Easy Berry Cobbler

I found this remarkable easy cobbler recipe at Divas Can Cook and was so surprised by how delicious it was and that the ingredients include only what you typically have in your pantry. The original recipe is for strawberry cobbler, but I’ve made this with every type of berry (sometimes, even a mixture of berries). Using fresh berries is best, but even frozen berries can be used to make this an easy dessert you can whip up year-round.

hands holding strawberries credit Julia A Reed

photo credit Julia A Reed

Easy Berry Cobbler
Adapted from Divas Can Cook
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh berries, diced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • ½-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
 blueberries credit Molly Drummondgolden raspberries in hand
 photo credit Molly Drummond
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish
  3. In a medium bowl, mix strawberries and sugar, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  5. Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter evenly into greased dish.
  7. Spoon berries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.
  8. Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
  9. Serve warm or cold. Even better with a little ice cream 😉

Feature image photo credit Julia A Reed

July Strawberry Salad

Each year I look forward to strawberry season with eager anticipation. Upper Valley strawberries are so juicy and sweet – there is nothing like them! Picking these little red treasures at a U-pick farm means a fun family activity and a provides the perfect opportunity to visit a beautiful farm. Several Upper Valley farms are growing everbearing strawberries which means we get to enjoy fresh strawberries June-September!

Strawberries are so versatile, that they often show up in fruit salad or smoothies for breakfast, pies or cakes for dessert, straight out of the colander for snacking, and as an interesting addition the salads. A great way to combine three things that are in abundance in early July – basil, cucumbers, and strawberries – is this refreshing salad.

Although, this salad isn’t something you want to make ahead of time or keep for leftovers, it is a quick and easy side salad that marries the freshest things of the season.

Strawberry, Cucumber, and Basil Salad

Adapted from Cooking Light

strawberry, cuke, basil

Combine in a serving bowl and mix gently:

 

1 pint hulled strawberries, chilled and quartered

1 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

 

Toss in a small bowl:

 

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

pinch of salt and pepper

 

Combine strawberry and cucumber mixtures and toss. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Photo credit Julia A Reed

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Apples often steal the crisp scene in the fall. But berry crisps as just as good and make for a quick, but impressive summer dessert any evening. And that’s especially true with this technique. Like the other strawberry and rhubarb recipes this week, I give you another cheat recipe. If you’ve already made your batch of compote earlier this week, you’re already good to go. In fact, this is a double cheat recipe, though no one is going to know the difference.

Since you already have your compote, that drastically reduces the cook time here and that’s the first cheat. Even if you need to make the compote when you go to make the crisp, it’s still going to take less time in the long run – so either way you’re beating the traditional crisp system. And, with a big batch of the compote, you know there is also this idea and this one to put it to good use.

The second big thing here, is that you use granola for your crisp’s topping. Yup, that’s right. And no one will know the difference. If you think about it, granola is very similar to the topping of a crisp, so why not take advantage of that fact?Of course, use a high quality (or homemade) variety that you enjoy. This isn’t supposed to be an inferior crisp imitation by any means, just a quicker approach to an equally good end product.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 6

Try this granola cheat method with any kind of crisp.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the broiler to low.
  2. Make the compote, if you haven’t already.
  3. Spread the compote into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Cover with the granola.
  5. Put under the broiler for about 10 minutes until the granola starts to turn slightly brown and aromatic.
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Leek Quesadillas

Strawberries and leeks? Yes, that’s right. An unlikely pairing perhaps, but one that totally works. I am more than a little amped to stockpile fresh strawberries and use them in new and interesting ways, like this.

Strawberries are one of the first fruits of the season in VT and young, tender leeks should start hitting the market. If you can’t find leeks just yet, try any other mild onion. Scallions or chives could work well here.

Find out which farms offer pick your own strawberries. It’s a good opportunity to get out there and enjoy a sunny day. Our Valley Food & Farm Guide can point you in the right direction.

You’ll want to slice, wash and then chop your leeks. While making these for high school students a couple weeks ago, I was shocked that almost none of them could describe a leek! Though I wonder if I could at that age, either…

Then saute them down until they’re soft and slightly browned. Meanwhile, start slicing the strawberries.

Get your cheese, cilantro and black pepper ready to go. Making a quesadilla is kind of like making a stir fry – you want everything ready to get in the pan at about the same time.

Side note: I recommend sticking with a quick melting, gooey cheese like mozzarella. I tried goat cheese and found it hardly melted down. I then tried cheddar and there wasn’t that beautiful binding quality either.

Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil, heat the pan to high heat, then add, in this order: one tortilla, the cheese, the cooked leeks, the strawberries, the cilantro, pepper and second tortilla. Cook about 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula and cook the other side another 3 minutes or so, until the tortilla is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.

Combine with a salad and you’ve got yourself a quick dinner.

Strawberry and Leek Quesadillas

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 + quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, light green and white portion only
  • A handful of rinsed and hulled strawberries
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice your leek in half lengthwise. Thoroughly rinse the layers then thinly slice into small pieces.
  2. Saute the leek in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook until soft and slightly browned.
  3. While the leeks cook, slice the strawberries.
  4. Get all of the ingredients ready to go.
  5. Heat a clean pan with just a slight coating oil. Then add the ingredients in this order: tortilla, cheese, cooked leeks, strawberries, cilantro, pepper and second tortilla.
  6. Cook the first side for 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula and cook the second side for another 3 minutes. The tortillas should be nicely browned and cheese completely melted.
  7. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

The pairing of strawberry and rhubarb is classic. The tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the strawberries creates the perfect balance for many early summer dishes. This compote is the base for several varying uses that I’ll be posting on. A compote might sound fancy, but it’s simply fruit cooked down with sugar.

If you can get your hands on some local strawberries and rhubarb, do so and make this. Right now. Even if you don’t use it now, freeze it and you’ll have it ready to go. Neither fruit (though rhubarb is commonly used as a fruit, it is actually a vegetable – think celery) has a long season and you don’t want to miss out on all that you can do with this perfect pair.

Wash, hull and chop your strawberries.

Prep your rhubarb by rinsing and chopping into small, 1/2 inch pieces.

A few notes on rhubarb:

  • Look for bright colored, firm stalks.
  • Fresh rhubarb shouldn’t be stored for too long. If you’re not going to use it right away – freeze it. Chop into small pieces, blanch (cook for 2 minutes in boiling water then immediately cool in ice water), and freeze.
  • Older stalks may need a little peeling of their fibrous outer strings.
  • Rhubarb leaves are toxic! Don’t eat them!
  • Rhubarb contains a good amount of Vitamin C, Calcium, potassium and fiber.
  • I thought I didn’t like rhubarb until I recently gave it another chance, starting with this recipe.

Place the prepared strawberries and rhubarb in a pan over medium high heat. Within a few minutes they should release a large amount of juice. Add sugar, and flavorings of choice and continue cooking until the rhubarb is soft.

Give it a taste, add more sugar, if needed, and it’s ready to go. That’s all there is too it. The uses are infinite. You could use it to top:

  • A cake
  • Ice cream
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Pancakes or waffles

Or look for one of my suggested uses in future posts.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 1 lb. rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar, (more or less, if needed)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Additional flavorings such as vanilla and nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Rinse, hull and chop the strawberries. Reserve a handful.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and lemon zest to a large pan
  4. Cook, stirring, until juices are release 2-3 minutes.
  5. Simmer 5 minutes or so until rhubarb is tender.
  6. Add in reserved strawberries.
  7. Add flavorings, if desired.

 

A Strawberry Rhubarb Beverage

While making the strawberry rhubarb compote recently, I thought I was pretty clever. For whichever use I had intended for the deliciously sweet fruit mixture – I’ve tried making it in so many ways recently, I’ve lost track – I found myself with way too much liquid. Both the strawberries and rhubarb give off a ton of their flavor this way when cooking. So I drained off the excess and thought – why not use it to sweeten a beverage? Because really, it’s pretty much a flavored simple syrup but with mostly natural fruit sugar.

I looked to my meager bar supply and thought gin would be a good pairing. And it was. I enjoy a good gin and tonic in the warm months and this addition was excellent. Though I wasn’t the only one with this thought. NPR just featured a rhubarb cocktail – except, to their error, without the strawberry aspect. Other sites offered similar ideas as well, but I didn’t see any where they were also utilizing the cooked fruit. As long as you’re not straining out every ounce of moisture from the compote – and how much you drain is dependent on your intended use – you’ve got yourself one great drink for nothing.  You can thank me later.

A Strawberry Rhubarb Beverage

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Skip the gin for a non-alcoholic, yet still delicious version. Or use fresh lemonade in place of the water.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces drained syrup from the Strawberry rhubarb compote
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 6 ounces tonic water or club soda
  • Lime quarters
  • Strawberries (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a tall glass, combine the syrup, gin and ice. Squeeze in some lime juice then stir everything together. Garnish with a strawberry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

If I had to pick just one of my slightly unhealthy food weaknesses to share with you, it would be ice cream.

I blame my grandfather. His freezer is stocked with at least two quarts of the stuff at all times. As a kid, I knew a cone would usually be involved in every visit. Though, unlike my grandfather, I enjoy actually all kinds of flavors – not just chocolate. And at some point, I convinced myself if I sometimes opted for frozen yogurt instead, it would actually be a healthy choice.

 In some cases perhaps that’s true. But much of the frozen yogurt in stores is still loaded with sugar, unfortunately. Even worse, most times it’s not even actually sugar, but high fructose corn syrup. Or, there are just a ton of undecipherable ingredients listed on the package, as is the case with most processed food. Try finding an ice cream or frozen yogurt made up of just the ingredients you’d expect (or want) to find. Good luck, because there are very few.

When summer comes, I’m much more apt to make my own. With fresh produce, it’s fun to make interesting combinations. One of my favorite is steeping mint leaves in my yogurt or cream then adding in chocolate. And more importantly, I know exactly what I’m eating.

When I moved out of my parents’ house I took with me this ice cream maker someone had gifted our family years ago. It remained largely unused but I insisted on saving it anyway. I really don’t like collecting appliances with just one use, but this one is the exception. I see them at yard sales all the time for a few bucks.

On the other hand, it’s not too difficult to make your own frozen confection without one. Pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz outlines a stir and freeze method here and The Kitchn has additional idea here. It’s really pretty accessible. Just takes a bit of stirring or creativity.

This simple mix of yogurt and sweetener can be the frozen base for any combination of ingredients. Here, I fold in the strawberry rhubarb compote and it couldn’t be much simpler. Do you have a favorite kind of ice cream or frozen yogurt you like to make? Share your ideas.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 pints/1 quart

Use this sweetened yogurt base for your favorite frozen combinations.

Ingredients

  • 1 quart yogurt (keep in mind that the variety, fat content and style, such as Greek, will impact the end flavor. In other words, use what you already enjoy)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 batch of strawberry rhubarb compote

Instructions

  1. Make the strawberry rhubarb compote and let cool.
  2. Drain off some of the liquid from the compote and save for another use.
  3. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and honey. You can use more, less, or other sweeteners altogether if you’d like.
  4. Add the yogurt to the frozen drum of your maker – if using a maker – and let run for about 20-25 minutes, until thick. If not using, you might want to add the compote in at this point depending on the directions of your preferred method.
  5. When the yogurt is thickened, fold in the compote.
  6. Let freeze for as long as you like. If you want a soft serve and are going to be eating right away, you probably don’t need to freeze at all. For a harder consistency, transfer to a storage container and let freeze for at least an hour.

Notes

When storing homemade ice cream, it’s important to cover the top with plastic wrap in order to keep fresh – even when storing in a sealed container.