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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fragaria x ananassa

Fragaria x ananassa

Sounds like something everyone might want to stay clear of, can you picture the terrible disease you would suffering from with Fragaria x ananassa, it runs shivers up my spine, and so it should for if serve cold Fragaria x ananassa would not be a threat at all but rather be a real treat. You see Fragaria x ananassa is the scientific name for the strawberry, now you’re seeing red.

It seems that our love affair with the first of springs fruits ventures back to Europe when the explores of the time (1700's) came to both North & South America and returned with a fruit from the Virginia area and from Chile. Once in France this two berries got together and began to reproduce offspring bigger, redder and sweeter than their parents. Today the strawberry is grown in every country around the world, thanks to the America’s it can take it rightful place along with potatoes and tomatoes as our most important original exports.

Strawberries are the only fruit that has it’s seeds on the outside with each berry producing about 200 seeds. A rose by any other name would be called a strawberry as would an apple and the cherry all members of the same family.
Strawberry Shortcake was one of the earlier culinary concoctions thought to have derived from an Indian dish--a slightly sweetened biscuit mounded over with fresh wild strawberries, smothered with layers of fresh warm cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
1quart strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream for topping, or non-dairy whipped topping

Rinse the berries under cold water; drain well. Hull and slice the berries; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Whip the cream (sweeten with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, if desired) until it holds a soft peak. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at center level.
In a food processor (you can use a pastry cutter or fingertips) combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and pulse to mix. Cut butter into about 8 pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream or milk, just until dough is moist. Be very careful not to overwork. The dough doesn't have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over on itself (knead) 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.
Gently pat the dough into a 6 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 8 (3-inch) biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a buttered foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and sprinkle tops with some sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Remove to a platter and split each biscuit horizontally with a serrated knife. Butter the hot biscuits then top with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops and top with a tablespoon or so of berries. Serve with whipped cream for topping.

Super Easy Strawberry Jam

2 cups of strawberries capped and cut up
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of pectin

Pour the sugar over the berries and let sit for 10 minutes. Mash well. Stir in pectin. Microwave high for 4 minutes. Then, microwave medium for 6 minutes. Pour in hot glasses or cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Keeps for 2-3 months in fridge.

Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 cups coarsely chopped fresh rhubarb
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk


In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add rhubarb and strawberries and toss to coat.
Spread in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
With a fork, stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough.
Drop dough by tablespoon over the hot filling. Make 12 mounds.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, until topping is golden brown and has risen