably pure cane sugar
  • 1 package of Sure-Jell pectin

Supplies:

  • glass jam/jelly jars used for canning, with lids and seals
  • a funnel
  • medium saucepan
  • dry measuring cup
  • liquid measuring cup
  • 2 large bowls
  • a ladle

Directions:

Wash your canning jars, lids and screw tops in very hot, soapy water (or the jars can go in the dishwasher, but tops probably should not–thoroughly was them by hand).  Make sure they are thoroughly dry.  (Because you are storing the jars in the freezer, they don’t need to be officially sterilized and sealed.) Some people use plastic freezer jars too, but I like the look of the glass jars.

Thoroughly wash the strawberries.  Gently pull the stems off of the berries, and measure four cups of them (with a dry measuring cup) into a large bowl.  Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, leaving some bits of the fruit–don’t mash it into a complete liquid.  Stir in four cups of sugar.  It is important to use the exact amount of sugar, in order for the jam to set properly.  Let the strawberry-sugar mixture sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir 1 package of Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin and 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add the pectin mixture to the strawberry-sugar mixture.  Stir for 3 minutes, or unitl the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy (it’s okay if a few sugar crystals remain).  Immediately fill the jars (this is where a funnel comes in really handy!), leaving a half-inch space at the tops for expansion during freezing.  Wipe the lid area clean of any sticky drips with a clean, damp cloth.  Cover with lids.  If you are using the screw-top lids, make sure the lids are secured tightly.

Let the jam stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Then refrigerate for up to three weeks, or put in the freezer for up to one year.  If the jam is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator before using.  Enjoy!

Notes:

This recipe is adapted from the recipe found in the package of Sure-Jell.

Make sure you use the exact amount of sugar called for in the recipe, in order for the jam to set properly.

If you are doubling, tripling, etc., the recipe, do it by making a batch at a time.

 

 

Strawberry Smoothie with Lemon Balm and Mint

strawberries 2Many of us long for fresh strawberries all year long.  There is nothing like the sweet, bright taste of a strawberry that has been recently picked.  This smoothie is bursting with freshness with local, in-season strawberries and a hint of mint and lemon.  The banana and Greek yogurt give it a smooth, creamy texture.  It truly tastes like summer in a glass. (I guess it is not technically summer yet, but it will be very soon, and it feels like summer already!) Not to mention the nutritional benefits of drinking a smoothie with fresh strawberries and fresh herbs, and the Greek yogurt for protein–there are lots of vitamins and antioxidants in both the strawberries and the herbs.

Yesterday I was doing errands with my kids in the city near us, amidst strip malls, big box stores, and parking lots, when a pickup truck in a parking lot caught my eye.  Next to the truck, under a tent, there was a man selling quarts and quarts of fresh strawberries!  He was a farmer from the countryside near here.  I was very excited.  My kids and I were getting aggravated from all the traffic, construction, and the tedium of errands, but this was one last errand we had to do before we went home.  I bought a couple of quarts and got to work as soon as we unloaded our groceries.  First I made some strawberry shortcake, the recipe for which I posted on this blog last year, and which is always a favorite in my house.  It was delicious.

I had a few strawberries left over, and wanted to use them soon, since truly fresh strawberries do not keep well.  Smoothies are a good way to start the morning, so the next morning I made this delicious smoothie with strawberries, Greek yogurt, and bananas, sweetened with a touch of honey.  My daughter suggested we add lemon balm and mint, since we have them growing abundantly in our garden.  She went out and picked some for me, and they add a wonderful background flavor to the strawberries.

It has been a strange couple of weeks, with the transition from school to summer break for the kids, all-consuming soccer tournaments, and other issues that inevitably come up when one lives in this beautiful, difficult, imperfect world.  We have had rainy day after rainy day, bringing mosquitoes and lots of wet shoes that take forever to dry.  But we have not had to water our garden once yet this year.  I have made some good things in the kitchen that just did not make it to the blog–rhubarb and red grape crisp, pizza with broccoli rabe, and chocolate oat muffins.  As my kids and husband would say, they were not quite blog worthy.  Yet these non-blog worthy dishes got eaten anyway, and they were quite good.  I just have not been organized enough to have a well-stocked kitchen lately, and have been doing a lot of substituting and throwing things together at the last minute.  We are almost to the summer solstice, so I would like to slow down and make time to truly experience the summer– watch the fireflies at night, and get to one of the many lakes around here as much as possible.

This strawberry smoothie is definitely blog worthy, just bursting with flavor and freshness, so I will share the very simple recipe below. strawberry smoothie 2strawberry smoothie 5fruit in blenderstrawberry smoothie in handrhubarb grape crisppizza with broccoli rabechocolate oat muffinslupine

Strawberry Smoothie with Lemon Balm and Mint

  • Servings: 1-2
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of strawberries (add more if you wish), with their tops removed
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, according to your taste
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoon of fresh lemon balm leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Wash and prepare the strawberries and herbs.  In a blender, place the strawberries, banana, yogurt, honey or maple syrup, mint, and lemon balm.  Puree until smooth.  Pour into one or two glasses, and enjoy!

 

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