The Cookbook: Strawberries are perfect this time of year
My very favorite time of the year is late spring, early summer. I love waking up in the morning to hear the variety of birds singing. I enjoy the smell and various colors, of the flowers and trees waking up after a long cold winter. Yes, I am definitely not a winter person. So when spring arrives, my mood springs forward, too. Everything feels new, fresh and alive.
With late spring and early summer, many fresh fruits and vegetables are grown and available. We are in the prime of fresh strawberry season. Those bright red, succulent berries can be found in many markets. If you are energetic and have time you can pick your own at a local strawberry farm.
Strawberries are a very healthy fruit, one of the best fruit sources of antioxidant's Vitamin C and a mineral, manganese. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. They may help to lower total cholesterol and LDL, the bad cholesterol; lower blood pressure; and reduce plaque formation in the arteries which leads to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis leads to high blood pressure and heart disease. Therefore strawberries are very good food to eat.
One of my favorite markets to stop in on my way home from work is Frey's on route 241 or 1874 Colebrook Road in Lebanon. It is across the road from Frey's nursery. Frey's market is owned and operated by Dennis and Becky Frey. Dennis said his parents, Harold and Ruth Frey, began the business years ago on a table selling produce. It then expanded to a shed about 12 feet by 12 feet. The business grew into the building across the street where produce and plants were sold. Eventually as the business expanded Dennis moved across the street to sell produce and other items. His brother Les stayed and expanded the greenhouse.
Dennis and Becky met in 1987 and married in 1990. Dennis said Frey's Market is a family business. They do hire some additional help.
When you walk into this country style market, you are greeted by Becky Frey. She is very helpful and friendly. Frey's has a variety of fruits and vegetables locally grown. Right now, you can find luscious strawberries in the market along with other fruits and vegetables. Soon, my favorite berry, blueberries will arrive, along with corn on the cob and other summer produce.
An interesting main dish recipe and healthy one is Pan-seared Chicken with Strawberry Salsa. On a nice day, I world make the chicken on the grill and not use oil. If pan-searing it I would use olive oil. This dish can be served with brown rice and a mixed baby greens salad with a sweet and sour homemade dressing or Strawberry dressing. Add some sliced strawberries, almond, sliced sweet onion and a sprinkle of feta cheese to complete the salad.
I found on this recipe on the Internet, www.1mrecipes.Com.
I'm sure many of you remember Elby's Restaurant and their famous strawberry pie. Years ago, in my Mom's Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1976 I found a very good and easy recipe for a similar pie, Strawberry Glaze Pie. You can use any cooked 9-inch pie crust. I have used regular crusts, graham cracker ready-made crust, and cookie crusts. You can top with homemade whipped cream, cool whip, or refrigerated canned whipped cream. Add the whipped cream just before serving. This can really add to the strawberry theme of the meal.
Another pie recipe to try is Strawberry Cream Pie. This recipe is very rich and combines strawberries and chocolate. I found this recipe on Facebook. It's from
Fresh Strawberry Pie
6 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
9 inch pastry crust of your choice
Combine 1 cup water with strawberries in saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Mash and put through sieve and save juice. Return juice to saucepan and add 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.
Place 2 1/2 cups strawberries into pastry crust and pour 1/2 of the sauce over. Repeat with the other 2 1/2 cups strawberries and remaining sauce.
Chill in refrigerator.
Before serving add whipped cream if desired.
Pan-seared or Grilled Chicken Breasts with Strawberry Salsa
4 boneless chicken breast halves
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon allspice or cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon canola or corn oil
1 cup strawberries, diced
1 medium poblano pepper, unseeded and diced (or ¾ medium green bell pepper, diced)
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro or fresh mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
In a small bowl, combine the paprika, allspice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spices over the smooth side of the chicken. Using your fingers, gently pat the spices so it sticks to the chicken. Let stand for 10 minutes
In a medium bowl, stir together the salsa ingredients. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure to swirl the oil so it covers the bottom of the skillet.
Cook the chicken with the smooth side down for 4 minutes. Turn it over and cook the other side for about 2 to 4 minutes.
Serve hot with the salsa.
STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE
The combination of fresh strawberries and chocolate is sure to be a family favorite!
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, divided
3 cups half-and-half
6 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (9-oz.) package chocolate wafer cookies
1/2 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 qt. fresh strawberries
1/4 cup red currant jelly
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients and 2/3 cup sugar in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl; gradually add to cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl; cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse wafer cookies and chopped chocolate in a food processor 8 to 10 times or until finely crushed. Stir together cookie crumb mixture, melted butter, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar; firmly press mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
5. Spoon chilled half-and-half mixture into prepared crust. Cut 8 to 10 strawberries in half, and arrange around outer edge of pie (leaving tops on, if desired); hull and slice remaining strawberries, and arrange in center of pie.
6. Cook jelly in a small saucepan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. Remove from heat, and stir in liqueur. Brush jelly mixture gently over strawberries. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Fresh Strawberry Dressing
Pureed strawberries make a distinctive base for a colorful, creamy salad dressing. And you still get the fruit's benefits, like fiber and vitamin C.
1 cup strawberries, (6 large berries), rinsed, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond oil, (see Note) or olive oil
Place strawberries, vinegar, pepper, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor; process until pureed, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Add oil and process until smooth.
Note: Almond oil is an unrefined oil pressed from almonds. You can find it in many supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store it in the refrigerator.
My Dressing Recipe
Sweet and sour
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
¼- ½ cup sugar, maple syrup, or Agave
1 teaspoon dried mustard or 2 teaspoons mustard of your choice
1 teaspoon dried onion
1- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)
Mix all ingredients well. Store in refrigerator.
Frey's Farm Market
Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
Contact: Dennis Frey
1874 Colebrook Road, Lebanon, PA 17042
Phone: (717) 272-6342
Our market is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. At our farm market you will find fresh home grown produce, sugar peas, snap and shell peas, strawberries, spring onions, rhubarb, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, winter squash, pumpkins, and gourds.
We also have available blueberries, raspberries, peaches, potatoes, local baked pies, cookies, and shortcakes. We have a good selection of hand made brooms.
Many of our products are available for wholesale.
Memorial Day until Labor Day
8:30 - 5:30 Monday-Friday