Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: It's time to get festive with strawberries

By JANINE GILBERTSON June 12. 2018 8:36PM

Strawberry rhubarb reverse shortcake (JANINE GILBERTSON)

It’s just about strawberry season in New Hampshire, so if you have some free time over the next couple of weekends, make some time to check out one of the many strawberry festivals going on around the state.

I lived in Hollis for several years when I was a kid, and my mother always took me to the Hollis Strawberry Festival. I loved the fresh shortcake piled with juicy, ripe strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

One year my mother decided we should show up in style, so she bought a strawberry patterned fabric and made us matching outfits. Good thing I was only 5 — had I been a little older, I never would have left the house wearing my strawberry pants, shortcake or no.

Back in Hollis last weekend, I stopped at Brookdale Fruit Farm and bought some field ripened strawberries to take home.

For my first dish, I decided to try and make a batch of reverse shortcakes.

Normally, a strawberry shortcake involves a biscuit covered with a strawberry sauce and some whipped cream, but I liked the idea of having the biscuit on top. Plus, doing it this way allowed me to make one big batch and I didn’t have to make a strawberry sauce.

So I baked some strawberries with rhubarb in a little sugar and cornstarch, then set some ready-to-bake honey biscuits over the top and returned the dish to the oven. The only thing that would’ve made it even better is if I had made the biscuits from scratch. Maybe I’ll try that when I make another batch.

Strawberry dishes don’t have to be sweet. Slice up some fresh strawberries and toss them into a pile of field greens. You can add a little chopped seedless cucumber and top it off with goat cheese crusted with pecans and brown sugar. The combination is remarkable dressed with some olive oil and a fig balsamic vinegar.

Since I had some strawberries left over after making the other dishes, I decided to try folding them into some Greek yogurt to make frozen yogurt bars. The tip for making frozen yogurt creamy and minimize the formation of frosty ice crystals is to add some creaminess to the yogurt: I really wanted to add some mascarpone cheese, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used heavy cream instead. The cream worked fine, and the yogurt bars packed with fresh strawberries hit the spot on a warm day after finishing up some yard work. It was a real treat.

Unlike my old strawberry outfit.
Strawberry rhubarb reverse shortcakes coming out of the oven. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Strawberry Rhubarb Reverse Shortcakes

3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

2 stalks fresh rhubarb, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

16 oz package ready to bake honey biscuits, such as Pillsbury

Fresh whipped cream, if desired, for serving

1 tbsp coarse sugar

Add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice to a bowl and mix well. Transfer to a rectangular baking dish and spread evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is softened.

Remove from the oven, and set the biscuits on top in two rows (you may not use all the biscuits, depending on the size of your pan). Sprinkle the biscuits with coarse sugar. Return to oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the biscuits are light golden brown. 

Serve each biscuit with some of the strawberry mixture below, and top with whipped cream.
Frozen strawberry yogurt bars (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Treats

2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

16 oz container Greek style yogurt, plain

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup fine sugar

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 tbsp brown sugar

Add the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter to a bowl and stir well. Press the crumbs into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish in an even layer. Set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cream and sugar. Gently fold in the strawberries, then spread the mixture in an even layer over the graham cracker crumbs. 

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours or until frozen.
Strawberries can have a savory side, too, as this strawberry salad with field greens and goat cheese shows. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Fields Greens with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

4 cups spring greens

1 English cucumber, chopped

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

4 oz package goat cheese

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp fig balsamic vinegar

Fresh basil, sliced thin, if desired, for garnish

Add the pecans and brown sugar to a small bowl and mix. 

Using your hands, pinch about one tablespoon amount of goat cheese and roll it in a ball. Set the ball in the pecans and brown sugar and roll, pressing gently, to coat the cheese, then set aside and repeat until you have several balls to add to the salad. 

Place the greens in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, then toss gently to coat. 

Arrange the greens on a plate and add the cucumbers and strawberries. Add the goat cheese balls, then sprinkle the basil over the top of the salad, if desired. Serve immediately.


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