May 6, 2012

Berry CSA: week #2

On Saturday we picked up from the market 4 pounds of strawberries, and 2 pounds of rhubarb.

I've never cooked or baked with rhubarb before, but many years ago I enjoyed the sweet and tart combo of strawberry & rhubarb pie. Again, we are torn between enjoying the berries as they are in all their perfection--so tender and sweet this week--and incorporating them into experimental dishes. At the very least I hope to make a strawberry tart and also some strawberry and rhubarb jam. I'm looking forward to scooping homemade jam from my weck jars at breakfast.

Last week, despite my prediction that our strawberries would be eaten before I could bake anything with them,  I did manage to make a strawberry and pistachio crumble that was pretty wonderful.  Kind of a surprise hit that I adapted from a well-loved recipe that we use all the time.

My favorite cookbook of the last year is In the Green Kitchen by Alice Waters.  Her book "presents her essential cooking techniques to be learned by heart", and every dish that I've prepared from it has been phenomenal. Each recipe includes many variations and encourages creativity and confidence in the kitchen.

If you have some strawberries hanging around this summer, give this a try:

Strawberry and Pistachio Crisp
Slice 2 pounds strawberries into quarters
Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon cane sugar over the berries
Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon and toss the mixture lightly to coat

Mix together in a food processor until crumbly:
1 1/4 cups flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup pistachios, shelled
12 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dump and distribute the topping evenly over the berries.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the juices are bubbly and the topping begins to brown.

We let ours sit for 15 minutes to cool and set up a bit, before we dolloped whipped cream on top and ate it up.

Strawberries with cookie topping
Fresh from the oven
Oh yum
I also tossed together the super easy goat cheese pasta and it made a great dish for an early dinner on a hot and balmy afternoon: light and refreshing with the tangy goat cheese, citrus, and asparagus.

Do you have any recipes to share?

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