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Delicious strawberries, everywhere

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune Refresh yourself during hot summer days with some strawberry iced tea.


Isn’t it wonderful to see so many fresh strawberries around? A deer got up on my deck and ate my strawberry plants, but there’s a gate now. So maybe, someday, I will be able to grow some strawberries.

I like to get berries at roadside stands or farmers markets because they seem to taste sweeter. That is not to say you can’t find decent ones in stores, but I don’t imagine stores can compete with fresh from the farm produce.

I am happy to share with you some recipes that feature strawberries and I hope you enjoy them. I also hope you are having a great summer, even though the heat and fires are a challenge. Be careful out there! Iced strawberry tea 1 pint fresh strawberries 4 cups of your favorite chilled tea 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1. Set 5 whole strawberries aside. Puree the remaining strawberries in a blender and strain the puree into a pitcher. 2. Stir in the tea, sugar and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Chill for at least an hour. 3. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with the whole berries. Makes about 5 cups. Strawberry salsa 1 fresh Serrano or jalapeno chile pepper 1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries 1 cup finely chopped white onion 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional 1. Wearing rubber gloves, remove seeds, stems and ribs from the pepper and chop fine. 2. In a bowl, stir together the chile and remaining salsa ingredients. This salsa may be made several hours ahead of time and chilled, covered. Serve with tortilla chips or grilled chicken. Makes about 2 cups. Strawberry cream French toast Start this one day ahead. You might also consider using strawberry flavored cream cheese. 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened 1 cup strawberry yogurt 1 teaspoon vanilla 12 slices white bread (whole grainers, just look away and sigh) 4 eggs 1/2 cup cream or milk Butter for frying 2 cups freshly sliced strawberries 1. Mix cream cheese with yogurt and refrigerate overnight. Spread half of cream cheese mixture over 6 slices of bread. Use remaining 6 slices as tops to form sandwiches. 2. Beat eggs, cream or milk and vanilla. Melt butter on a griddle or skillet. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture and cook until browned. 3. To serve, top each sandwich with some remaining cheese mixture and fresh strawberries. Berries may be sweetened, if desired. Makes 6 servings. Strawberry shortcake For when you want an old-fashioned from scratch dessert. 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cold butter 3/4 cup milk 1 cup whipping cream 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1. Preheat oven to 450. Sprinkle sliced strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar; set aside. 2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles rice. Add milk and stir until blended. 3. Knead dough briefly on a lightly floured surface, then roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into shortcake shapes with floured 3 to 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. 4. In a small bowl, beat together chilled whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Split each shortcake crosswise. Mound strawberries on one half of each shortcake, then place the other half on top. Add more berries and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

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