|Albion Strawberries – aren’t they beautiful?|
Tis the season for my favorite fruit, strawberries. I feel so lucky to have so many strawberry stands close by so I can stop and pick up a couple of pints to keep a supply in the fridge. They are a perfect snack, something sweet and juicy. Of course, I love them with shortcake and on top of ice cream, or even better in ice cream. I even stock pile them in my freezer for smoothies, especially for winter time when I can’t buy them.
This week at the Farmer’s Market I thought it was time to spotlight strawberries. When I’m not buying my berries from a farmstand, I like to buy mine from Bob, the strawberry guy. Bob has been selling strawberries at the market for years and what I like about them is that they hold up well and taste great. I realized even though I talk to Bob almost weekly, I didn’t know his story or anything about the berries. Come to find out Bob has been selling strawberries from Wastsonville, California for over 20 years. Here is a picture of strawberries in Watstonville, it is incredible to go there and see the miles and miles of strawberries. Now, imagine that these strawberries are picked by hand; it’s amazing to watch, For the people who do the harvesting, it is hot and backbreaking, and I thank you for the hard work you do to provide us with these yummy strawberries. I think this is what the Beetles meant in their song “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
|Watsonville, CA ~ strawberries|
After all these years of buying strawberries from Bob, I finally asked him about the strawberries he sells. They are called Albion. I like these berries for their size and shape; they are a medium size strawberry, red throughout and not overly sweet but packed with lot of flavor. Here is a picture of Bob Orea and his helper Reyes at their strawberry booth.
It’s July and we are having a very hot spell here with the temperature at 105 degrees; typical summer weather in Northern California. I just can’t turn my oven on to bake a shortcake, my kitchen would be hot and my air conditioner would never shut off. I decided to try a recipe using my refrigerator instead. I have had for a long time but never made, a gelee, which is like jello but so much better. Gelees are made with fresh fruit, juices, broths and in this case wine. This recipe takes only 5 ingredients, and I get to use my mini bottle of wine. Since I don’t drink white wine I keep these on hand just for cases like this, and they come in handy for deglazing my pans for sauces.
|5 ingredients, so simple!|
How to make a gelee – For printable recipe, click “here”.
Strawberry Chardonnay Gelee
Makes 4 – 8 oz servings
3 cups washed and sliced strawberries
(measure out 3/4 of a cup for topping)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Chardonnay or try a fruity wine you like
2 tbls. lemon juice
1 envelop unflavored gelatin
1. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and add the sugar.
2. Pour the Chardonnay in a cup and microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes to get it hot but not boiling.
Strawberries, sugar and wine
3. Pour the Chardonnay over the strawberries and sugar and mash with a potato masher, this will break down the berries and release their juices. Let sit for 2 hours to infuse the wine and berries.
|Strained strawberries and wine|
7. Set the gelee in the freezer in the measuring cup and stir every 5 minutes for 20 to 30 minutes. The gelee will firm up but it will not be completely set.
8. Spoon the gelee into 8 ounce ramekins, wine glasses or bowls and top with the reserved strawberry slices.
9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.
|Strawberry Chardonnay Gelees in my vintage Martini glasses|
Now for the taste test. This isn’t the jello I had as a child. No fake strawberry flavor and no rubbery texture here. The gelee is almost velvety and the flavor of the fresh strawberries comes through with a hint of the Chardonnay flavor. Since I have never made a gelee before I am not sure about the firmness I obtained. These did set up and become firm, but not firm like a jello. I hope mine came out right because the softness of the gelee gave it that wonderful velvety texture.
I love this dessert, it’s perfect for a hot day. I’m glad I finally made this because now I am thinking of other possibilities for different fruits and wine It’s fun, fruity, a little sophisticated and yummy!
To go with my favorite fruit, I decided to post a picture of my favorite summer flower, the marigold.
|Bright and sunny marigolds
I want to add these pictures I took when walking through the Rose Gardens in Sacramento. The shadows on the ground were hearts from the leaves and as I walked around the tree and looked up even the tree had a heart. I felt a blessing that day with lots of love around me.