National Strawberry Month

Every year, I look forward to strawberry season so I can stock my pantry and condiment supply with a variety of strawberry jams. Since its National Strawberry month, we wanted to share with you some of the things we like to do with our strawberries and also share a couple of quick tips.

Strawberry season is short here in Texas so I decided to head back out to my favorite spot to pick strawberries, which is at Good Earth Organic Farm.  The strawberries at Good Earth Organic Farm are plump, juicy, and sweet. This was my third year returning to pick some beautiful sun-ripened berries and I was not disappointed. After spending an afternoon picking those yummy red jewels, I am ready to get into the kitchen to make all types of things from jams and vinaigrette to refreshing smoothies.
Maybe you too have amassed a bunch of strawberries from one of those U-pick or roadside stands or picked up a supply from one of your local farmer’s markets and now have more strawberries than you know what to do with.  Here’s a few tips on making your strawberries last so you can enjoy them for more than a few days!



Quick Tips

Strawberries are extremely delicate so you should put them up as quickly as possible and if if you are making jams and preserving them, for the freshest quality, you should try to can them within a couple of days of picking or purchasing them.
If you don’t can, freezing strawberries is the simplest way to preserve them quickly.  You can then enjoy them in smoothies, desserts or in baking. Please note, frozen strawberries should be used within 6 months.
Don’t soak your strawberries in water.  They will loose their flavor and you will wash away some good nutrients.
It is optional to sprinkle a little sugar before freezing. I don’t add any sugar to my berries.

How to Freeze Strawberries

Remove the tops of the strawberries after rinsing.
Freeze them whole.
Whole strawberries are great to have on hand for your favorite smoothie recipe or to add to your favorite strawberry dessert.
Rinse them gently, spread them evenly on a baking sheet so they can freeze without touching each other and place the baking tray in your freezer until they are frozen solid.
Place them in an airtight container or you can also use zip lock freezer bags (not storage bags).  Be sure to put a date on your container.
Hope you enjoy strawberry season as much as I do!!

March Birthdays are the BEST!

I am blessed to have a birthday in late March.  The weather is usually very nice, everything is blooming, and it's the start of my Spring garden;  not to mention it's restaurant patio weather!  Good food and great weather are a perfect combination!
So to kick off the birthday festivities, my sisters - Agnes and Winnie surprised me with a great birthday lunch at a very quaint family-owned restaurant/bakery/tea room called Potpourri of Silk.  Of course I had to visit with the owner, Chris, and her son Andres who is also their Chef.  Chris's specialty is French Cuisine and you can see the French influences throughout their menu. Chris's story reminds me of how I was also inspired to start my own business.
The menu was simple, fresh, light and delicious and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are sitting in someone's lovely, cozy home.  My kind of place! The carrot soup was like silk and my oven roasted chicken sandwich with brie, cranberry spread, aioli and spinach was yummy.   Potpourri of Silk is definitely going to be a regular hangout spot for a "sister" get together.
On my special day, it was only fitting that Seasons52 was the restaurant I landed on to spend time with my sons Anthony and Timothy.  They change their menu with the seasons and were right in the middle of their Spring menu.  It's fun to visit at different times of the year to see what's new on the menu.  This Spring they were featuring lots of fresh asparagus and fresh peas.  We started with a great Garlic Pesto Chicken flatbread, then I enjoyed a tantalizing chopped greek salad with Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers.  Then we moved on to an asian glazed sea bass on black rice with snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and micro wasabi.
Everything on the menu was so fresh and includes so many of my favorite things to eat.  Although I don't indulge in desserts often, it was impossible to resist those little mini desserts. I ended up with the Mocha Macchiato...yummmm the caramel sauce and mocha vanilla amazing way to celebrate my birthday!
Check these places out when you get a chance!