This past weekend was an excellent one. Not only did I take Friday off so that we could all head to the coast together, I made strawberry ice cream to take along. This time of year, Oregon is inundated with delicious local strawberries. They taste so much better than those giant pinkish lumps from California, but they don't last nearly as long. That means you can frequently find slightly mushy Oregon strawberries on sale in the grocery store this time of year. Not bad mind you, but simply a little too soft for eating our of hand. Strawberry ice cream sounded like a delicious way to use them up (they get mushed anyway).
I chose a recipe that didn't involve cooking or eggs, but that could still be creamy and wonderful. Basically, it's 2 cups cream, 2 cups milk, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups strawberries, plus a pinch of salt and splash of vanilla. The recipe said to mash the strawberries before mixing it up, but I mixed first and then mashed them into the cream/milk with a potato masher. The result? The dairy turned a lovely pink and there were plenty of chunks of berry to enjoy. This made enough for two batches in our little ice cream maker.
Another great way to use up slightly soft berries and other ripe fruit is in a coconut fruit salad. This is a recipe of my own invention and I made some this weekend for a dinner party (it was too hot to cook anything, so it was a cold spread with meats, cheeses, and salads). Chop up a bunch of nice, ripe fruit into a huge bowl. My big bowl must hold at least 12 cups of chopped fruit... maybe more. You can also add chopped nuts, although I don't as my husband doesn't like them. Then sprinkle with a bit of either cinnamon or nutmeg, add a can of coconut milk, and mix carefully. The coconut holds everything together without adding dairy or mayo. This stuff lasts a week in the fridge and just gets juicier and better. It also won't go bad as quick at a summer potluck or picnic. You could also add coconut shreds or dried fruit (like raisins) to vary the texture, but all fresh fruit works great as is.
In addition to beach combing and fruit cutting, I also got out the sewing supplies for some mending and cutting. In particular, I cut woven fabric for a new set of dish towels and a bunch of cotton for bias binding for them. More on that (and pictures!) when I get them done.
Tonight my husband is cooking tilapia for dinner, which makes me very happy.
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