Photo courtesy of Heidi Billotto
Times are calling for a little comfort right now. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a more comforting combination than fresh-picked springtime strawberries and cream.
Of course, strawberry shortcakes come to mind first. Simply slice fresh berries, sweetened if need be, then pile high on a fresh-baked biscuit or pastry puff. Top with real whipped cream and garnished with a sprig of garden mint.
Happily, that is not the only way to combine these two made-for-each-other ingredients. Dozens of variations on the theme can take you through the day.
Start with a strawberries and cream smoothie. Combine fresh strawberries, frozen sliced bananas, milk or yogurt, and perhaps a bit of honey in the blender. Whirl the mix together to a thick foamy finish and you are off to a great start! Adding real cow’s milk to smoothies delivers 8 grams of high-quality protein, as well as eight other essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D.
Or layer berries and cream in a breakfast parfait with plain or vanilla yogurt, fresh berries and granola. Use a mason jar as your vessel and enjoy the ease of doing these ahead to have on hand in the fridge.
Next, how about serving a strawberry toast as a savory appetizer or a sweet addition to Sunday brunch? Cut rounds from a baguette of bread and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toast in the oven until crispy and lightly browned. Let the crostini cool, spread with ricotta or cream cheese, and top with sliced strawberries. For a savory version of the same, sauté berries in a bit of melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. Strain and spoon atop the ricotta slathered toasts, garnish with a frill of lettuce and toasted almonds for a “berry” delicious way to start the meal.
Of course, you can’t forget the ice cream. No ice cream maker? No problem. This super simple no-churn strawberry ice cream will please ice cream lovers of all ages.
This spring, take comfort in the many ways you can pair the goodness of fresh strawberries with wholesome, nutrient-rich dairy foods. Find more strawberry and dairy inspired recipes here.
Heidi Billotto, Charlotte-based culinary expert, writes about food, restaurants and food-centric travel for regional magazines, newspapers, blogs & websites. In addition, Heidi conducts private in-home or office cooking classes for corporate team building & social gatherings. Follow her culinary adventures at HeidiBillottoFood.com.