Monday, April 4, 2011

Fresh Picked Strawberries!

 There's nothing like fresh picked strawberries!  Look at those beautiful berries!  We came home from the local farm with almost five pounds of strawberries...fresh picked by Little Man, C and I.  Strawberry picking is so much fun.  It's all about picking out the perfect berry...and we picked out a ton of them.  With all these strawberries laying around, I had to get a little creative in how to use them before they spoiled.  Besides just eating them straight from the bucket (which we have done our fair share of), I've also whipped up a few new strawberry creations for us to try.  I'm a HUGE fan of the strawberry, it might be my favorite fruit!  Any time I can scoop up fresh strawberries, I do...then I start the experiments!  So far this week, I have made Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream, Balsamic Strawberries and Strawberry Cupcakes!  And I'm here to share all of the recipes with you today!  It is most definitely your Lucky Day! :)

 Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
2 cups fresh strawberries
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop red food coloring

Place strawberries in food processor and blend until smooth.  In your ice cream canister, mix strawberries with remaining ingredients.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Freeze according to your ice cream mixer directions.  **Obviously all ice cream makers are a little different.  We have a Sunbeam Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Maker that works just fine for us.  Nothing fancy, makes just enough for a few days!  It usually takes it about 18-25 minutes to mix and then you store it in the freezer for a few hours to harden.  Oh, and this recipe came from the "users guide" for the machine!**

Fresh strawberry ice cream is my signal that summer is on the way.  I can honestly say that I've had the ice cream mixer since before C and I got married (5 1/2 years ago) and didn't use it once until last summer.  I found it stashed away in our kitchen cabinets and it has since become my new summer friend!  This recipe is so fluffy and creamy, and just the right sweetness!  Yum, whip some up the next time you see some really great strawberries!

Experiment #2:  I will have to say that I was a little leery of this next recipe.  I only sliced up about a cup of the strawberries just in case we didn't like the recipe.  Well guess what, we did like them and wished I had made a few more.  This recipe is so unconventional and not something I would ever think to make, but I'm in a creative mood and couldn't resist.  Trust me, the ingredient list sounds very weird but you need to try these!
 Balsamic Strawberries
Adapted from: Ina Garten
1 cup strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of fresh black pepper

Combine all ingredients and let set at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour!  That's it, so simple.  So irresistibly delicious!

And for my GRAND FINALE!
Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
 Sprinkles Recipe from Martha Stewart
For the Cupcakes:
2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.  With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.  Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
Yields: 12 delightful cupcakes
Oh me, oh my!  I've made some really good cupcakes lately, but these take the cake!  Seriously, pardon my terrible pun, but it's true!  The fresh strawberries in this recipe are so light and fresh!  They really make these cupcakes outstanding!  I've never been a huge fan of fruit flavored cupcakes, but these little babies convinced me that fruit and cake can coexist peacefully.  Can you see the strawberry flecks in the frosting?  Pureeing these before mixing them in is the right thing to do.  You get all the great flavor and the pretty color, but you don't have massive chunky frosting!  These are quite possibly my new favorite least until I find my next experiment!  I have a feeling I'll be making a lot more of these.  Especially if we keep picking strawberries five pounds at a time! :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails