Posts tagged strawberries

Coconut mangoberry buckle

Coconut mango strawberry buckleI saw this posted on King Arthur Flour’s blog and figured I had to give it a try. The original recipe for Peachberry Buckle called for a mixture of peach and blueberries. But since I’d just gone strawberry picking with my daughter, that’s what I used.

 

Beside swapping out the blueberries, I jazzed up the flavor of the buckle in a few others ways, too. I added in coconut to the crumb topping and coconut extract to the batter. As for the peaches…I layered in mangoes since I had one that was perfectly ripe and just begging to be eaten. The buckle ended up as a cool mix of summer flavors that you can eat hot with ice cream (like a fruit crisp), or cold for breakfast as a coffee cake.

 

Recipe

Servings: 8 big slices

Prep time: 20 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

Cake

4 tbsps. butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)

1 1/2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup regular, 1 cup white whole wheat)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup berries, divided (blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries…)

 

Filling

1 large mango, sliced

 

Topping

4 tbsps. butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and coconut extracts.
  3. Next, stir in the salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  4. Stir in half the milk, then half the flour, then the rest of the milk and the last bit of flour.
  5. Divide the batter in half and smear onto the bottom of the lightly greased 9″ cake pan (I used my springform cheesecake pan).
  6. Layer the mango slices and half of the strawberries on top of the batter. Mix the remaining strawberries into the rest of the batter and drop in spoonfuls onto the layer of fruit.
  7. For the topping, cut the butter into the rest of the topping ingredients until it resembles large crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is just browned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberry picking time!

Strawberry fieldsMy older girls are away at camp and when I asked my youngest what she wanted to do she told me, “Pick strawberries.” So that’s exactly what we did.

 

Strawberry picking time is almost over. If you haven’t been out yet, there’s still a week or two. The strawberries in Ohio are much smaller and tarter than the big, California variety I usually find at the grocery store. As my daughter said, “They taste like sunshine.” I agree.

 

Funny strawberries

Strawberry fields

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Why aren’t you eating…freeze-dried fruit

Freeze-dried strawberries

Have you tried freeze-dried fruit? Or more to the point, have your kids? Freeze-dried fruit has a consistency akin to…well, Pringles almost. They’re light and airy. My kids like to press the fruit between their tongue and the roof of their mouth until it gets squishy. They make for great snacks too since they won’t weigh down your bag and they’re fun to eat.

Freeze-dried fruit has a completely different consistency than dried fruit. If only I could freeze-dry at home! But the way the process works is that the fruit is flash frozen, then put into a vacuum chamber to remove the frozen water by converting it directly into a gas. The leftover fruit is drained of 75-90% of its water content but loses few of its nutrients. Also, freeze-dried fruit doesn’t have any added preservatives or sugars and it’s low in calories too. My serving of strawberries, which is a decent 2/3 cup, has only 45 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Not bad.

I’ve been noticing freeze-dried fruit popping up in store aisles from Costco to Target, Trader Joe’s to Walmart. But the small packets you find at the grocers can get pricey (it’s true that freeze-dried fruit tends to be more expensive in general but it lasts forever). I order my freeze-dried fruit in bulk online from

I found these at Costco

Emergency Essentials. You can try the freeze-dried fruit combo, which includes bananas, pineapple, peach, mango, strawberry, and raspberry, all 2-ounce cans for $39.95. My favorite is the mango, which come as little squares that taste kind of like good-for-you versions of Lucky Charms marshmallows. I’ve noticed the strawberries and raspberries tend to break into little pieces. I don’t let the fruit powder go to waste, I use it in smoothies or fruit sauces.

Your turn: Have you tried freeze dried fruit? What did you think of the flavor and texture?

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Buckwheat crepes

My teen had one request for her birthday–breakfast in bed. And she wanted crepes. Mr. Squid usually handles crepe duty around our house. See he can flip the crepes in the air and have them land right back in the pan. Mine tend to land on the counter, when they don’t fly off to the floor.

But I’d been wanting to try a new buckwheat flour crepe recipe. At the Cleveland’s West Side Market one of the most popular booths is Crepes De Luxe, which touts their “authentic, Parisian style” crepes. (If you go, just ask someone to point out where “the crepe place is” then look for a long line.) I find that buckwheat crepes are thicker, bigger and heartier than your all-purpose flour variety. I like it. Usually buckwheat crepes are reserved for the savory fare. And you can use this recipe for a savory meal, I’ve melted fontina and roasted asparagus in these crepes for dinner. But this time it was all about something sweet for a special breakfast.

Notes:

I don’t use a crepe pan, I just bake ‘em in my regular, non-stick 9″ saute pan.

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cleveland's Crepes De Luxe

Servings: about 15 crepes in a 9″ pan


Ingredients

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, puree until smooth. I didn’t use sugar, but you could if you want these a little sweeter. (I was saving some for dinner and I don’t like too-sweet desserts anyway.)
  2. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. In a 9″ saute pan or crepe pan melt 1 teaspoon butter to medium-high heat.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl until it stretches out over the pan. Cook until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 60 seconds then carefully flip. I no longer try to toss mine in the air, but rely on a large spatula.
  5. Cook for 45 seconds on the other side then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the batter, placing pieces of waxed paper between the crepes so they don’t stick.

To serve:

For a sweet crepe I keep it simple: I cut up strawberries and let them sit in a sprinkling in sugar and fresh lemon juice while I was preparing the crepes. On the plate I swirled Hershey’s chocolate syrup just for decoration then slathered Nutella on the still-warm crepes. I also tucked strawberry slices inside before rolling them up, placing them on the plate and garnishing them with another strawberry and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, just cuz.

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Easy fruit leather

Fruit leathers are so easy to make I wish I would have tried ‘em sooner! I looked through recipe after recipe to figure out my own version.

Here’s what I wanted:

1)No cooking

2)No sugar (I like ‘em tart)

3)Fast

Here’s what I learned:

1)Part of the reason you have to cook the fruit beforehand is to make it smooth and to dissolve the sugar. Cutting out the sugar helped eliminate one reason to cook. The next? A smooth consistency. A hint from purchased fruit leathers helped solve that: apple sauce (that’s my interpretation for the first ingredient–no matter the flavor it’s always ‘apple puree concentrate’). Using apple sauce makes the leathers smoother and cuts the cost. You’re going to need 5-7 cups of pureed something, mixing apple sauce with strawberries cut the amount of fresh fruit I needed.

2)Instead of sugar some recipes use honey. I wanted another option so I tried agave. It worked perfectly. (I also added in a squeeze or two of lemon juice for a sour punch.)

3)Well, there’s no real way to make fruit leathers fast. Prep fast, yes. Actual drying, nope. I did decide to up the temperature from 140 degrees (that’s what I saw listed again and again) to 170, which seemed to maybe trim the time a bit, but count on this recipe taking the better part of the day (or two). Unattended, mind you.

Basic Steps

Step #1 Cut fruit

Step #2

You need 4-5 cups for roll-ups (pictured) or 6-7 cups for thicker leathers (which will take longer to cook). I used half apple sauce, half cut up strawberries, and I recommend a 1:1 ratio.

Step #2 Blend fruit

Easy, peasy. I squeezed in a bit of agave, fresh lemon juice, tasted, tweaked, done.

Step #3 Pour fruit

Line a cookie pan with parchment (over the edges). Pour.

Step #4 Bake fruit

10-12 hours at 170. Yup, it takes time, the edges will cook faster then the center, so you can cut them off as they finish, feel with your fingers if the fruit is at the right leathery consistency for your taste. I let mine cook over a couple days so that I never left the oven on unattended.

That’s it. I kept the parchment on the leathers so they were easier to pack in lunches. These leathers were a hit with my kids–my middle daughter who doesn’t like strawberries or apple sauce (but strangely enough loves cut apple slices) downed half the pan and was the first to ask me to make more. My oven has been on non-stop since.

Along with fruit leathers, I’ve been thinking about healthy habits for my family with summer around the corner–I found these over on Motherboard.

Your turn–what are your favorite healthy snacks? Habits?

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