What do you do when you have a bumper crop of strawberries and a house full of people? Make a strawberry feast, of course. Following our strawberry farm tour with the California Strawberry Commission we were inspired to use our strawberries for just about every item on the dinner table this week.
We started with some chips and strawberry salsa. This strawberry salsa is pretty simple; we just roasted, seeded, and peeled about 1/2 pound of hot peppers, and then pureed them along with the juice of 1 lime, a few sprigs of cilantro, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a dash of pepper. Then we added 2 cups hulled and finely chopped strawberries. The result? A spicy salsa that’s balanced out by the sweet kick of strawberries.
Next up was a strawberry salad. This was pretty simple – We just tossed some kale and spinach together with a handful of toasted slivered almonds and 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese. We whisked together 1/3 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 3 T. Dijon mustard, and 1 T. brown sugar – and tossed the dressing into the salad. Then we dotted the top of the salad with about 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced. Nice salad, right? With these colors, it works for both spring and Christmas:
For the main course, we served grilled chicken with a strawberry-mint relish. This strawberry-mint relish recipe came from the California Strawberry Commission: Halve and hull 16 strawberries, toss them with cooking oil (we used olive oil), and grill them for about 30 seconds on each side. After they cool, toss them with 3 sprigs of mint cut into thin strips, 2 tsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste. The end result is a surprisingly savory garnish that’s perfect for fish or poultry:
Last but not least, we decided to finish up the meal with an old-fashioned strawberry cake like Grandma used to make — no fancy ingredients and substitutes, just the usual flour, butter, and sugar, and of course, fresh strawberries.
Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake
3 cups sifted flour
3/4 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 small eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk, plus 2 T. (divided)
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup powdered sugar
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; sift three times. In a separate larger bowl, cream the butter, add the sugar gradually and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add well-beaten eggs to the butter mixture until and mix well. In a large measuring cup, add the vanilla extract to 1 1/2 cups of the milk.
2. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the flavored milk to the butter mixture, mixing just enough after each addition to keep the batter smooth.
3. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Cover with the strawberries, either randomly or in a pattern. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
4. Combine the powdered sugar with the remaining 2 T. of milk to form a thin glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and serve.