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Spring into summer – celebrate strawberries

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Strawberry and chocolate-ganache pie

While preparing to present a spring cooking demonstration for my Na’amat club, Simcha/Kadima, I decided I wanted to work with strawberries.

Juicy, summery and delicious, these heart-shaped delights are a bona fide superfood with much more to offer than sweetness and delicious taste. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants and vitamins, strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits.

As strawberry and other fruit and vegetable consumption increases, the risk of medical conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, inflammation and obesity may go down while immunity and energy are boosted. Strawberries are also a great source of fibre. For the best nutritional value and flavour, buy fresh strawberries. Choose berries that are firm, plump, unblemished and free of mould. They should have a deep red colour with green caps attached.

Inspect the bottom of the package to ensure that the strawberries have not been crushed. Right before serving, gently rinse strawberries in cold water and dry them well. Any leftover strawberries should be wrapped in paper towelling, placed in a covered dish and stored in the refrigerator to be consumed as soon as possible. So take advantage of strawberry season now! By the way, my cooking demonstration went “berry” well, and now I wish to share the recipes with you.

Strawberry goat cheese-bruschetta

The tangy, slightly salty goat cheese works amazingly well with the syrupy, balsamic-coated strawberries and crispy bread.

Strawberry goat cheese-bruschetta

o 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

o 12 slices French stick (baguette)

o 2-3 tbsp. olive oil

o 1 lb. strawberries, washed and diced

o2 tbsp. fresh chives, plus more for serving

o 1 cup goat cheese, room temperature

o salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat vinegar in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced by about half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Combine strawberries and chives in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast bread under the broiler until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Spread goat cheese on toasted bread. Add black pepper, salt and reduced vinegar to the strawberry mixture. Spoon over the goat cheese-topped bruschetta.

Garnish with additional chives.

Strawberry salad with turkey bacon and candied walnuts

Strawberry salad with turkey bacon and candied walnuts

o 2 tbsp. unsalted margarine

o 1 cup walnut halves, chopped

o 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

o 1/8 tsp. pepper

o 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

o 1 head romaine lettuce

o 1 cup frozen shelled and cooked
edamame, thawed

o 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and
quartered

o 4-6 strips of turkey bacon

Make the candied walnuts first so they can cool. Toast the nuts in a heated, heavy bottomed, saucepan for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the walnuts, salt, pepper and brown sugar and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and spread them out to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare lettuce and hull and slice strawberries.

Bake bacon for 10 minutes on both sides until crisp. Place turkey bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess fat, then crumble and sprinkle on top of the salad. Toss all the ingredients and drizzle dressing over salad just before serving.

Strawberry and chocolate-ganache pie

o frozen pie shell

o 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

o 1/2 cup 35 per cent whipping cream

o 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced.

o 2 tbsp. strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 400. Let frozen crust sit out for 10 minutes. With a fork, prick bottom of the shell at the sides and in the middle to prevent the pie shell from puffing up.

Bake crust until it is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Meanwhile, place chocolate chips and cream in a medium bowl. Place in microwave and heat on high for one minute. Whisk until melted and continue until smooth and dark brown. Spread chocolate ganache in a thin layer on bottom of tart shell.  Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Arrange strawberry slices in concentric circles on top of the chocolate ganache. Melt jam in a covered dish, in microwave for 1 minute, then, with a pastry brush, paint the jam over all the strawberry slices

Note: If using a deep pie shell, double the amount of chocolate chips and whipping cream. Microwave them for two minutes.

Strawberry balsamic-vinaigrette

o 1 cup strawberries, hulled

o 1 tbsp. canola oil

o 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

o juice of one lime

o 1 tsp. honey

o 1/4 tsp. salt

Blend ingredients together in a food processor or blender or with an immersion blender. If you wish to remove the seeds, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a container or bowl. Let the vinaigrette flavours intermix in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Share and Enjoy !

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