Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples -- or your seasonal produce -- every which way.
Today: Strawberries are at the market in full force, and they're begging to be taken home. Kristan Raines from The Broken Bread has five ways to put your berries to good use.
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I have loved strawberries ever since I was a little girl. Though these sweet red berries were often present in my home throughout the year, they always tasted best at the peak of their season. I typically ended up eating them straight out of their basket, or folded into some yogurt for breakfast. Over the years, I've learned that this fruit is far more versatile than I once thought, and I’ve started to use strawberries in new ways, for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.
Now that summer is in full swing, many farmers markets are overflowing with vibrant, freshly picked strawberries, all of which are begging to be used in your next meal. Here are some of my favorite ways to make the most of all those juicy red berries.
Fennel and Cabbage Salad Here, strawberries shine as the main ingredient in a salad that is perfect for either lunch or dinner. Toss finely sliced cabbage and fennel in a bowl with toasted pepitas, quartered strawberries, and torn mint leaves. Dress the crunchy vegetables -- and sweet berries -- in a tangy dressing made with Greek yogurt, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey. Use any leftover dressing to marinate fish or chicken, or as a dip for vegetables.
Strawberry Tartelettes While your strawberries are fresh from the market, celebrate their beauty in its purest form. Bake your favorite tart crust (miniature or regular-sized), fill it with a honey-sweetened, vanilla bean-specked pastry cream, then top it with sliced strawberries.
Baked Oatmeal Instead of preparing a traditional bowl of oatmeal over the stove top, let your oven do the work. Toss oats, pepitas, baking powder, allspice, and chia seeds together, then mix the dry ingredients with milk, melted coconut oil, and honey. Bake in a skillet with a layer of sliced strawberries and banana in between, letting the flavors slowly come together as you get ready for your day. Play around with different nuts and fruits to make this meal your own.
Strawberry Lavender Lemonade I drink a lot of lemonade in the summertime, and I thought that adding some freshly puréed strawberries and a bit of lavender would be a nice change of pace. It's also a great way to use strawberries that are looking less than perfect a few days after purchase. The sweetness of the strawberries pairs nicely with the lavender and lemon, making it an ideal drink to enjoy on a bright and sunny day. Begin by infusing a honey simple syrup with dried lavender. While the lavender steeps, blend the strawberries until they're smooth, then add the juice of about six lemons. Strain the simple syrup into the strawberry-lemon mixture and chill. Add freshly diced strawberries and a lemon wedge to each glass before serving.
Roasted Strawberry and Hazelnut Cake After you've had your berries for several days, they may no longer be at their peak: Roasting is the perfect solution. Simply bake the berries at high heat with a bit of coconut oil and maple syrup to reveal a new and unexpected degree of flavor. You can add them to a cake, as in the recipe below, or spoon them over ice cream or yogurt. Whatever you decide, this recipe will not disappoint.
Top photo by James Ransom; all others by Kristan Raines
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
Kristan Raines is the voice behind The-Broken-Bread, a food blog devoted to cooking seasonally and gathering with loved ones. Her aim is to only use fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season in order to make unique yet traditional recipes. You can visit her site at The-Broken-Bread.com