Easy Red, White and Blueberry Parfait

July4

Red-White-and-Blueberry-Parfait-Sparkler-461x480This is a super easy no-bake dessert for your 4th of July celebration… and it’s pretty patriotic, too: Red (Raspberries), White (Angel Food Cake) and Blueberries between thick layers of whipped cream.

Hard to give you an exact recipe for this because a lot depends on the size of the berries you choose and how small you cut the angel food cake. You don’t even need to use the little jars… but I did because they were cute and easy to store. Save the box the jars come in… it makes it easier to keep them together.

One huge tip: Really pack the parfait layers together. “Contents may settle” (as they say on the side of cereal boxes), and you want all that deliciously sweet berry juice to soak into the light and fluffy angel food cake.

So give this super easy no-bake dessert a try for your 4th of July celebration. Hey, this is so simple to put together, get the kids to help… it’s your holiday, too!

 

 

 

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust (and Tutorial!)

June6

This is sweet seduction: Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust.

The strawberries you’ll find in markets at this time of the year are different from the strawberries you ate a month ago. Why? Because now they taste like REAL strawberries. Sweet. Succulent. Seductive.

Chocolate and strawberries are a natural combo, so I used chocolate wafer cookies to make the crust. You can also use graham crackers or shortbread if you prefer. I folded the strawberry puree into pillows of whipped egg white so the pie is light and airy. I’ve included a step-by-step tutorial after the main recipe.

Just make sure you buy locally grown strawberries. If the package says the strawberries were picked in another country, put them back and wait a few weeks longer. Fresh strawberries are in season… succumb to the sweet seduction.

 

Tutorial: Deep-Dish Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust 

1. Gather your ingredients: 1 package chocolate wafer cookies; 1⅓ cup sugar, divided; ⅓ cup melted butter; 1 lb. strawberries, divided; 1 envelope gelatin; ¾ cup cold water; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; ⅛ teaspoon salt; 2 egg whites

Ingredients Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

2. Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

 

3. Crush cookies and ⅓ cup sugar in a food processor.

Crush Cookie Wafers. Blend with sugar

 

4. Transfer crumb mixture to a large bowl and add the melted butter. I don’t add the butter to the food processor because it can get clumpy.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

 

5. Press the crumb mixture into the deep-dish pie pan, including the sides (your crust will be thick). Bake 8 to 10 minutes; remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

 

6. Remove the stems from the strawberries. Place 12 ounces of the strawberries (about ¾ of all the strawberries) and ½ cup sugar into a food processor and purée; set aside.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

7. Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle on gelatin; soften for 5-minutes.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

8. Add remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt to saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until sugar dissolves (don’t boil!). Pour gelatin mixture into a large mixing bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.

pic collage

9. Pour strawberry mixture from food processor into cooled gelatin; stir and set aside.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust
10. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

Beat Egg Whites until stiff but not dry11. Fold egg whites into strawberry mixture.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

 

12. Keep folding until the egg whites are incorporated into the strawberry mixture. It will be liquidy.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

13. Pour into baked chocolate piecrust. Use a spatula to remove all the eggs whites from the bowl.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust
14. Garnish with remaining 4 ounces of strawberries (you can slice them, or just put them on whole).

Slice strawberries for garnish SCP

 

15. Chill pie for at least 3 hours.

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Crust

 



 

Plated + Served: Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

June14

Strawberries. Keep it simple.

A dollop of whipped cream. A dip in chocolate. Or, my favorite, strawberries with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

The rich, slightly biting flavor of a really good aged balsamic vinegar pairs beautifully with the gentle sweetness of fresh strawberries (especially if they are locally grown).

This is a really different kind of appetizer (but incredibly easy). If you want to really step out, call it an amuse bouche and serve it at the beginning of your next dinner party. 

Easy. Delicious. Simple. Three go-to words for strawberries (and the summer).

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar CU

Extra Helpings: Strawberries

June12

Strawberries at this time of year are little weapons of seduction.

Allow me to explain.

All year we eat strawberries… strawberries that look good, but really only taste, well, okay. But we go ahead and buy them anyway, because they remind us of something bright and warm and wonderful, something hard to pinpoint, but something we desperately want to feel again.

Strawberries1

Then, the first REAL strawberries of the season arrive… and it all comes rushing back: the sweet taste of summer. The lovely promise that the next few months will be as bright and beckoning as this bite. Happiness.

Farmers’ market tables are heavy with just-picked strawberries right now. If you shop in supermarkets that carry locally grown produce, you’ll find these luscious natural treats as well. You can thank the unseasonably cool weather for the bounty.

Here are a few strawberry buying tips and facts to help you select the best:

• Look for plump strawberries that are evenly colored with soft, green, leafy tops.

• Avoid those that have soft spots or are bruised.

• Smaller strawberries tend to be sweeter… bigger is not always better.

• Look at the bottom of the strawberry container before you buy it. If it is heavily stained or the strawberries looked smashed, put it back.

• Gently clean unhulled strawberries with a mushroom brush or a damp paper towel.

• Strawberries are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients.

• Strawberries spoil quickly, so eat them within a day or two.

If you have more berries than you can eat right away, place all the unwashed, unhulled strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cover with another paper towel and refrigerate. Eat as soon as possible.

All year we eagerly wait for so many things… some of which are worth it, and others not so much. Fresh strawberries? Definitely worth the wait.

Strawberries2

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com