Quick Pickled Strawberries and a Kale Salad

Quick Pickled Strawberries

Quick Pickled Strawberries and a Salad to Remember

The word got around when a girl really wanted to know.
East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

More strawberries? Why yes, but savory this time. It’s spring and local berries make me insanely happy. April’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge is quick pickling. All manner of vegetables can be pickled, with a variety of vinegars, spices and herbs. I’ve shared quick picking before, spicy red onions and earthy beets. But pickling sweet berries was an entirely new concept. When I read about Quick Pickled Strawberries I was intrigued. I had to give it a try. And wow, what a pop of flavor! Sweet and tangy, all at the same time. A salad to remember, Quick-pickled Strawberries are perfectly matched to the robust flavor and texture of kale.

Essentials

If you’re losing interest in salads, listen up, quick pickling will have you not only making healthy salads again, but craving salads again. The time it takes to make quick pickles is minimal. The tangy flavor boost quick pickles offer is nothing short of amazing. Quick pickling is not hours spent in the kitchen, chopping tons of vegetables or using canning gear. Quick pickling can be fifteen minutes of meal prep to jump start a week of healthy salads. All that is needed is a spotlessly clean jar with a tight fitting lid, vinegar and salt. The barest hint of sugar and spice add to the intrigue. The choice of what to pickle is entirely up to you. READ MORE . . .

Berry Basket Cake

Berry Basket Cake

With Fallen Meringue and Lemon Curd

“Adam started. He sighed deeply. Isn’t it too simple? he asked. I’m always afraid of simple things. It isn’t simple at all, sad Lee. It’s desperately complicated. But at the end there’s light.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

The first strawberries of spring have arrived. I always say I’ll wait until later in the season to buy them. They will be much sweeter then. But then I cave, and buy them anyway. I’m glad I brought home two baskets. As soon as I was home, I ate almost an entire basket standing at the sink. I was too greedy to wait. The berries were much better than I imagined. But then, my winter tastebuds are hungry for spring. READ MORE . . .

Strawberry Mascarpone Tarts with Port Glaze

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze

Strawberry Season

“Abra came in with shining eyes and a red nose from the frosty wind, and she brought such pleasure that Lee giggled softly when he saw her. Where are the tarts? She demanded.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

Late spring and early summer is my favorite time of the year. When the harvest of local berries begins I can’t seem to get enough. Strawberries are the first. I eat them freshly picked and tucked into salads, but desserts with fresh berries are the best. I am not referring to the lackluster strawberries from the grocery or big box stores. These strawberries can be found almost year round. The grocery store berries are a variety grown to have a long shelf life and stay fresh after they are shipped cross country. (They also get a blast of MAP gas to lengthen shelf life.) I patiently wait for sweet strawberries that are picked when ripe and juicy. They are uniformly red! These berries must be eaten right away, the day they are picked is best. These sweet strawberries can be found at a local farm stand, farmers market or as part of a CSA. I’m fortunate that The Farm just outside Salinas grows some of the best organic berries. At least once a week during strawberry season you’ll find me there buying strawberries. READ MORE . . .

Caramelized White Chocolate Pound Cake

Caramelized White Chocolate Pound Cake

Going Blond

“I thank you Adam, he said. The sweetness of your offer is a good smell on the west wind.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

Are you fond of white chocolate? If not, I am here to change your mind. If you know about Valrhona Dulcey fèves or discs then you’ll understand my obession. The Dulcey is caramelized white chocolate, which is more than fantastic. The happy accident of Chef Frederic Bau, from L’Ecole du Grand Chocolat has transformed the often maligned flavor profile of white chocolate into something extraordinary. I took a perfectly wonderful dark chocolate recipe from The New York Times and gave it a big do over. Melissa Clark’s not so humble pound cake is already a winner! Double streusel is quite amazing. As soon as I saw the recipe I knew I had try it. Except, this is the brunette that went blond for spring. READ MORE . . .

Strawberry Clouds and Angel Wings

Strawberry Clouds and Angel Wings

It would never be enough.

“No one who is young is ever going to be old.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

I’m chasing the sweet spot of cascading memories. Almost a year has passed since I lost my mother. I really do miss her. I haven’t written much about anything since her death. What can be said about loss that hasn’t already been said? This story and it’s recipes came together in bits and pieces, the roiling of memories all tangled with now. READ MORE . . .