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strawberry

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Is there anything better in the summer than homemade ice cream? When it’s topped with seasonal berries, I think not.

Heaven in a bowl. Spoon, please.

Summer Berries

This past weekend, my roommate and I got the ice cream machine churning with not just one, but TWO coconut ice cream creations. (You can find the other recipe here: Vegan Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries.)

Afterward, my roommate declared, “I think I actually like coconut ice cream better than the regular kind.”

I may have to agree. Although, this roasted strawberry-fennel combination could be skewing my opinion. These two vibrant ingredients are a match made to be. Yum.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Fennel has a mild licorice-like flavor that adds that refreshing punch of flavor you get from an herb, yet without becoming overpowering like often happens with herbs. This is good news, since the real star in this ice cream should be the strawberries.

Caramelized in the oven so that their flavors condense, strawberries take on a new and appreciated meaning once roasted. The fennel allows for this sweet flavor to shine, while acting as the perfect, complimenting partner in crime. Teamwork.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel

This recipe’s not vegan like the other one, but you could certainly omit the eggs if you wish. They are there to amp up the creaminess that’s already inherent in the coconut milk. Without the eggs, you’ll achieve an ice cream that’s still creamy on its own, but will be slightly more condensed upon removing from the freezer. The solution? Simply let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. That little bit of melt will revive the cream of the coconut.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Do you have a favorite ice cream recipe? I’m in the market for something chocolaty and/or peanut buttery, but am also loving the uniqueness of various herbs/spices. Would love to hear what you’re coming up with!
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Kale and Strawberry Salad over Bulgur Wheat

Kale and Strawberry Salad

Strawberry picking in the city is a funny thing. Or I guess I should technically say just outside the city – the ‘burbs.

You see, where I grew up, when you wanted to pick fruit, you drove to the local farm. You’d stop and say hello with one of the old-timers, who was of course part of the family farm. Usually, he be missing a few teeth. Always, he’d be armed with directions to the sweetest patch of fruit. He’d give you a basket or box to go pick, and then you’d be on your way.

It was always a swell time.

Kale and Strawberry Salad

In (or just outside) the city, it’s certainly a swell time, too. But the scene looks a little (and by that I mean a lot) different.

When you roll up to the ‘burbs farm, or at least the one I recently visited, you find not old geezers hanging around in their holey shirts and overalls. Nope. Instead, you find a parking lot packed with 200+ cars. I kid you not.

You also find kids. And cameras. And hot dog stands. And maybe even a carnival ride. Not sure if that last part actually existed where I went, but there was definitely some kind of train riding and face painting action going on, and I felt as though I might as well have been at a carnival. Although again, the only thing that was missing was the guys with no teeth.

What really set the experience apart, however, was the part where I had to pay $5 before even going to pick the strawberries I dreamt about all morning. Pay-before-you-pick? City picking isn’t cheap, I tell you. In fact, you might be better off just buying a few pints at the store. But that’s obviously no fun, right? It’s okay. I ate my weight in strawberries while out in the field to make up for it.

Kale and Strawberry Salad

I left my gorging-on-strawberries, red-stained, kid-like self in the strawberry field, and decided to become an adult again once I returned home. The results are this salad.

After this, I can tell you for once, I feel okay about getting older. Strawberries in my kale salad? Heck, I’ll call myself an adult any day if that’s what comes from it. Just don’t quote me on that when I’m eating a large bowl of strawberries and ice cream for dessert. And the strawberry juice is running all down my face. Because I’m licking the bowl. Because I’m a kid. At heart.

A little salty (thank you feta), a little sweet (cheers to local strawberry season), and a little earthy (thank you almighty kale), this salad hits every note in all the right ways. Plate it up over cooked bulgur to make it a meal, or send it off to a picnic and become the star of the party.  It won’t let you down – even if your strawberry experience is a bit more dubious.

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Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

I said on FoodFitnessFreshAir’s Facebook page that I’m taking a little break from recipe development. When summer’s showering the garden in red, all I want to eat are tomato sandwiches. Nothing fancy. A little mayo, salt and pepper, maybe some lettuce and/or basil. A fresh garden salad thrown on the side, and I’ve found food heaven, within just the 10 minutes it takes to slice, toast and take a first bite.

As Katie from Eclectik Domestic pointed out, this could mean I may never return to developing recipes…Because really, who ever gets sick of tomato sandwiches in the summer? Not this girl. Good thing there are multiple meals in the day. Rest assured, eventually I’ll save the no-cook meals for lunch and start churning out new creations again.

In the meantime, my mom’s holding me over with this killer Blueberry Strawberry Crisp she whipped up for my birthday last week. (Yes, I turned the ripe age of 23! Whatever that means.)

My sister’s been getting into the cake business, making these elaborate trillion-layer cakes at any opportunity she can get. When I turned down her offer to create one for my birthday, she was slightly crushed. It’s not that I don’t love my sister’s dreamy, mousse-filled, icing deco cakes, because I do. But when summer hits, I want seasonal fruit with a chill side of straight up vanilla ice cream. My mom fulfilled that, and then some, with this crisp.

You’ll find that blueberries make up the bulk of the filling, letting just a few, slightly more tart strawberries sweep in to balance out their sweetness. I know strawberries are on their way out, so feel free to use nectarines, peaches or any other suitable, seasonal partner in crime. My mom had some strawberries frozen from an earlier, orchard-picking trip, so that’s what went into this particular pie pan.

Birthday or not, this is a real summer celebration. As are tomato sandwiches. Pair the two together, and you’ll create the picnic party of the year. For real.

Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

After a successful batch of strawberry-basil muffins, I decided I needed to use that flavor combo again. And again. And again. So, following a trip to my local strawberry patch, I was back at it. This time with strawberry basil lemonade (along with some mint thrown in there too for fresh measure).

Honestly, I’m not a huge lemonade fan. All the sugar takes the fun out of lemons for me. I like making funny faces upon their tartness, and shocking my tastebuds with their startling sourness. I also enjoy dousing my salads with vinegar, and for those of you who do to, I bet you can relate here.

When I order lemonade out, whether it’s homemade or not, it’s generally hard for me to tell whether there’s actually lemon juice in it or not. This is especially true for the strawberry variety. And don’t even get me started on that pseudo, crappy powdery kind.

Hence, lemonade is a rare occurrence in my diet. That’s not to say, however, I don’t find the thought of a cold cup of it to sound incredibly refreshing. What could be more elegant and alluring than a tall, iced glass of Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade? With a splash of vodka (..ahem, use responsibly), even better.

Strawberries and Basil

So, I set out to make my own. Don’t worry, it won’t make you pucker until your eyes bulge out. In fact, it likely won’t make you wince at all. However, this is no sugar water. Instead, this lemonade is packed with taste. I’m talking basil, mint, and the actual fresh flavors found in strawberries and lemons. (You know, the real fruit flavors you should find in every glass of lemonade!) Feel free to add a splash of vodka, but I’m warning you. This is an incredible flavor-masker, so while the lemon flavor will be evident, the alcohol flavor may be not. It will, however, make for quite the refreshing summer cocktail. Enjoy.

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Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Sometimes you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to quit that job that’s ruining your life. Or hop on a plane and go explore the world. Or kiss that someone you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Or say yes to the one you’ve loved so long. Life is an experiment. If you’re not kicking off your safety shoes from time to time and moving beyond your comfort zone, then I say you’re not really living.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta take a leap of faith. And sometimes you’ve gotta throw the basil in your strawberry muffin batter.

When the results turn out well, then here you are, on Earth, to tell about them.

Basil and strawberries are a combination in which I’ve grown quite fond. I know their sweetness and mintiness compliment one another and that I generally enjoy them when they’re hanging out in the same space. Pairing them with chocolate, however, and packaging it all in a muffin was an upshot I couldn’t predict. But as I said, taking chances can be fun, especially in the kitchen. So that’s what I did. I took a chance and threw the basil into the batter. Fortunately, I loved the results.

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

These aren’t overly sweet, so the chocolate doesn’t act as overkill or even seem strange next to a bite of basil. Instead, it plays up the sweetness of the strawberries, and then the basil sweeps in for a clean finish. I really love the complexity of this muffin. You’ll get a wide range of complimentary flavors that all come together for a unique and exciting bite. I’d like to try turning this into some kind of cake because I am totally dreaming of serving it up with a sweet scoop of vanilla ice cream. Though I suppose you could do that with these too.

Feel free to use all whole grain flour, but expect a denser turnout. To yield a moister, lighter muffin, go half and half, as in the recipe below.

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