Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strawberry Muffins, Crisp and Dressing, Oh My!

The Hangry Foodasaurus herself!  2012
Hangry Foodasaurus, June 2012
           Hangry Foodasaurus, June 2012

There is nothing better than fresh, local produce!  I love the summer and all it has to offer.  This past weekend my husband and I went strawberry-picking at Red Fire Farm in Western, MA.  For the second year in a row we have our CSA here and this was our first visit to the farm.  It was a little adventure for us to get out of the city,  plus an experiment to see how long I could last in the car (at 28 weeks pregnant).  We rented a Zipcar for the day and headed out to the Pick Your Own patch in Granby, MA.  It was so beautiful to see rolling hills, hear frogs and peepers and see barn swallows swooping over the fields.  We could hear a baseball game nearby and the fresh air and breeze were incredibly therapeutic to us.  We were so used to our surroundings as children growing up around Pittsburgh, PA and living for 6 years in Ithaca, NY where open land and nature surrounded us.  We were excited to move to a city (Cambridge in 2010) but the glamour has worn off and we really realized how much we missed the farms and fresh air!  We still love cities, but we feel like someday we need to settle in a more wooded community :)

My plan was to take it easy and not overdo it, but as soon as I got in the fields I couldn't help but get into my Yoga squat position and pick away!  8 quarts of strawberries later my fingers were berry-stained and we were happily sweaty and satisfied with our goodies.

On the way home, with the strawberry scent wafting in the breeze, I began to dream up ideas for what to do with all of our booty.  I certainly was too tired to deal with them on Saturday, so we stored them in the fridge (unwashed) in open colanders to preserve freshness as much as possible.

On Sunday I was a baking machine making strawberry wheat muffins, strawberry crisp with almond crunch topping and strawberry-poppyseed salad dressing.  Not to mention having strawberries on granola, cereal, in fruit salad drizzled with yogurt smoothie and of course, by the handful!  We also froze some to have on the ready for fruit smoothies.

For the Strawberry Crisp, I adapted the recipe from Eclectic Recipes blog

I doubled the strawberries, didn't use rhubarb and lessened the brown sugar.  I also added coconut to the topping.

Hangry Foodasaurus, June 2012
The muffins were very easy.  I followed a recipe from Alida's Kitchen  almost exactly.  I used a little more yogurt and did less sugar than instructed.  I also sliced a strawberry to place on top of each muffin for a nice presentation effect.  

For a really tasty dressing, try this strawberry poppy seed dressing.  For the salad I used mixed greens, spinach, slivered almonds, raisins, strawberries, onions and kohlrabi.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

HF, June 2012
Agave nectar-small amount
2 teaspoons German mustard (any will work fine though)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup rice vinegar (or apple cider, red or white wine would be good)
2 Tablespoons Vidalia onion (red onion could work here)
8 fresh strawberries
1 T. water
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (vegetable or canola would be OK)
2 tsp. poppy seed
Hangry Foodasaurus, June 2012
Throw all ingredients in the blender and puree.  Dressings are fun because you can mix and match ingredients that you prefer.  This dressing is a really pretty pink color when finished! 

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