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Summer’s first berries

June 20, 2010

berries

Well, goodness, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Time seems to be passing so fast lately. Nearly the summer solstice, it’s muggy and warm. There’s a steady breeze and thunder storms on the horizon for this evening. In a fit of – what? – heat stroke, summer craziness, something… I picked eight quarts of strawberries today from a local pick your own farm. It was hot, it made my back ache, and it felt very much like summer. It felt good.

reflections

Our garden is supposed to have strawberries in it. A week ago, I was eying the blushing berries, gauging that we needed one more day of ripening before picking. We were going to have friends over the next day for dinner and I was anticipating picking those berries and serving them sans any gussying-up for desert.

I got home with only a half hour to prep and headed out with a huge plastic container to fill. (You know what’s coming, right?) There wasn’t a damn berry left on those plants. As I threw a mini tantrum in the midst of our strawberry patch, swearing at the wee beasts that thought they were entitled to my strawberries, I noticed my husband looking at me with a wary eye. Sigh. Over-reacting? Probably. It was a lot of strawberries  though.

peony

And so, my weekend yielded this spontaneous strawberry picking episode and a now a fridge packed with berries. I ate them for lunch with plain, whole milk yogurt and some maple syrup. I ate them plain while I waited for the grill to heat up for dinner. And while dinner was on the grill, I sliced strawberries for homemade strawberry ice cream. And this treat is always what makes it really feel like summer to me. This means annual visits from nieces and nephews and the first heat waves of the summer. And I’ll be honest, it’s really the only time of the year I pull that heretofore much-coveted ice cream maker out of the basement.

daisy to be

And then, just because there are so damn many berries in my fridge, I also made strawberry shortcake. With gluten-free biscuits, cobbled together from a couple different recipes, mostly Gluten Free Girl’s. The first batch was kind of weird. Note to self: sweet potato flour makes things taste like sweet potatoes. Perhaps that would have been obvious to someone concerned less with using up all those berries and more concerned with what was in front of her. They were tasty, but not exactly what you’d top with strawberries and cream. And so I tried again. This time, I used less assertive flours, and the results were much better.

I’ll also point out, in her defense, the Gluten Free Girl’s recipe did not include sweet potato flour. This was my own innovation. Ahem. Baking? Well, clearly my talents lie elsewhere. And in my defense, I never claimed otherwise. However, all that aside, please do try the biscuits below. They really were lovely. Though I still have strawberries left over.

overboard with strawberries

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

Biscuits

1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. light buckwheat flour
1/2 c. gluten-free oat flour
1/2 c. sweet brown rice flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 t. coarse salt
4 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 c. buttermilk (or milk soured with 1 t. cider vinegar)
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 450° F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork until thoroughly combined. Add butter pieces and smoosh it around with two forks into the flours until it has the texture of little peas.

Beat the egg white until frothy and add to dry ingredients. Add buttermilk to dry ingredients. Fold both into dry ingredients until it just comes together. Drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet in 2.5-3″ diameter rounds.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Makes a baker’s dozen.

Strawberries

1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/4 c. sugar
squeeze of lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in bowl and allow strawberries to macerate for a half hour.

To assemble:

Slice each biscuit in half and place several large spoons full of strawberries onto bottom half. Place second half over strawberries and then top with whipped cream (or strawberry ice cream, should you have it). I didn’t use all of the biscuits. If you’re making all 13 of them, you’ll need more strawberries. Biscuits keep several days in an air-tight container.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    June 20, 2010 7:40 pm

    Hey Andrea
    nice berries and nice story
    you’re lucky the deer haven’t eaten your plants too

    • June 21, 2010 6:27 am

      We have a fence around the garden, so they don’t get in there!

  2. Sarah permalink
    June 28, 2010 12:49 pm

    I am inspired…off to Sherman Mills one evening this week for my sadistic homoge to the season. The goal….strawberry/rhubarb jam, pie and then a reorganization of my freezer so venison and berries can co-mingle. It is also blueberry time here…wild blueberries on the powerline..let’s hope the bears are willing to share. Happy Summering, and PS I know exactly what you said upon finding the missing berries and I think part of it rhymes with ducking. I am sure snowshoes were not involved…
    Sarah

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