Revel In Sweet, Succulent June Bearers
This year is a banner one for berries, and my little deck garden is overflowing with fat, flavorful fruit. Between our island favorite Marshalls, our extra-early Rainiers, and the tiny, exquisite alpines, we eat strawberries every day. If our homegrown ones aren’t enough, the local farmers market has plenty. Nothing tastes better than plump and fragrant strawberries, warm from the sun and picked just moments before you eat them.
A few days ago, we had a glut of gorgeous, dead-ripe Marshalls, and my inventive housemate made incredibly delicious tacos with them. Here’s my version:
Chicken Tacos With Strawberries and Lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 yellow corn tortillas
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ancho pepper, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced, rind grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound skinless, boneless organic chicken, chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
2 cups cooked white beans
In a wide, shallow pan, quickly toast tortillas in oil over medium high heat, set aside. Add onion, shallots, sprinkle with salt and cook for 3 minutes. Add pepper, lime rind and chicken, cover pan and cook until chicken reaches 165 F (10-12 minutes), stirring often. Toss shredded cabbage and strawberries with lime juice, set aside. Add beans to chicken, reduce heat to low and heat through (5 minutes). Fill folded tortillas with cabbage and chicken mixtures and serve warm. Serves at least one.
Summery Shrimp & Strawberry Salad
Equally quick and beautiful is Shrimp and Cantaloupe Salad With Spicy Strawberry Dressing. Mixed greens are tossed with diced cantaloupe and sizzling garlic shrimp, then topped off with a tart and tangy strawberry dressing that’s lively with cilantro and fresh lime juice.
Shrimp and Cantaloupe Salad
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
3 big cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Walla-Walla Sweet onion
1 cup blueberries
6 cups mixed greens
1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup Spicy Strawberry Dressing
1/4 cup cilantro, stemmed
In a heavy frying pan, heat oil with garlic and jalapeno pepper over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Turn shrimp and cook until opaque (1-2 minutes). Add onion and blueberries and cook for 2 minutes. Toss greens with cantaloupe and arrange on 4 dinner plates. Top each serving with shrimp and drizzle with Spicy Strawberry Dressing. Serve at once, garnished with cilantro. Serves four.
A Light, Refreshing Dressing
Bright, tangy, and oil-free, this spunky, pretty dressing is awesome spooned over grilled fish, steamed broccoli, or mixed greens.
Spicy Strawberry Dressing
1 cup strawberries, mashed
1 small shallot, minced
1 organic lime, juiced, rind grated
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mint, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
In a bender or food processor, combine strawberries, shallot, lime juice and rind, vinegar, mint, and salt and puree. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce and serve. Makes about 1-3/4 cups. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Goat Cheese With Strawberries and Fresh Herbs
Nutritious, flavorful, and easily digested by the lactose-intolerant, fresh goat cheese has about half the fat and nearly twice the protein of cream cheese. Besides, it tastes awesome! Serve this spread with thin wafers or nut-based crackers for a little more protein.
3-4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup ripe strawberries, hulled and mashed
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Gently blend all ingredients and chill for an hour or overnight. Serve with raw vegetables or crackers. Makes about 3/4 cup.