Summer Fresh

by Maryjane Mojer
Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm

Strawberries | Nantucket, MA

 

Strawberries are coming on strong right now, and picking is well underway. I’ve picked about six quarts so far. My friend, Hilary is moving off island this fall. She stopped by my desk at work and said “I’m going to go pick. Care to join me?” How could I say no? Every chance to spend a moment or two in her easy company before she heads off on her next great adventure feels like a hit of summer sunshine and is too good to pass up. A few days later, my two-and-a-half year-old granddaughter, Hazelgrey and I had a play date— we spent the morning running errands and picking strawberries. Talk about a fix! Two quarts of fresh berries went home with her, and the rest became pints of strawberry jam. A spoonful mixed into my yogurt, on toast….or yes… straight on a spoon = instant summer.

I no longer have a vegetable garden, but I do grow pots of herbs; rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano, mint, cilantro and basil as well as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers in pots. At this point, I’m about six weeks away from having the ingredients for homegrown ratatouille, but I can brighten up every meal right now with fresh herbs that are steps away from my back door.

I dropped off a pint of strawberry jam with my son’s girlfriend, and an hour later she sent a picture of a Strawberry Margarita with fresh basil. The best of both worlds!

Cooking small batches is a challenge for me, but when it’s as simple and delicious as this recipe, count me in.

STRAWBERRY JAM

This is an easy, pectin free jam.
It’s a bit looser than a jelly and freezes well.
2 quarts strawberries, stemmed and rough chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean split

Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice and let sit overnight.

Pour mixture into a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring constantly until thick (About 10 to 12 minutes.) Cool completely. Fill quart size resealable bags, lay flat and freeze. Will keep for up to a year.

SUPERHERO MUFFINS

My love and adoration of cookbooks is well documented and supported by friends and family. That said, I find inspiration and just plain old joy reading blogs and trying trending recipes. One that I’ve made a few times a few different ways is from Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s Cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow. (I am a runner…a very, very slow runner. Truly. I walk faster than I run, and I am just fine with that.)

These muffins are reminiscent of Morning Glory Muffins, but are gluten free, full of fiber, and sweetened with real maple syrup. Long lasting and portable. A great breakfast with a banana (and coffee, always coffee.)

Yield: 12

2 cups almond meal
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if sensitive)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup currants or raisins, optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
paper muffin cups

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, walnuts, currants or raisins, if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, carrot, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.

I always make a recipe its written the first time I make it, but the second time? Watch out world! Below is a Superhero Muffin reboot.

STRAWBERRY SUPER MUFFINS

1-1/2 cups buckwheat flower
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if sensitive)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
paper muffin cups

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, almonds and basil, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, carrot, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.

STRAWBERRY BASIL MARGARITA

Jam in any form on any sort of baked good is really good. Fresh Strawberry jam mixed into a Margarita is nothing short of magic! After your run, after a long day, before dinner, during a sunset, this is the perfect summer cocktail.

In a small dish, pour 1/4 cup of sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Rim glasses with lime wedges, and dip in sugar salt mix. Set aside.

In a blender combine

12 oz tequila
1/2 cup strawberry jam
8 oz moscato
8 oz triple sec
1/2 cup lime juice
3 cups ice

Blend until smooth. Pour into sugared glasses, garnish with a fresh strawberry and enjoy.

It can be a challenge at times to find that summer feeling, especially when the skies are opening up wide and rain just falls out. Take a moment, take a breath, take a bite or a sip or a walk with a friend. It’s here….you can find it, I promise.