If the weather holds up, this would be a great weekend to go strawberry picking. The Massachusetts strawberry crop is ready, so plan a trip to a local farm and "pick your own." A list of Massachusetts Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms is available on-line at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/strawberries_pyo.htm. The Massachusetts strawberry season typically lasts from the second week of June through Independence Day weekend.
Massachusetts boasts 267 acres of strawberries on 155 farms, according to the 2002 United States Agricultural Census.
Consider strawberry picking as a family at:
* Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick (http://www.lookoutfarm.com/)
* Tougas Family Farm in Northboro (http://www.tougasfarm.com/)
Both are advertisers of Bay State Parent magazine.
After picking strawberries with your kids, a great family outing or day trip idea; try making one of the three recipes below as a family. The recipes are provided by Sebastians Café and Catering. Established in 1994, the company has developed into a niche sized but diverse food service provider, offering a high quality dining experience to a wide range of clients in the corporate and distinctive catering, retail, and corporate dining arenas in Boston & New York.
Strawberry Frappe - serves 2
Ingredients: 1 cup nonfat yogurt,
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup (packed) fresh strawberry slices
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ice cubes
Method: Purée yogurt, milk, strawberries, and vanilla in blender until smooth. Add ice cubes; puree until mixture is thick and smooth. Divide between 2 glasses and serve.
Summer Strawberry and Spinach Salad - serves 6
12 cups Baby Spinach, washed
½ cup Almonds, sliced and toasted
3 cups Strawberries, washed and quartered
1 ½ cups Bleu Cheese
1 cup Yellow Bell Tomatoes, halved
4 oz. Balsamic Vinegar
½ tsp. Dijon Mustard
¼ clove fresh Garlic, minced
1 sprig Thyme, fresh and finely chopped
1 tsp. Granulated Sugar
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp. Salt and Pepper
Dressing Method: In a 4 quart bowl whisk in vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, and sugar. Slowly whisk in oil so that the oil and vinegar emulsifies. Season with 3 pinches salt and 1 pinch of black pepper.
Salad Method: Mix spinach with almonds, blue cheese and portion uniformly into each salad bowl. Add strawberries to salad and garish with bell tomatoes around the rim of salad bowl. Finish salad by drizzling dressing over salad.
Fresh Strawberry and Meyer Lemon Curd Crepe - makes 8 8 Crepes
7 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted, Cooled, Divided
1 Cup Whole Milk
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Large Eggs
6 Tablespoons Sugar, Divided
Meyer Lemon Curd Ingredients:
½ Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest plus ¾ cup of fresh lemon juice
1 Large Egg Yolk
1 Tablespoon unsalted Butter
3 Cups sliced Fresh Strawberries
Step One: Lemon Curd
Whisk together, sugar, flour, and salt in a sauce pan.
Add lemon juice, whisking until combined.
Bring to boil, whisk constantly, simmer, whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes
Remove from heat.
Whisk yolk in a small bowl, add a quarter of the lemon juice while whisking. Add remaining lemon juice mixture and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and lemon zest.
Transfer to a clean bowl and cover surface with buttered parchment paper
Step Two: Crepes
Reserve 1 tablespoon of butter for skillet
Blend milk, flour, eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter and ¼ teaspoon salt in blender until smooth. Chilled covered for 30 minutes
Brush non stick skillet with remaining butter and place on stove to medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of batter in pan and tilt to cover entire bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly golden, flip with spatula until just cooked on second side.
Remove to plate, hold warm
Repeat until all batter is utilized.
Step 3: Plating the crepe
Place crepe on 8" plate, spread 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Curd over the crepe, fold over (ensure lightly browned side is on the outside), repeat for remaining portions, spoon strawberries over crepes, dividing evenly. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
For more information on Sebastians Catering visit http://www.sebastians.com/Cafes/