Enjoy summer fruits, more strawberries in salads
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:33 PM
As strawberry season in southern Minnesota draws to a close, the raspberry season opens.
Members of the Neumann and Clark family dressed in costume for the Fourth of July boat ride. From left are Cora as Abe, Doron, Sylvie and Sydney.
Fruit Jar Yogurt Dressing
3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seed
Spoon Greek yogurt into a pint fruit jar with quarter-cup measurements, until it reaches the 3/4 cup mark. Add the lemon juice. Then squeeze in honey (from a honey bear bottle) until the mixture reaches the one-cup mark. Add either sesame or poppy seed.
Cover the jar tightly with a lid, shake vigorously until all the ingredients are mixed together well.
Serve over a salad of lettuce greens sprinkled with sliced peaches, nectarines or strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries.
Optional additional toppings: Crumbled feta or cheese curds, walnut halves or sliced almonds.
In spite of this being the end of our strawberries, in northern Wisconsin, its strawberry season was still in its glory over the Fourth.
Although this is the third year I have traveled to our cabin, this is the first year I experienced locally-grown strawberries. When we arrived up there on July 3, I found a partially-full bucket of strawberries on the kitchen counter.
The bucket was an ice cream bucket size.
The berries were lush and Molly offered us strawberry shortcake when we arrived, the best Sydney has ever had, she claimed. She and her brother, Willy, my stepgrandchildren, had ridden up north with us and would be staying a week.
Willy said he wasn't a “fan” of strawberries and turned down the offer. I can say I have always been a fan of strawberries and after a three-hour drive, strawberry shortcake was a welcome treat.
They rode in Grandpa's pickup, while I trailed behind to make sure the two kayaks tethered to the bed of the truck stayed secured.
Later, I found that was the second bucket of strawberries they had purchased from a by-the-road vendor that week. When we drove into Hayward on Friday, I discovered many vans with the back hatch open and the inside fitted with shelves for quarts and buckets of strawberries.
By the end of the weekend, I too had purchased a bucket of strawberries and cooked up the batch of syrup for what I call “skinny strawberry pie.”
I was reminded of my own recipe when I read the same one in the side of one of the buckets, only theirs used regular cook and serve vanilla pudding mixed with strawberry Jello (mine uses sugar-free), and 1 3/4 cup water. So I created a pie in a pre-made graham cracker crust before leaving on Monday.
With the strawberries from tonight's farmers market, I may even make a batch of jam tomorrow evening. I picked up a package of Sure-Jell on my way home from up north.
Molly and Doron had headed home Saturday night, but Will and Syd were staying on with Grandpa; their aunt and uncle had arrived on Sunday.
At our July 1 Eyota Farmers Market, we offered samples of a recipe for a yogurt honey dressing, which I can honestly say I felt was a real winner for greens with fruit. We served garden leaf lettuce with sliced strawberries and a dab of this dressing on top of single-serve containers.
Since it was Kids' Day at the market, I wanted a dressing that would appeal to kids. Not all kids would try it, some preferred their lettuce and greens plain — or just the strawberry.
As I have warmed to talking about this recipe, it has evolved in my mind to become “fruit jar dressing.” I found for demonstrating, if I had a pint jar with quarter-cup markings, I could measure in the Greek yogurt to 3/4 cup, add a tablespoon of lemon juice, then add honey so the contents reached the cup mark.
Finally, I added sesame or poppy seed. Kids preferred the sesame seed, which I had anticipated. I am amazed at the simplicity of this recipe and that there are no sweeteners except the honey, which is sold at our farmers market by the Ehlenfeldts.
The jar is tightly covered (plastic lids for canning jars can be purchased in packages of 12) and shaken to mix the contents.
I feel as if I may have beaten the strawberry season to death with my trying different ways of consuming them. However, one should not forget, there are lots of other seasonal fruits one might pair with greens and this dressing.
Blueberries, sliced peaches or nectarines, quartered apricots, raspberries or blackberries — all are wonderful accompaniments to a green salad with creamy dressing. Add some sliced almonds or walnuts and feta cheese and yes, it becomes a main dish for one's easy, cool summer meal.
In Wisconsin, crumbled white cheese curds are an easy choice instead of feta.
Although I am a die-hard Minnesota fan, I have to admit, Wisconsin really does strawberries and cheese curds very well.
After our season of rain, it finally seems some sunny, although cooler, weather is in store. I am still in horror of the awful rainy, windy evening endured for the benefit of the farmers market Kids' Day a week ago.
Hot weather is the best for boating and for the tubers, on the back of the boat. Over the Fourth, Will was a tireless expert on the Airhead tube.
Molly had gone above and beyond in her plan for decorating the boat for the parade, including some poofy tissue balls to hang from the shade, plus costumes for kids. Cora dressed as Abe in a black top-hat and mock jacket over her swim suit. Parts from the Uncle Sam suit were divvied out. Syd wore the striped pants with the hat. My son, Doron, stretched the short jacket around him and taped it to his chest. Cora added the striped bow-tie to her Abe outfit. Her black beard refused to stick very long.
We all had red, white and blue leis. Pulled behind us was the red tube with Willy wearing an Uncle Sam hat and attached beard with his blue life-jacket. Although we felt we were stars in the boat, waving to those on shore, the real stars were Will and Doron, who joined Will, waving with one hand and clinging to the tube with the other.
Finally, it had warmed up on the Fourth, so swimming was not also a grimace. Not that I swam or rode the tube; I prefer a more sanguine approach to summer.
Berry season will soon be giving way to all the glories of summer veggies, we are on the verge of green beans and zucchini, although peppers and tomatoes may be a few weeks off.