Jun 5, 2008|
|Strawberries & Smoothies|
This time of year is one of those perfect
moments of anticipation - the entirety of summer, and all its
pleasures, lies visibly ahead. How appropriate,
that fresh strawberries appear in these late spring days, ready to
usher us into the pleasant warmth of summer. Red,
ripe strawberries promise a season bursting with flavor and
style. In this issue, we'll offer many tips for
enjoying strawberries, including some smoothie know-how that will
serve you well all summer long. Break out the
berry bowls and blenders! Begin the summer
Join us in celebrating the engagements and
pending nuptials for the following couples currently registered at
24, 2008 - Inger Osterberg & Tony Marsh
May 31, 2008 -
Kristin White & Jason Sjulin
Jun 7, 2008 - LeeAnna Olson
& Michael Vickery
Jun 14, 2008 - Ellen Tait & Igor
Jun 28, 2008 - Amy Larson & James Hawcott
2008 - Amy Swanson & Patrick Finn
Jul 5, 2008 - Naomi Slutski
& Brandon Whalen
Jul 13, 2008 - Ashley Petersen & Steven
Jul 19, 2008 - Betsy Hertz & Luke Wenz
Aug 2, 2008 -
Katie Kearney & Paul Porter
Aug 8, 2008 - Holly Reisetter
& Jeremy Eide
Aug 9, 2008 - Carolyn Wilson & John
Aug 9, 2008 - Alaina Meyer & Erik Christian
2008 - Natalie Cornwell & Andy Craig
Oct 11, 2008 - Emily
Blaedel & Nick Johnson
Access our Gift
Registry on our website!
|New - JUST IN!|
| Ready to spend some time outdoors and enjoy a
time-honored tradtion? Check out the open fire Popcorn Poppers
that have just arrived! The metal base heats quickly and the
long handle is perfect for holding over a campfire or grill.
The top wire mesh lid catches the newly popped kernels, then doubles
as a serving dish when the popper is turned over. We think
you'll enjoy injecting some old-fashioned fun with this new backyard
|Join us in our
kitchen on Saturdays for cooking demonstrations that inform and
inspire! The presentations begin promptly at 10:00am. $5
class fee; no reservations required.|
Saturday, May 31 - Lemon Pie and Coconut
Cream - Instructor: Margaret Welder.
Margaret's Lemon Pie is a tangy, sweet-tart refreshment. Learn
the secrets to preparing these two favorites. Margaret has had
many requests to share her knowledge and these traditional
Saturday, June 7 - Iles Flottantes ("Floating
Islands") - Instructor: Beatriz
Spalding. Puffy clouds of softly poached meringue floating on
a vanilla custard sauce may look ethereal on the plate, but this is
really a homey French farmhouse dessert. It was probably
devised to make ingenious use of fresh farm eggs and milk, plus a
Time - Thank you for participating in our Saturday Cooking
Demonstrations this past season! We've had a fantastic year of
exploration. Thanks, too, to our talented team of presenters
who have brought their expertise and energy into our kitchen.
We'll resume our regular Saturday fun in the fall with an exciting
agenda of topics.
demonstration schedule is also available on our website at
the Classes and Events
Red, ripe strawberries entice our eyes with
their true red color. Then, our noses recognize
the perfumy aroma. And finally, our palates dance with their tangy
sweetness. Strawberries are unique among fruits;
they wear their seeds on the outside, all 200+ per
strawberry! With their heart shape and red color,
strawberries have represented Venus, the Goddess of Love, as well as
having served as a longtime symbol of perfection and
righteousness. Not surprisingly, it's a rare
person who doesn't love strawberries!
When choosing strawberries at the market look
(1) Full red color, without white
areas. Strawberries will not ripen further once
(2) Fresh green leaves on the cap; no
wilting or dried, brown leaves.
fragrance of the "strawberry perfume."
Lack of fuzzy mold. One moldy berry will
send spores throughout the rest in the container.
If purchasing strawberries in a clamshell container, turn it
over for a view of the bottom and sides.
Finally, a quart of strawberries approximates 1.5 pounds of
strawberries, or 4 cups of sliced strawberries.
Strawberries: The key to storing
strawberries is brevity! Once picked, like all
produce, strawberries begin to deteriorate.
Plan to use strawberries
as soon as possible after purchase, and if that is not possible,
Strawberries: Freshly picked
strawberries are a different creature than the red fruits on produce
shelves in December. Fortunately, strawberries grow in all 50
states, though commercial production is centered in California,
Florida and Oregon. Many strawberries have been bred for
shipping durability and not necessarily taste. If
you'd like to take advantage of locally produced strawberries, here
are a few "U-Pick/Pre-Pick" locations to check out.
Call ahead to ensure availability and arrangements.
The Berry Patch -
Nevada, IA - (877)382-5138
Mitchellville & Corn Maze - Mitchellville, IA (515)
Heritage Farm - Hudson, IA - (319)
Lincolnway Flower Farm - Lowden, IA - (563)
Furleigh Farms - Clear Lake, IA - (641) 357-4097
Rawson's Berries -
West Union, IA - (563-422-3716
Small's Fruit Farm
- Mondamin, IA - (712) 646-2723
Gettings Gardens - Sanborn, IA -
locations are noted at PickYourOwn.org.
Prepping Strawberries: Wash strawberries just
before using. Rinse, immediately drain the
strawberries, and pat dry. Strawberries act like
sponges; avoid letting water stand on or around the
berries. Leave the green leaves, (sepals), on the
strawberries while washing. Keeping the hulls on
the strawberries prevents water from gathering inside the center
cavity of the strawberries. Removing the leaves
and the small white core they attach to is known as "hulling the
strawberry." Strawberry hullers are nifty gadgets
that make quick work of the
Strawberry Serving Ideas|
strawberries served simply are a great way to savor the essence of
the season. Each of these preparations is quick
and easy to assemble for a snack, appetizer, or dessert.
The redness of the strawberries dominates the presentation
while the "seasonal perfume" and juice sweetens each bite.
Strawberries with Peppered Goat Cheese
Stuffing - Make
two slits in the tip of the strawberry, pipe softened peppered goat
cheese in the center. Leave the green leaves on
the strawberry for an easy handle.
Strawberries with Lemon
and Honey - Dress
hulled, sliced strawberries with a light dressing of equal parts
honey and fresh lemon juice. Drizzle on the
berries and toss.
Strawberries Dipped in
Chocolate - Always a
dazzling treat! Dip washed, dried strawberries in
melted chocolate. Two teaspoons of shortening
melted in 6 ounces of chocolate will help the chocolate to stay
hardened in summer heat. Chill the strawberries well before washing
Walnuts on a Spinach Salad - Strawberries add sparkle to dark greens
and accept all types of salad dressings with ease.
Toasted walnuts and sliced strawberries on a bed of spinach
is hard to beat.
Yogurt Dip - Make this
healthy snack with plain, lowfat yogurt sweetened with honey or
brown sugar, and a splash of vanilla. Leave the
green caps on the strawberries as a convenient handle for
Balsamic Vinegar - The
syrupy tang of your best balsamic vinegar pairs well with gently
sweetened strawberries and a mint garnish.
Rhubarb - This
old-fashioned pair is still a spring favorite.
Cook 2 cups quartered strawberries and 2 cups diced rhubarb
with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of water on low heat until
saucy. Adjust sweetness to
Cold beverages in summertime are a survival
must. A great alternative to common sodas are
drinks made with fresh, natural fruits, widely known as
smoothies. Once summer has arrived, the blender,
or "smoothie maker," is a permanent fixture on
our countertops. A smoothie can take on a variety
of characteristics, but all are cold and made with fresh fruits
Smoothies - All types
of milk are suitable for smoothies: cow's milk,
goat's milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.
Blend 1 cup of your milk choice with 1 cup
of your fruit choice, and sweeten to
smoothies are healthy, quick and refreshing!
Smoothies - For a
low-calorie drink, and none of the chemicals of commercial
"slushies," an ice-based smoothie is fantastic.
Simply blend equal parts ice and fruit, and sweeten to
taste. Use ice cubes of a smaller size to achieve
an even consistency in the ice. Many silicone ice
cube trays offer a smaller cube size and easy
Smoothies - Concoct a
combination smoothie by using half milk, half ice along with your
More Smoothie Tips:
- Turn your smoothie into a meal
replacement with the addition of protein powder, or other
- Use plain, fat-free yogurt and
your smoothie becomes a "lassi."
- If your smoothie contains ice
cream, it's no longer a smoothie, but is now a
- Grab your insulated, to-go cups
for enjoying smoothies while on the move.
- Tall, clear glasses showcase the
beautiful colors of smoothies; repurpose those
Save a piece of the
fruit prior to blending for garnishing.
Check out the
Strawberry Smoothie drinks below in the Recipe
Blenders are indispensable equipment in
the summertime kitchen! Their powerful
blades handle chunky fruits, vegetables, and even hard ice
cubes. They can do rough chopping work, or
puree foods to a smooth consistency. At
higher speeds the blender's action incorporates air into the
blended product, a much desired characteristic for certain
often asked question about blenders is, "If I have a
food processor, why do I need a blender?"
The two machines overlap in some respects, but really
serve two different purposes in the kitchen.
Both blenders and food processors chop and puree food,
but in different ways. Blenders typically
have four blade wings positioned optimally for creating a
whirlpool effect that brings food down into the vortex, and
then sends it upwards. Blenders generally
require liquid in the bottom of container to facilitate the
swirling motion. Food processors do not
require liquid. Blender blades are tough
without a sharp edge. The blades act
by impacting foods with force, (like a common coffee grinder),
not by cutting the food as with a food processor.
Unlike the fine cutting blades of a food processor,
blender blades are tough enough to crush ice.
Considerations when Choosing a
Blender - When
choosing a blender, match your expected use with the options
available. Here are just a few
Base - The action
of the blender can "inspire" a machine to move across the
countertop. Choose a blender with a sturdy,
heavy base and "grippy" non-scratch feet.
Container Type - Blender containers are typically
made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel.
Each material offers its own advantage.
Glass containers offer visual access, tend not to
scratch, and may be chilled prior to use.
Plastic provides a lighter weight container and a
visual view to the processing, though may scratch more
easily. Stainless steel containers are
super-sturdy and may also be chilled to great effect prior to
Power - The power of a blender is expressed
in "watts;" the higher the wattage, the greater the
power. If the expected use is always at
full speed for longer periods of time, a higher wattage
blender may be in order.
Clean-ability - Often the key to making good use of
a kitchen appliance is its ease of cleaning.
Examine the blenders assembly to see if it clears the
"easy" hurdle. Featured Blender
- We feature Kitchen
Aidôblenders here at Cook's Emporium. You'll find that
they live up to their reputation of high performance in the
Tip #1: Take advantage of the
local peak strawberry season by freezing as many as you have room
for. Wash, drain and pat dry just-picked
strawberries. Once hulled, place on a jelly roll
pan in a single layer and freeze the strawberries. After solidly
frozen, package in a freezer-quality zipper bag.
Use at will, but save a few for a cold day in November so
that you can reminisce about the summer past.
Stock a variety of frozen fruits, (purchased or picked), for
super-quick smoothie action now or anytime of
frozen fruit serves the dual purpose of providing both the fruit
ingredient and the ice component.
Teach family members to always be safe when operating a
blender: (1) Position the blender securely away from the edge of the
countertop, (2) Always position the cover snuggly positioned on top
of the container before powering on, (3) Never insert a utensil
inside the blender container while the blades are
|Q & A|
What is a berry
As discussed above, strawberries will
quickly absorb any water that they contact, resulting in mushy
berries. A berry bowl is a small bowl with drain
holes in the bottom. Often a berry bowl is
matched with a saucer and served as one. Berry
bowls are perfect for leisurely plucking and full berry
Q: What does it mean to "macerate"
A: Macerating berries or
any fresh fruit occurs when sugar is sprinkled on the fruit or the
fruit is soaked in a sweet liqueur. The sugar
(granulated or in the liqueur) changes the fluid balance of the
water inside the moisture-rich cells of the fruit.
The sugar coaxes the water out of the cells through an
osmosis process creating a rich syrup surrounding wilted,
in the blender get stuck above the blade and don't get mixed
in. What's wrong?
A: A blender works by
drawing down the ingredients into the blades, then forcing them
upwards and around in a mini-whirlpool motion. If
the ingredients are too dry, or too chunky, this movement is impeded
and an air pocket forms around the blade mechanism.
To avoid this, load the blender with the liquid components
first. If the situation persists, add some
additional liquid to the mixture.
Q: Can I use my food processor to make
A: Certainly, but only
smoothies that do not contain ice. Never use your
food processor to crush ice, always use a blender, or machines
specifically made for crushing ice. Blender
blades crush ice by impact force at high speeds.
Food processor blades have a fine cutting edge that will be
damaged immediately when it attempts to "cut" the
Smoothie Book, 130
Delicious Recipes for Blender Drinks, Frozen Desserts, Shakes, and
More! by Cherie
Calbom. Copyright 2006 by Wellness Central an
imprint of The Hachette Book Group, New York, NY.
If your idea of a smoothie is limited to one or
two concoctions, this book will lift you out of your rut into some
daring territory! As the title suggests, Ms.
Calbom provides recipes for all type of blender drinks.
Each recipe is accompanied by a calorie count and nutritional
analysis. In addition to the recipes, detailed
information on smoothie components and "add-ins" is
offered. The book's perspective is clearly from a
nutritional angle, but you don't have to be a health food nut in
order to benefit from the great ideas and tips.
You'll gain the confidence to experiment with different kinds
of milk including coconut milk, rice milk, and "almond
milk." You'll even expand your smoothie
repertoire to include some veggies. There are 130
recipes, enough to try a different one each day this
dessert is the perfect showcase for the peak of the strawberry
crop. The burst of berry flavor with the crunch
of the meringue, make for a sweet ending. The
meringue base is a lighter alternative than a shortcake biscuit, and
may be prepared ahead of time. The assembly is
accomplished quickly while the dinner dishes are being cleared from
the table. Your favorite vanilla ice cream would
easily fit in as one of the lovely layers!
Click here to view the full
here for a printable version
of the recipe.
commercial concoctions that may have unknown sweeteners
and components, a homemade smoothie tastes real because it is
real! Smoothies provide the perfect
opportunity to improvise and experiment. You'll
discover your favorite mixes of ingredients along the
way. Begin the summer enjoying Strawberry
Smoothies, then, follow the season's harvests.
Midsummer will bring cherries, peaches, apricots, followed by
late raspberries, blueberries, then grapes and apples.
The freshness of fruit, the protein strength of the milk, and
the icy coolness make for a perfect summertime
Click here to view the full
here for a printable version