In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver talks about how, if you plan on enjoying your fruits and vegetables seasonally, you really have to go all in during say, asparagus season, practically gorging yourself in order to
hold you over make you so tired of a particular produce item that you will be okay without it for the next 10 or 11 months or whatever, until the season comes around again. I understand her reasoning, and it might work for me with parsnips or eggplant, but for the most part, I rarely get sick of any particular form of farm stand goodness. Last summer I personally ate at least a hundred peaches. (I’m not exaggerating.) My son, born in September, came out with a good bit of fuzz on him, and I’m pretty sure I know why.
Now we are back around to spring, and I have already been enjoying plenty of arugula straight from the bag, much to Dear Husband’s bewilderment. Strawberries have yet to make it this far north yet, though, so yesterday my boy and I, along with some fellow fruit lovers, hit the road and headed south, specifically to Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, MD.
I love strawberry picking with little kids. Seriously, if you don’t have any, recruit some before you go. To watch a small child in a strawberry patch is to have a taste of what heaven must be like. Last year I took my goddaughters, and by the end, Brianna was in some kind of strawberry-induced blissed-out haze.
This year, the twins are in school, so I was accompanied by my friend Laura and her kids. Sam, who is two, was this year’s embodiment of strawberry fever. His modus operandi was to pick the biggest, ripest berry he could find, take one huge bite, and throw the rest on the ground. We all know that the first bite is the best, of course, but us adults are too practical to make good use of this knowledge. Not so with Sam. He was “helping” me collect strawberries, which is why there were several half-eaten ones in my box when I got home.
All told, I believe I made off with about 6 pounds of the good stuff, along with some butter lettuce and farm-fresh eggs. I pulled the best ones for straight-up eating, froze the ripest ones for lean times ahead (at least strawberrily speaking), and was left with about half of my original take. Now, the question becomes: how best to enjoy them?
I wanted to serve them for dinner, but knew that strawberries alone, while soul-satisfying, would not be stomach satisfying. It was close to 80 degrees in the house, so turning on the oven seemed to be counterproductive. I settled on savory cheese and green onion griddle cakes with a strawberry topping and side of Tofutti Better-Than-Sour-Cream (sounds gross but is actually correctly named). I cut up the strawbs, stirred in rosemary and a pinch of salt. Of course, no spring meal is complete without arugula, so I tossed some with lemon juice, Parmesan and a little olive oil, and voila! Let the strawberry overdosage commence.
Cheddar and Green Onion Griddle Cakes with Strawberry Topping
Makes approx. 6 cakes.
1 c. flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 or 2 sliced green onions
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
2 T melted butter
1 T vegetable oil for frying
2 C ripe strawberries
2 T rosemary
Pinch of salt
To make griddle cakes: Melt butter first and allow to cool slightly. Mix all dry ingredients, including cheese and onions, until cheese is coated with flour. Beat eggs, milk, and butter in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Heat oil in a skillet (I used cast iron) on low-medium heat. Pour batter into pan by 1/4 cups. Cook approximately 1 min. on each side, until light brown in color.
To make topping: Chop strawberries and toss with rosemary and salt. If using dried rosemary allow to stand 10-15 minutes to maximize flavor.
Still got Straw-Bs to use up? Check out 100 Ways to Use Strawberries