Strawberry Muffins

I noticed over the 4th of July that strawberries were about to be done at the grocery store and I knew I wanted to get one more recipe in before the end.  I had a recipe book from Strawberry Point, Iowa, and at the start of it was a special section all full of strawberry recipes.  The recipe I chose to make calls for frozen strawberries, but I used fresh and they seemed to turn out just fine.

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Strawberry Muffins

2 c strawberries (frozen)
3 c + 2 Tbsp flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 c oil
4 eggs (beaten)
1 1/4 c chopped pecans

Place strawberries in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle lightly with sugar (to taste).  Let strawberries stand until thawed, then slice.  Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well.  Blend oil and eggs into strawberries.  Add to flour mixture.  Stir in pecans, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Bake at 350 degrees until a tester comes out clean, 25-35 minutes.


Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

I had gotten some of the end-of-season rhubarb and was discussing this with a friend in early July.  She shared that strawberry rhubarb was her favorite pie, and while I considered for a moment making that, I saw this recipe from the Scoop Adventures cookbook and knew I wanted to put it together.  The spice flavor is nice in it — although it’s important to like how cardamom tastes.  I associate cardamom with my Norwegian roots, as I do rhubarb, and so when I tasted this, I felt like I was celebrating my heritage.

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Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl

1 c chopped rhubarb
1 c mashed strawberries
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Ice Cream Base
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 3/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

To make the strawberry rhubarb swirl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Stir until the berries have begun to macerate, then place over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb and strawberries are broken down, 10 to 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half of its original volume, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Stir in the vanilla.  Cover and chill completely before swirling into the ice cream.

To make the ice cream base, fill a large bowl with ice water.  In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp of milk with the cornstarch, whisk, and set aside.  Combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, star anise, cardamom, and cinamon in a medium saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring the milk mixture to a low boil.  Cook until the sugar dissolves, 3 minutes.

Remove the milk mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the salt.  Set the bowl in the ice water bath to cool, 20 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once chilled, pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Spoon a small layer of strawberry rhubarb swirl into a freezer-safe container and light spoon a layer of ice cream on top.  Continue to alternate layers of fruit swirl and ice cream until the container is full, gently swirling with a spoon (careful not to muddy the ice cream).  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

As I have been attempting different ice creams in this summer of ice creams, I came across this different base and thought it might be worthy of trying out.  I’d give it, and the ice cream a “meh” in terms of my interest in it.  I didn’t find it to be overly creamy in nature.  I definitely plan to stick with the base from Jeni’s, because it has yet to fail me, but nonetheless, this ice cream seemed worth the try.  I found the recipe on the Southern Living website.  My lack of enthusiasm for the ice cream should not be taken overly seriously if you are a strawberry ice cream enthusiast.  I cannot recall a time when I have ever sought out strawberry ice cream from the grocery store or elsewhere, but since they are in season, I thought it was worth trying.

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 5 oz can evaporated milk
1 ½ c whole milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
16 oz fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Whisk together first 6 ingredients; cover and chill 2 hours.  Meanwhile, pulse strawberries, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor 5 or 6 times until finely chopped.  Stir strawberry mixture into chilled milk mixture.

Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-quart electric ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Remove container with ice cream from ice cream maker and freeze for 30 minutes.  Transfer to an airtight container or loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil; freeze 3-4 hours or until firm.

Strawberry Ketchup

If you are experiencing the summer we’re having in Iowa, strawberries might be in season for you.  And, if you are like me, you might be looking for some new ways to cook with and/or serve them to others.  Well, I was looking through my copy of the Smoke and Pickles cookbook and came across this recipe for strawberry ketchup.  It was just intriguing enough that I knew I wanted to make it and try it out.  Thus far, I’ve tasted it on its own and with beef, and it hasn’t disappointed in either setting.  I think it could compete with a number of other spices going on in a meat, and so I would be hesitant to serve it alongside a heavily-seasoned meat item, but it’s definitely not sweet enough to be confused with a jam or jelly.

The ketchup has a nice sweetness, without being overpowering, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I imagine setting it on the table at a barbecue and having people put a little dab on their plate, but then enjoying it enough to go back for more.

I will say that I ended up cooking it for quite a bit longer after pureeing it and adding the other seasonings because I wanted to thicken it up more than it automatically did during the cooking process.  Take that into consideration, should you choose to make it as well.

Strawberry Ketchup

Strawberry Ketchup

1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled, sliced or halved
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine the strawberries, onion, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 14 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and broken down.

Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree on high.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

Add the white vinegar, ginger, salt, white pepper, paprika, cumin, and cloves.  Whisk well.  Transfer to two small jars, cover, and refrigerate.  The ketchup will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies

One of the folks who won treats for work requested something chocolate be brought in during one week of November.  I spent a few games of the World Series looking through cookbooks and cheering on the Cubs, and found this recipe I had printed from the Eat the Love blog 6 years ago!  I’ve never made them and thought this was probably the time to do it.  According to their blog, the recipe was adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes.  I didn’t end up bringing these into work because I didn’t feel like I’d reduced the jam enough, but they still look pretty and taste great!

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Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies

Strawberry Balsamic Jam
2 tsp + 1 tsp of Aged Balsamic vinegar (divided)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 c roughly chopped into 1/4″ pieces strawberries
1 tsp tapioca flour

Brownie Batter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 c flour

Put the chopped strawberries, sugar, tapioca flour, and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar into a heavy saucepan on a stove.  Cook over medium heat until the berries disintegrate and the jam thickens (about 5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved tsp balsamic vinegar.  Put aside while make the brownie mix.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take a piece of foil or parchment paper and line the inside of a 9-inch pan, leaving a couple inches of overhang.  Repeat going the opposite way, if the foil/paper doesn’t reach properly.  This will allow you to pull the brownies up from the pan, without having to dig around in it, ruining your pan and your brownies.

Put the butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan.  Over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together.  Remove from the stove and beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then add the flour.  Stir the batter for a full minute or so or until the mixture looks smooth and glossy and loses its graininess.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Spoon the jam onto the batter and swirl a knife around, making sure to pull some of the jam to the edges of the pan.  Don’t swirl too much or the jam will be incorporated into the batter.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until the center looks set.  Let brownies cool completely before you cut.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

This is the last in a series that has been part of the dinner I made for my friends Megan and Tom.  Tom and I have the same job at different campuses, and as a result, we’ve been attending several of the same conferences this summer.  Our most recent adventure, last week, involved him bringing my suitcase to our conference in Indianapolis because I was jet setting back and forth across the country, attending a reunion in Colorado.  When Tom and I were in Indianapolis, we went over to New Day Craft Cider and Mead.  As we were tasting the delicious ciders (and slightly disagreeing on our favorites), he mentioned that rhubarb had not been an ingredient he had frequently tasted.  It’s not question I love the rhubarb, as evidenced by here, here, here, here, and here.  So, I knew that I needed to make something with rhubarb for dessert.  Looking at the Celebrating the Midwestern Table cookbook, I saw a recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp and knew it would be a great way to end our meal.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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Pi Day

Have I mentioned how many small town festivals my small town has each year?  We often joke that if you are familiar with Star’s Hollow and Gilmore Girls, Mount Vernon could easily compete.  We are a couple of months away from Chalk the Walk, but yesterday we celebrated Pi Day.  You know, 3.1415…as seen here:

Well, across the world yesterday was Pi Day: March 14.  Our Community Development Group decided to celebrate through a fundraiser by asking folks to make pies and then the group sold them for donations.  Our grocery store even had a sale on milk to help support the sale, which happened in our grocery store parking lot.  I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cookbook.

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