Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Strawberry Fields for a Few Weeks

Ah, bliss.

By now most of you have had your first real strawberries of the season from our wonderful farmers. If you've been buying them by the half-flat, as I have, you've not only been eating them out of hand, but you've even started to "waste" them in recipes.

To wit:
On the plate: Tuna salad sandwiches made from Fishing Vessel St. Jude (Market) tuna, topped with sunflower sprouts from Growing Washington, with a side of strawberries and a glass of homemade strawberry lemonade.

Followed by homemade strawberry birthday cake, thus:
Exactly three drops of food coloring went into this
I have so many things to write about the Market (and have not yet even gotten to visit the Saturday Market), but they will have to wait a week because we all know how quickly the window for each of our Washington soft fruits opens and closes.

Speaking of soft fruits, did you see these guys last week?

 But I digress...

Get these three recipes into your mouth before any more time elapses. Everyone will praise you to the heavens, the instant they can stop oohing and mmmming.

Tuna Salad Sandwiches
1 can Fishing Vessel St. Jude tuna of your choice
1/4 cup chopped pickles (I used my neighbor's homemade) or relish
a big squeeze of your favorite mustard
enough mayonnaise to moisten 
a handful of Growing Washington sunflower sprouts

Mix and spread on slices of your favorite bread. Top with sprouts.


Fresh Strawberry Cake (adapted from here)with residual Strawberry Lemonade
18 ozs fresh strawberries
1-2 tsp sugar, depending on how sweet the berries are
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened

Hull strawberries and cut in large chunks. Put in saucepan and add sugar. Let sit an hour until they release some juice. Then add 1/4 cup water and simmer 15-20 minutes, until berries are soft.

Puree in blender. You will need 1/2 cup puree. Set aside the remainder for the strawberry lemonade.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans.

Combine puree, milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix until well blended.

In a stand mixer, whip butter until pale yellow and smooth. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to butter. Beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add wet ingredients and beat at medium until smooth and evenly combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. (Add a few drops of red, if your batter isn't pink enough for you.)

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth out.

Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes rest in pan for 10 minutes and then turn them out to cool completely on racks. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

For the lemonade, there's no exact recipe. I took the leftover puree and added lemon juice, cold water, and sugar alternately, to taste. It depends on whether you want your beverage to taste more like lemonade or more like strawberries. I wanted it right down the middle. If I'd had some mint, that would have made a nice garnish in the glass. Or maybe it would have been another place to use those delightful sprouts:

I might have to try growing some of these, as I have lentil sprouts, because they are crisp and sweet and tasty on sandwiches and salads. Which reminds me of one last Market salad to leave you with:

Spring Salad à la Bellevue Farmers Market
Fresh Market spinach
Sunflower sprouts
Balsamic vinaigrette or Green Goddess dressing with Market mint and parsley

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