Thursday, June 19, 2014

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry season is short. Oh, I know that I can buy those crunchy, tasteless, beautiful looking imported strawberries for many months of the year. I usually succumb once a year, then vow to never buy them again. Real strawberries are worth the wait: soft, juicy, impossibly sweet and flavorful.  And the scent - almost as sweet as the taste.

This tart showcases the best of local strawberries. There's little to distract from the intense berry flavor. A shortbread crust and some cream with a hint of lemon curd enhance the strawberry's true nature. This tart is best served the same day it's made, although if you have some leftover, it's not bad for breakfast. 

Strawberry Tart

1 baked and cooled shortbread crust (I used this recipe) in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd
fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried, stems removed (about 2 cups, plus extra for garnish)
4 Tablespoons peach jam 
fresh mint (for garnish and for chewing on)

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until soft peaks start to form. Add the lemon curd and continue whipping for 15-20 seconds until incorporated. The mixture should retain its shape when a spoon is dragged through it.
Spread 1/2 of the cream and curd mixture onto the crust. 
Cut the strawberries in half from top to bottom and lay them in concentric rows on top of the cream, beginning with the outside of the crust.

Heat the peach jam slightly and strain it to get about 2 tablespoons of peach jam liquid. Drizzle the liquid over the berries.

Spoon the remaining cream/curd mixture around the top of the tart. Use extra berries and fresh mint as a garnish. Place in the refrigerator and chill for an hour before serving.  

Crisp Vegetable Slaw

One of summer's delights is lots and lots of salads. Crisp, crunchy, fresh. I make them every day. The one thing I dislike is chopping cabbage. Actually, it's not the chopping I dislike, it's the clean up. Whether it's done in a food processor or on a cutting board, it makes a mess. All those little bits seem to fly everywhere and wiping them up gives me a feeling mildly related to nails on a chalkboard. Weird, I know. 

I do have to chop cabbage for this recipe, but not too much because the cabbage is on equal grounds with other vegetables. Snap peas, carrots, red pepper, radishes, and cabbage provide lots of color and texture. No onions in the mix because the onions are in the dressing which has a hint of sweetness, a hint of mustard and those onions. A few toasted almonds added just before serving add a final bit of crunch.

Get out a big chopping board and bowl and use your mad knife-wielding skills to make a salad that will delight your senses and keep for several days in the fridge. 

Crisp Vegetable Slaw

2 cups thinly sliced snap peas
2 cups chopped cabbage (I like to slice it thinly, then give it a rough chop with a big knife, resulting in narrow strands rather than an actual chop)
2 - 3 carrots, coarsely grated
1 - 2 sweet bell red peppers, thinly sliced (about 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches)
1/2 - 1 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (either in the oven or in a skillet on the stove top)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Season to taste. Add the almonds and toss. 


1 small red or yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons honey (maple syrup also works)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Place all ingredients into a blender and process for about 30 seconds.