Strawberries!

Food blogger and business owner Trish Ryan is constantly looking for healthy options to feed herself and her family. She is the founder of Time for Dinner, a meal planning service to help you enjoy healthy meals with your family.  In this post, she celebrates strawberries and their versatility.

June is arguably my favorite month: the days are not too hot, the evenings are pleasant, weekends are spent outside, and strawberries are plentiful! These strawberries aren’t the sad, mushy things you see in the dead of winter at your grocery store and cost $6 a quart. These berries are sweet, vibrant and bursting with flavor. Simply put, they are just perfect.

So for this month I have plans to take advantage of these scrumptious berries.  I’ve got a few recipes that I only make when strawberries are at their best.  It all starts will a cocktail, then moves to a dinner salad and then of course dessert.  But get to the market quickly because, sadly, strawberry season is too short!

Bowl of Strawberries 

A traditional smash is a drink that you can make with your favorites:

  • Choose lemon juice, lime juice, or bitters to muddle with your sugar.
  • Choose your spirit — rum, brandy, whiskey, and gin (my favorite!) all work.
  • Top with seltzer or club soda
  • Top with traditional mint, basil or lemon balm

Add seasonal fruits with a lighter spirit to make a refreshing summer cocktail.

http://www.princetonscoop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/strawberry-gin-smashlow.jpg

Strawberry Gin Smash Cocktail –  Serves 1

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 fresh strawberries, 2 hulled and sliced, 1 reserved for garnish
  • 3 ounces gin
  • Club soda
  • Fresh mint sprig, to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a glass, combine the sugar and lime juice. Muddle to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the sliced strawberries and lightly muddle.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with the last strawberry and a sprig of mint.

For a light lunch, this spinach salad is loaded with flavor. Add some grilled chicken and it’s the perfect summer dinner to enjoy outside on the patio.

Spinach salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Serves 4

  • 1/2 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound baby spinach
  • 1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together shallot and vinegar. While whisking constantly, drizzle in oil to make a vinaigrette.
  2. Add spinach, strawberries, almonds and goat cheese and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

And for dessert, nothing beats an awesome strawberry shortcake!

stawberry short cake

Strawberry Shortcakes  Makes 8

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup,  plus 1/3 cup,  plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Whipped cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make the sweetened strawberries: Hull and quarter strawberries; toss in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup sugar. Let stand until syrupy, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes (and up to 1 day, covered and refrigerated).
  3. In a food processor, combine flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk; pulse just until moistened. Do not overprocess.
  4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, gently pat dough into a 4 x 8 inch rectangle.
  5. Dust a large knife with flour; cut dough into 8 squares. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool on baking sheet. To serve, split biscuits with a serrated knife; layer with berries and whipped cream.

And if all else fails and you just can’t wait to eat these lip smacking delights just enjoy them all by themselves!

Trish Ryan is the founder of Time for Dinner, a service to help simplify the meal planning process and enjoy dinner with your family. Time For Dinner members are provided recipes for five simple, healthy, seasonal meals including side dishes each week. Meal plans are created to be efficient and eliminate waste. Ingredients are maximized to create balanced dinners that play off each other. Members are also provided with an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation.

As a Princeton Scoop reader, enjoy a special rate ($14 off an annual membership). To join visit:http://timefordinnerplanning.com/get-started/annual-offer/.