When my father plays guitar, he sometimes sings a song called Strawberries!, singing, "Love has a fresh strawberry taste." I have the song in my head as I'm writing this, thinking about Nomi and Dina covered pink and red; hands, face and mouth stained with strawberry juice. Yesterday, we went to Altamont Orchards where they had Pick Your Own Strawberries for $2.09 per pound. We bought about 16 pounds, and our car smelled of sun warmed berries as we drove home, as did Nomi's hair as I lifted her from the car and carried her asleep up for her nap. Fifteen of the sixteen pounds have since been washed, hulled and frozen. We placed them on cookie sheets so that they would freeze individually instead of as one mass, transferring them to quart sized freezer bags once frozen. We will have them through the winter, defrosting a little bit of this sunny week in June as we need them.
I am excited for blueberry picking and freezing, and I have a lead on some raspberries. I am highly intimidated by the amount of pitting involved in cherry picking, so I think we will skip that for this year. I would love to try my hand at a berry jam, but canning seems like an overwhelming prospect for the time being, the upcoming heat wave, and for the age of my girls. By freezing the strawberries, I figure I have bought myself some time in which to find inspiration. Any ideas?
The remaining unfrozen pound of strawberries has ended up on the top of a frustrating batch of bread pudding. I was trying out a much more complicated recipe than my usual one, which is straight forward and delicious. I went to the trouble of bringing 8 eggs up to room temperature, separating the yolks from the whites, thoroughly drying out the challah and buying the required heavy cream (in lieu of my usual 2% milk substitution). Then, in one of my non-Martha Stewart moments, I forgot to add the especially purchased cream, thereby baking a custard recipe flat out 3 cups of liquid short. I hate it when I do things like that. I feel like a complete idiot. The resulting concoction is too strong for me, but Dave claims it tastes delicious with chocolate sauce. I argue, what doesn't?
The final dish of the day was another batch of Shanghai Golden Rice. The bi bim bap leftovers turned out to be perfect for such a foray. I used up the last of the scallions from week two's share, cracking an egg over my leftover rice, slicing the beef into bite size pieces and adding a good glug of sherry. I mixed it all together, and then cooked it over high heat in my favorite skillet with a good bit of olive oil. I kept it moving in the pan for about 10 minutes, until the rice became individual kernels again. It was simple and hearty.
I was feeling inspired, so I squeezed a little bit of lemon juice over my bowl. I don't know which ethnicity or cuisine this made my food, but it added brightness, creating a summer dish from a heavy fried rice. I figure I have officially joined the delicious melting pot/fruit salad that is the American Kitchen. I am loving it and am having so much fun. Huzzah, indeed.
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