Strawberry season is upon us! Here are some diverse ideas to use our favorite fruit. There are drinks, classic and even a grilled cheese.
1. Strawberry Limeade
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
4 cups cold water
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 large limes)
In a large bowl, stir the strawberries and sugar together. Crush the strawberries with a wooden spoon and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Press through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Add cold water and lime juice and stir. Chill for 2 to 24 hours before serving.
2. Strawberry Chicken Salad
1/2 cup bottled poppy-seed dressing
1/4 cup minced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups diced fresh strawberries
Salt to taste
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Combine the dressing, green onions, basil and pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and strawberries. Salt to taste. Chill for two hours. Stir in pecans before serving.
3. Strawberry Salsa
1/2 cup red pepper jelly
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 small avocado, diced
Mix red pepper jelly, chives, cilantro, lime zest, fresh lime juice and dried crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Add strawberries and cranberries. Chill for one hour. Stir in avocado just before serving. Serve with meats, poultry or seafood.
4. No Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar and whole milk in a large bowl. Chill for 30 minutes. Combine the strawberries, lemon juice and salt in a food processor until smooth. Stir into milk mixture.
Pour ingredients into freezer container of an ice cream maker and follow factory instructions. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until firm.
5. Strawberry Shortcake
2 (16-oz.) containers fresh strawberries, quartered
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup cold butter, cut up
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
Combine strawberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and almond extract. Let stand for two hours. Beat whipping cream at medium speed, until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar gradually until soft peaks form. Chill for two hours.
Combine flour, remaining sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut butter into the mixture. Whisk together eggs, sour cream and vanilla, then add to flour mixture. Combine thoroughly. Drop dough in 1/3 cupfuls onto a slightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
Split shortcakes and spoon 1/2 cup of strawberry mixture on to each bottom. Top with a tablespoon of whipped cream and cover with top.
6. Grilled Strawberry and Goat Cheese Sandwich
1 (4-oz.) goat cheese log, softened
6 whole grain bread slices
4 1/2 teaspoons red pepper jelly
3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
6 large fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh watercress or arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
Spread cheese on one side of a slice of bread. Spread pepper jelly on one side of another piece of bread before layering with strawberries, basil leaves and watercress. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with cheese-sided bread, cheese side down. Cook in a non-stick pan over medium heat for two to three minutes on each side (until golden). Repeat for two more sandwiches.