Sunday, May 01, 2011

Dealing with 28 Pounds of Strawberries: Leftover French Lentils with Potato served with Injera and a Strawberry-Dressed Salad

Yesterday, my wife, daughter, and I went to what turned out to be a great certified organic and certified biodynamic farm about 30-40 minutes away. We found three tasty varieties of strawberry (Candler, somewhat rare Sweet Charlie, and Camarosa; the latter taste best when very dark burgundy and stand up well to dipping in, for example, chocolate) - and got carried away, picking 28 pounds!!

Last night, we enjoyed some take-out Ethiopian food and quickly got to working through the berries. My wife used her food dehydrator to get many of the berries dehydrated - the process still goes on today (it seems to take about 12 or more hours). I made a chocolate dip (using some bittersweet dark chocolate melted - in a bowl in a pan of boiling water to avoid burning the chocolate - and mixed with some unsweeteened "MimicCreme" almond-cashew "cream") for some dipping, and we ate plenty fresh berries as-is.

Today, I found a recipe that inspired a strawberry dressing. I put 3 or 4 large, firm Camarosa strawberries in our VitaMix blender with very little (1/2 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons or so of a vinegar-based hot sauce, about 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, a teaspoon or so of fresh squeezed lime juice, and a pinch of salt. I wanted to add one or two cloves of garlic; I didn't have garlic, so instead added a small segment of shallot, as well. I blended on medium (4) for 10 seconds or so, then on high for just a few seconds. I served it atop a salad that had three slices of another variety of strawberry. It was my first attempt at making a salad dressing (we usually use nothing or lime juice with a little salt and pepper) and came out well!

I heated up leftover French Lentils with Potato from Tuesday. I had picked up some extra injera, the lovely spongy sour bread made from fermented teff that is used in lieu of utensils to pick up Ethiopian food, yesterday and served my wife and myself each a lightly warmed injera.

Dinner was good! I went on after dinner to make strawberry ice cream. I simply put in the VitaMix 4 or 5 frozen berries, about a quarter cup of the unsweetened cashew-almond cream, one pitted date, and two more room temperature strawberries. I blended on about "4" till the "ice cream" formed as four humps in the blender. I served topped with a fresh mint leaf. I loved it - what made it exceptional was the fact that the date didn't get homogenized but was in pieces mixed throughout.


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