Both those tender, sweet greens growing in the garden and those luscious, sweet, local strawberries at a nearby farm are ready to pick and serve at about the same time.
I’ve so much enjoyed going out to the garden each early evening to pick our salad for supper. I’ve also been thrilled to either pick juicy strawberries at a nearby farm, or buy a quart or two from their stand. It all depends upon how much time I have that day.
Late June is second only to August when it comes to eating fresh. And perhaps late June is even better because that’s when whatever is in season is at its freshest and it’s the first of many fresh fruits and vegetables to come.
For example, as I thin the pak choy so that their thick, white stems will have room to expand to become succulent additions to stir fries later in the summer season, I’ve cut off the roots, chopped up the tender, light green leaves, and stir fried them with a little garlic, olive oil, and a dash of soy sauce. Cooked this way, they make a perfect side dish with whatever else may be served.
The same can be done with arugula. Some people, such as my husband, likes the slightly bitter taste of these green and red leaves in his salad. For me, though, I prefer the tender, mild lettuce leaves. But stir frying them like the pak choy results in another healthy and delicious side dish for supper.
Besides adding baby spinach to green salads, and later, picking and freezing it to add to soups or to eat as a winter side dish, fresh, tender spinach straight from the garden can be combined with fresh, sliced strawberries for a different twist on a salad.
The secret is that the dressing must be slightly sweet, and a topped with toasted nuts. Walnuts or pecans are good choices for a spinach/strawberry salad. To toast, which intensifies the flavor of the nuts, spread a thin layer of nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep watch on them to be sure they don’t burn and become bitter.
Here’s the spinach/strawberry salad recipe.
Spinach Strawberry Salad (serves 8-10)
One-third cup olive oil
One-quarter cup sugar
3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 heaping tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped mild onion
Dash of paprika
Dash of salt
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
one-third cup chopped walnuts, toasted
In a container with a tightly fitting lid, add the oil, sugar, vinegar, sesame and poppy seeds, chopped onion and dash of salt. Shake well and refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready to serve, combine the spinach, strawberries and toasted nuts in a salad bowl. Shake dressing and drizzle over salad.
Just about everyone has had strawberry pie or strawberry shortcake. This strawberry cake recipe is made in a 10-inch pie plate. Top each serving wedge with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Strawberry Pie Cake (8 servings)
6 tablespoons butter or butter substitute, softened
1 and one-half cups flour
1 and one-half teaspoons baking powder
one-half teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar and a little extra for sprinkling
1 large egg
one-half cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
Butter a 10-inch pie plate.
In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, put the softened butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir well. Spoon into the buttered pie plate.
Place halved strawberries atop the batter, cut side down, placing them close together. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Bake cake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for about an hour longer, or until the cake is golden. Let cool on a wire rack, or serve wedges warm.
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