Strawberry fields forever
June 23, 2011By Kim Dannies
Strawberry season is a firm signal that – by hook or by crook – we really are going to have summer. As a kid, my favorite June meal was strawberries and whipped cream; it still is. Berry picking days are not forever, so get out and pick! Plan to add strawberries to every dish you can. Here are some easy summer stunners.
Strawberry, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Gently run the tines of a fork down the skin of 2 English cucumbers. Cut them lengthwise in half. Thinly slice half-moons of cucumber and place in a glass preparation bowl. Hull and cut 3 cups of fresh strawberries into a large dice. Place with cucumbers.
Mix together 1/3 cup of rice vinegar and 1/3 cup of orange juice. Add a drizzle of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, a small pinch of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.
Whisk dressing well and pour over the cucumbers. Gently toss mixture; marinate ahead up to 12 hours. To serve, gently toss, and then strain off most of the dressing. Add fresh mint leaves, crumbled feta cheese, and pistachio nuts to taste. Serves 6.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries
Hull and slice 2 pints of fresh strawberries. Drizzle with a bit of orange juice and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray a 9-inch cake pan with Pam cooking spray. Zest two lemons. Combine ½ cup of olive oil with 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Separate 7 eggs, reserving the yolks and whites. Measure out 3/4 cup of sugar. Measure 1 cup flour with a pinch of salt.
In a mixing bowl beat 7 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Reserve. In a second large bowl, beat 5 egg yolks with the sugar for 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat 1 minute. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the lemon zest. Add olive oil and lemon in a stream while beating. With a large spatula, gently fold in one-third of the egg whites to the batter; fold the remaining whites in until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake 45 minutes.
Cool cake, slice and serve topped with strawberries.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.