All Hail the Mighty Strawberry

This time of year means a lot of things to a lot of people, graduations, weddings, time to break out the white shoes or the bathing suits, but to me it means time for fresh, ripe, beautiful red strawberries. I like to get mine from the local pick-your-own farm. The biggest problem with picking your own is you tend to come home with too many because you always see one more succulent berry just ahead and before you know it you've got enough fruit to feed the entire neighborhood. So what do you do with the strawberries when you get them home? There are a million recipes out there, starting with wash, core and eat plain, and working your way up to making your own strawberry wine. But chances are you're tired and you don't feel like digging up any recipes so rejoice because I found some for you that are tasty and posted by friendly, interesting people.

Teddy Gross's blog Help! I Have a Fire in My Kitchen is a veritable bazaar of cooking information, humor, terrific recipes, useful links and conversion applications. He's got everything from grams to ounces converters to Teddy's Insane Laws for the Kitchen to a difficulty rating system. There is quite a lot to explore at his blog and even if you don't know how to spell oven you'll find his posts entertaining. Extra bonus - all his recipes are kosher.

Strawberry Streusel Muffins

Ingredients:

1. 4 Tablespoons of butter or margarine (at room temperature)

2. ¾ cup sugar

3. 1 egg (at room temperature)

4. ½ cup milk

5. 2 cups flour

6. 2 teaspoons baking powder

7. ½ teaspoon salt

8. 2 cups diced fresh strawberries

Topping:

1. ½ cup sugar

2. 1/3 cup flour

3. ½ teaspoon cinnamon

4. 4 Tablespoon butter or margarine (cold, cut into pieces)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or use paper baking cups.

2. Cream butter with sugar until light yellow and fluffy.

3. Beat in egg until almost frothy, then add milk until just blended.

4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Add dry mixture to egg mixture a little at a time until just blended.

6. Fold in strawberries (meaning easily add them in a couple at a time)

7. Place mixture in muffin cups—until each cup is ¾ full.

8. For the topping, place ingredients in a medium bowl.

9. Cut together with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

10. Sprinkle topping over batter in each muffin cup.

11. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Variation I discovered by accident: For a crispier top, place oven on broil instead of preheating. Broil muffins for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow oven to cool to 375 degrees F. Bake muffins 30 minutes.

Image of Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars courtesy of the Culinary in the Country blog
(Photo of Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars courtesy and property of the Culinary in the Country blog)

Joe at the scrumptious food blog Culinary in the Desert Country! offers this fabulous recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars. Don't forget to click the link and take a look around the blog. Joe's posts are fun to read, informative and quite enjoyable even if you have no plans to cook the food you're reading about. He had me wishing I could eat shrimp earlier this week. Be sure to take a peek at the recipe list: you'll find instructions for treats like Black Pepper Citrus Chicken and Mexican Salad with Pomegranate-Lime Dressing. Can you say yum? I knew you could.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars

For the filling

1 1/2 cups 1" chopped fresh rhubarb

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the drizzle

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

To make the filling

In a medium saucepan, stir together rhubarb, strawberries and lemon juice. Place over medium heat - cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender, about 8-12 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Stir into fruit mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the crust

Preheat oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda and salt. Mix at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of this crumb mixture. Scoop the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish lightly coated with nonstick spray. Evenly spread filling over crust. Scatter the reserved crumb mixture over the top.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the drizzle

In a small bowl, whisk confectioners' sugar and enough of the milk until it flows easily. Drizzle the mixture over the cooled bars before cutting.

If you're looking for the ultimate strawberry shortcake recipe you can't go wrong with this to-die-for recipe for Strawberry Shortcakes with Mascarpone Cream. You can make them with a plain old whipped cream filling but really don’t you think you deserve something as deluxe as the mascarpone cream?

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Mohsan, who comments on some forthcoming video game releases. "OMG so many great titles this year, Starcraft 2, Halo 3, Smash bros. Brawl and many more." Have you got a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me and I'll run the most interesting ones. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.