With summer just a few sunny days away, it’s time to start incorporating summer fruits and nature’s bounty from the farmers markets into our seasonal dishes and drinks.
One of the first signs of summer is sweet, juicy strawberries appearing at the market! They can make anything taste sweet and refreshing, not to mention they can add some great color to any bland dish or drink! Pile them high on shortcake or dip on chocolate for dessert, throw them in a salad with balsamic for dinner or put them to your cocktail to spruse it up a bit!
I have included two of my favorite recipes for summer. First up is the Strawberry Shag Cocktail from my new book Sips & Apps. The Strawberry Shag teams lightly-sugared fresh strawberries with a tasty partner – fresh basil! Shaken with vodka and fresh lemon juice this refreshing cooler is perfect to start any patio party!
Next up is Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Sweet Onions and Poppy Seed–Ginger Vinaigrette which is one of my favorite salad dressing recipes. If you are tight on time you can make the dressing up to 1 week in advance! Serve this d’lish salad as a starter or top it with sliced grilled chicken breast, paired with some hearty, rustic bread for a main meal.
I hope you enjoy my “first of summer” strawberry recipes and be sure to always remember to “Cook up Some Fun™” in the kitchen!
Fresh basil lends a fun flavor note to the classic combination of strawberries and lemonade. Soda water introduces a lively sparkle.
Makes 1 drink
1 to 2 large sprigs fresh basil
1/4 cup Sugared Strawberries with juice (recipe follows)
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 ounces chilled soda water
For garnishing: fresh strawberry, small basil leaf
In a cocktail shaker, press the basil and strawberries together with a muddler to release the basil’s flavor. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the vodka and lemon juice. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a large glass, top with soda water, and stir. Garnish with a strawberry and basil leaf.
Makes enough for about 6 drinks
1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Mix the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using.
Recipe from Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Copyright © 2009 by Kathy Casey
Strawberry & Spinach Salad
with Sweet Onions and Poppy Seed–Ginger Vinaigrette
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup light olive oil or other salad oil
2 teaspoons poppy seed
3 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
2 bunches spinach, stemmed, washed well, and spun dry
(or 8 to 10 cups of baby spinach leaves)
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet white onion, such as a Walla Walla Sweet or Vidalia
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar, ginger, mustard, honey, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, emulsifying the vinaigrette. Stir in the poppy seed. Refrigerate for up to one week.
To make the salad, toss the berries, spinach, and onion with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with almonds.
Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Casey.