Strawberries!

in this RecipEmail:

  • a note from Andrea
  • grain-free, dairy-free Strawberry Mascarpone Tart,
  •  healthy enough for a holiday breakfast
  • strawberries: the other (berry) bright treat
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strawberry fields

For years now I’ve been lobbying for my niece Maya to come spend a week with us in Portland. My wish finally came true.

This past week, Maya took her first solo plane ride from SAN to PDX for a full week of Camp Auntie (camp mama for Gilbert). And we loaded up on fun. . .

~ hiking at the gorge
~ tea shop outings
~ roller skating
~ farmer’s markets
~ street fairs
~ documentaries
~ museums
~ loads of good food
~ and berry picking of course!

It took my favorite thirteen-year-old to drag me away from my computer and I loved every minute of it. Thank you Maya!

I hope you’ve kicked off your summer with some fine snippets of play and exploration. (Now if we in PDX could just get a little sunshine with that!) Have a fabulous holiday week loaded with fun, family and healthy treats.

Warmly,

P.S. You’ll notice that the tart in this week’s RecipEmail is loaded with the requisite Replenish PDX nutrients. . . Fat, Fiber & Protein. For this recipe that mainly comes in the form of nuts.

That said, I know that nuts don’t work for everyone. For some its an immune response. For others its digestive. After indulging in some holiday treats and tarts, I’m making it my mission to have a nut-free month of July. If you care to join me, let’s bring our nut-free conversations to the Replenish PDX Facebook Page and find all our likely alternatives.

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Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

This recipe is loaded with so much goodness that I’d say its fine for a weekend, holiday or companied breakfast or brunch. Maya and I decided to go light on the sweetness and aim for something that was rich and decadent but not sickly sweet.

Our Hood Strawberries were as tiny as raspberries (we put a few on the tart for comparison), and as sweet as candy. They were glistening and bright and didn’t need a thing added to bring out their flavor.

The recipe we chose was adapted from one with its same name from Matthew Kenney’s book Everyday Raw Desserts. If an ingredient is unusual or unknown, I’ve made sure to link you to my cook’s glossary, where you can learn more about its usage and where to purchase. (Just click on the image of the food you want to learn more about, dive in and explore!)

crust ingredients:
1 cup almonds, soaked for 2 hours
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

“mascarpone” ingredients:
2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 2 hours
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup yacon syrup
10 drops liquid lemon stevia
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon miso paste
pinch sea salt

topping ingredients:
strawberries!

preparation:
1) Grease a tart pan with coconut oil or ghee.
2) Preheat the oven to 300F.
3) Drain the nuts for the crust, pat dry, and pulse in a food processor until fine.
4) Add remaining crust ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a well-blended dough forms.
5) Remove dough from the processor and press into the tart pan, careful to press evenly around the base and gently up the sides, creating a nice “container” for your filling.
6) Bake the tart crust for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.

7) To make the “marscapone”: Drain the nuts and add them to a high speed blender or food processor with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
8) Scoop the filling into the cooled tart crust. Spread evenly on the base.
9) Place strawberries on top of the filling, covering as much as you’d like for decorative and deliciousness factors.
10) Cool in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.

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Strawberries: The other bright treat

While blueberries often get all the attention for their antioxidant and brain-boosting potential, strawberries should not be overlooked! Research has shown that daily consumption of strawberries showed improvement in short-term memory among other things. Read on!

• Strawberries are among the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”. This means that they’re one of the top twelve fruits or vegetables loaded with pesticides and one that you should always buy organic. Consider this: There is no other commercial fruit more laden with agricultural chemicals.
• There are over 600 varieties of strawberries. I had no idea until I moved to the northwest and started sampling and planting my own. The shape, flavor and season differ with the varieties but all have that telltale strawberry-look and taste in some way or another ~ the red-pocked flesh, the heart shaped body and the green capped head.
• Strawberries don’t ripen after picking. You want to catch them at the right time for maximum flavor. Try not to leave them at room temperature or in sunlight for too long which will cause them to deteriorate and spoil. Best plan?: pick and eat!
• To freeze strawberries: Gently wash and remove any that have acquired mold or mush. Remove stems or don’t. (I don’t.) Pat dry. Place berries on a cookie sheet and freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, berries can be stored in a freezer storage container of your choosing.

Nutritional benefits:
• Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, especially when allowed to ripen before being picked. This means a freshly harvested local berry is going to have a more profound nutritional profile than a commercial berry.
• Strawberries also contain a good amount of fiber (think about all those tiny seeds). Good for you and your heart!
• The pretty berry contains the flavonoids to help fight free radical damage. In fact, an article printed in ScienceDaily last year stated that (37 strawberries a day) “could keep not just one doctor away, but an entire fleet of them, including the neurologist, the endocrinologist, and maybe even the oncologist.”
• The flavanoids in the strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the activity of the enzyme called COX. This is the same enzyme blocked when you take aspirin or a NSAID. Yet strawberries support the health of your colon and heart.
• The micronutrient profile of the strawberry is even more impressive. You can except to be consuming select B vitamins along with manganese and iron when you feast among the strawberry fields.
• Strawberries have been known to have a tranquilizing effect. Apparently this is why dental anesthesia and surgical gloves are often scented with strawberry. Personally, I’d rather be lulled by a bowlful of miniature Hood berries hand-picked by my son and my niece. You?

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Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Is there an ingredient you'd like to learn more about? Is there a nutrition class you always wish existed? Let me know!