Saturday, May 2, 2009

Strawberries, Strawberries, Some Lunch, And Did I Mention Strawberries?

The strawberries are in.
Oh, happy day.

We're on the mailing list for a particular
 pick-em-yourself-strawberry farm in Point Harbor,
 just north of the Wright Memorial Bridge
And on Friday, we boogied on up
 to Currituck County to the immaculate beds.
 (Well, shoot. Why wouldn't they be immaculate? 
They're covered in space-age material
 with holes cut out where the strawberry plants were stuck into.) 
Mr. Hawthorne and I took to the field with our buckets
and picked beautiful strawberries.
I liked this old pump in the field.
 Nice thing it was there since my hands were RED.
We picked about 20 pounds of strawberries.
Aren't they beautimous?
 Now, what, you ask,
 are we going to do with 20 pounds of strawberries?
We're preparing for winter.
For our smoothies.

Mr. Hawthorne washed and trimmed the strawberries
 and packaged in individual snack baggies. 

Then he put his snack baggies in a freezer bag
 and froze his berries.
 (Heh. 12.)
 Next it was time for lunch
 and I was craving something green. 
I steamed asparagus and spinach
 and Mr. Hawthorne seared the tilefish, 
lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and Old Bay,
 in a combination of butter and olive oil.
 I topped the veggies with buttah and lemon juice 
and this was wonderful. 
Tilefish is very light, delicate, flavorful, flaky, moist, and tender. 
This little strawberry reminded me of ...
... this little lime.
 Now, Mr. Hawthorne didn't use up all the strawberries.
 I made two strawberry pies,
 one for us and one for my friend, Natasha,
 who is recuperating from knee-replacement surgery.
 I've made the recipe for the single pie many times,
 and it's the absolute best strawberry pie I've ever had. 
However, I've never doubled the recipe before.
 If I double it again, I'll use more cornstarch, 
since the filling was not as set as I'd like it to be. 
I'll give you the recipe for a single pie:
 1 quart strawberries, plus extras
1 cup granulated sugar 
2 TB cornstarch
 1/4 cup water 
1 TB butter 
 In the above picture, everything is doubled. 
Normally, I would make my own crusts,
 but because of time-restraints,
 I Sandra-Lee'd it with Pillsbury Pie Crusts.
 One thing I don't like about these pie crusts
 is that by leaving the dough out to thaw
 dried out the edges so I can't flute the rims
 as well as I'd like to.
 And the rim on that left pie kinda sucks looks-wise.
 You just can't do anything with dried-out pie crust.

 Now, on to the filling.
I poured the rinsed and trimmed strawberries into my pan. 
I mashed the strawberries and brought them to a boil. 
Then I added the sugar. 
I mixed the corn starch and water
 and added that to the mixture. 
Now, if you double this recipe, 
like I said, I'd add more cornstarch. 
To double the recipe, 
I'd try 4 TB cornstarch to 1/2 cup water. 
Bubble slowly over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring to mix.
 Next, I'm forming the base for my pies.
I took a package of softened cream cheese (8 oz.)
 and mixed with about 4 TB of the strawberry mixture.
And I spread that mixture over my cooled pie crusts. 
Next, I picked out some of my prettiest berries
 and arranged them in the cream cheese mixture. 

Then I poured the strawberry mixture over top.
Refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.
Here's my slice.
 Like I said, doubling the recipe requires more cornstarch.
 Still tastes delightful.
 But the texture is a bit too runny for my tastes.
 The extra cornstarch would have taken care of that.
 Hey, cook and learn. 
You know me.
 I tell it like it is and like I see it. 
This is the leftover strawberry puree
 which didn't fit in the pies
 and which will be wonderful on toast.
 Now, fast forward to this morning's breakfast. 
I love a strawberry smoothie like nothing else.
 And this is why we picked 20 pounds of strawberries.
 For our smoothies for next winter.
 Instead of using ice and fresh, ripe strawberries
 to make a smoothie, we like to use the frozen strawberries.
And each snack baggie is perfect
for one individual smoothie.
 With frozen strawberries, you don't need to add the ice 
so you get a much more intense, richer strawberry flavor. 
It's undiluted. 
And it's sublime and exquisite. 
I like to add a bit of orange juice to flavor my smoothies. 
Mr. Hawthorne does not like the OJ in his smoothies. 
Then I added a few tablespoons of cream.
Some milk.
 And a packet of Splenda or use sugar.
And whup it up in the Magic Bullet.
Gernish with a choking hazard and this is delicious.
 It would be good with pineapple added or with banana.
 You can make a smoothie with almost any fruit.
 Just use your imagination.

 Now, Mr. Hawthorne is making his breakfast.
 Buckwheat pancakes. 
We got the buckwheat from Mabry's Mill 
 when we visited there on our trip last fall
He mixes equal parts buckwheat flour and all purpose flour,
 along with sugar, egg, baking powder, vanilla, and buttermilk.
 Then he added sliced strawberries.
Flip over.
He topped his strawberry buckwheat pancake
 with fresh strawberries and the strawberry pie filling mixture and maple syrup.
 And don't forget the sausage!
 (OK, Ticky, there was absolutely no maple in the syrup.
It was all chemicals! And it was all very good.
 But don't worry, I'm all over the whole wheat pasta now,
 like Pauler on Buttah!.)
I love his buckwheat pancakes.
 They have a fabulous crunch to them that's
 just not in regular pancakes which I don't even like.
 But I love Mr. H.'s buckwheat pancakes.
 And the strawberries?
Took it over the top.


Hairball T. Hairball said...

I love strawberries!

A quick question about the pie. Are the pretty berries taken out of the 1 quart of berries you started with, or are they in addition to the 1 quart of berries?

I hope that makes sense!

Donna-FFW said...

I can not wait for strawberry picking here in NJ, about 3 weeks. You are fantastic.. look at all the ways you used your berries. The pie looks amazing, even if a bit runny as you say. Do you make jam? I am trying this year. I have a method that requires no pot boil thingie.. easy. LMK if youd like the link. NICE post, thoroughly enjoyed it. Pancakes.. buckwheat.. oh yes..

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hairball, they were in addition to the quart, but it really wouldn't make any difference. Just find the prettiest berries.

And Donna, yes, I make jam too and I would like that link. Thanks.

Kathy said...

Ooooh, strawberry season means one thing here (IF I get out to picking them) - FREEZER JAM. Best thing since sliced bread. Or on sliced bread.

Good for you on the WW noodles. Now replace the AP flour with WW flour in the pancakes, and you're on like Donkey Kong!

Anonymous said...

Hah! Great minds and all that. Busty/Kathy, I was thinking freezer jam when I read the comment above yours, and then, you mentioned it.
Our friend Miss Aunt Pam makes THE BEST freezer jam I've ever eaten. We have to remember to hide it in the very back of the freezer when my brother visits, since he ate 1/2 a jar last time he was here.