At the very beginning of strawberry season, I try to steer clear of that fruit, especially in overpriced restaurant desserts. Let’s just say I’ve had too many bad experiences spanning from too-tart and unripe to utterly juiceless and flavorless. I’d much rather wait a week or two until the farmers market berries are deep red, plump, and gushing with sweetness. Then it’s time.
This year, while visiting Boston in the pre-humid days of early June, I took a risk ordering a “first of the season” strawberry-topped ricotta tart at Mistral Bistro. And for once, it paid off.
From the decadent filling of creamy ricotta, infused with what I originally thought was thyme but have now come to believe was lavender, to the juicy strawberry topping drizzled in local honey, the dessert was one to remember. And to recreate. (more…)
Has a basket of strawberries ever courted you so intensely – its deep red fruit promising to grant you several sweet, juicy bites of summery bliss – that you got suckered into buying it, only to return home and find that these berries weren’t quite as sweet or juicy as you had hoped? But you, being a reasonable person, gave them a few extra days to ripen and a second chance to please your palate – and even sacrificed a couple berries that ripened too soon and gave in too early to the inevitable fuzziness – only to realize that the remaining berries completely spurned you and that, even in their ripest hour, these berries apparently were just not capable of ever getting quite there.
I’ve been in that situation countless times, and you probably have too. And I bet that you, being a compassionate and charitable consumer of strawberries, wished you could do something – anything! – to help them out. But mid-April just isn’t peak season for strawberries; so what’s a sick-of-winter, ready-to-jump-into-spring strawberry enthusiast to do? Drown in booze. (more…)
Ripe, fresh farmers market strawberries. Dark chocolate chips. Basic, not-too-sweet buttermilk muffin batter. Put them all together and voilà! You’ve got cake (or a muffin, if you choose that pan) that’s perfectly appropriate for a breakfast or brunch. And did I mention that it’s pretty?
Because it is. Beautiful, in fact. Generally, I’m a taste-over-form kind of gal, but this cake gives me both. And look at these pictures … how amazing would this cake look on your brunch table? It’s a showstopper, that’s for sure. And with the beautiful, deep red strawberry slices on a rounded, slightly browned muffin-like top that, if you so choose, is freckled with delightfully dark chocolate chips, this brunch beauty has me looking forward to summer. Except that this summer brings nonjoyous, uncakelike things, such as full time enrollment in Barbri and the California bar exam. So really, this strawberried treat is allowing me to pretend it’s summer now and enjoy the last month and a half surrounded by bright, juicy berries dancing on a fluffy, doughy hilltop.
But I don’t just like this cake for its beautiful color, summerly aura, and carefree personality. I also like it for the jam flavor. (more…)