Classics, Dessert, Sweet

Strawberry Ice Cream

Back in 2018, my husband and I took a trip to England, and I learned that the Brits take their strawberries very seriously! Outside most of the tourist spots there were vendors selling fresh strawberries and cream.  To my surprise, the cream was not a carton of whipped cream, it was liquid cream, like the kind you put in your coffee!  You dip the fresh strawberry in the cream, and you have the most delicious and refreshing treat ever!  In addition to strawberries and cream, there were several opportunities to have local ice cream.  I had to try their strawberry ice cream and guess what? the flavor was so perfect and fresh that it tasted like the strawberries and cream snack!  Later I learned that this is such a quintessential English tradition that strawberries and cream are the traditional dessert of Wimbledon!  I guess when you are doing something since 1877, there must b something magical about it!  So, in honor of the start of Wimbledon (yes!!! after an entire year of COVID) here is a recipe for strawberry ice cream.  Make a pint and settle in for some good tennis, or any other summer activity of your choice—who am I to judge!

Ingredients:

32 ounces fresh strawberries (get the best possible strawberries you can find)

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 tablespoons of vodka

2 cups half and half

1/2 cup corn syrup

Method:

Hull and quarter 1 cup of strawberries, then slice quarters crosswise into very thin pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar and alcohol and let stand in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Hull remaining strawberries and purée at high speed in a blender until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to filter out all seeds and fibers, then measure and reserve 1 1/2 cups purée. Extra purée, if there is any, can be put to another use.  This can be done 1-2 days in advance.

In a clean mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups strawberry purée with half and half, corn syrup, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until fully combined.

Chill in refrigerator, I like to chill the base overnight—it the guess out of “how cold is your base?”  Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last minute of churning, retrieve strawberry mix-ins from the refrigerator, strain off syrup, and add mix-ins to the churn; reserve strawberry syrup for another use (think your favorite summer cocktail!).

Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Salad

Spinach Salad with a Strawberry, Basil, Red Wine reduction

I bought 2 lbs of strawberries and living by myself you only eat so many berries before they start taking a turn for the worse.  My solution to salvage fruit/veggies that could get spoiled, is to cook them.  They retain their flavor, its healthy and you won’t have to throw out food.  This is a warm reduction that you add to fresh baby spinach.  It’s a warm salad.  Feel free to add almonds, bacon bits, and even more fresh fruit like apples and pears.  Here goes.

Ingredients:

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp of fennel seeds

I medium onion sliced

1/2 cup red wine (any red wine–I normally use up half opened bottles)

sliced strawberries ( I had about 1.5 cups, use as much as you like, but keep in mind the more you use, the sweeter the reduction)

5-7 leaves of  fresh basil, sliced

Fresh cracked black pepper ( no salt).

Baby Spinach, enough to build a salad of your serving choice.

Method:

1.Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and when warm, add the fennel.  Stir for a few secs till fragrant and then add onions

2. Saute onions till pale and then add red wine and allow to reduce, stirring in between to prevent sticking to the bottom

3.  Add sliced strawberries and basil and allow to reduce.  The strawberry will cook down and the sugars will allow the onions to carmelize.

4. Taste the reduction, if it is too sweet, you can counter-act the sweetness with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.

5. Toss warm (not hot) reduction with baby spinach leaves and add freshly cracked black pepper.  I garnished with honeyed oats (granola would work too !!!)