One of life’s greatest pleasures is picking a perfectly ripe strawberry straight off the vine.
Each year we eagerly await the season, pack up the car and head out to Long Island’s east end to pick (and eat) to our heart’s content.
Just thinking about biting into a juicy, sun-kissed strawberry makes me happy.
Put it on your bucket list.
To celebrate this family tradition (where does the time go?!) here are 3 simple strawberry recipes for you to enjoy.
Jake turned 5 over the weekend.
He requested a strawberry shortcake for his birthday.
I was secretly relieved he wanted something ‘normal,’ rather than a cake decked out with train tracks, Minions and blue dye #5 sprinkled all over the top. Don’t even get me started.
Ina Garten’s vanilla cake has been something I’ve always wanted to try, and this was the perfect opportunity to experiment. The recipe can be found here.
I swapped out 1/4 cup of butter for oil, and used 2 cake pans as opposed to 1 large sheet pan.
For the frosting, this is my go-to recipe: 1 stick of softened unsalted butter (4 oz/113 g) + 1 bar of cream cheese (8 oz/226 g) + 1 box of sifted powdered sugar (16 oz/ 453 g) although I would start with half the box first, and add more to taste. Whip with an electric mixer until completely smooth.
Note: please double the frosting amount above if you want a thicker filled center and enough to frost the sides.
And by the way, although there is cream cheese in the frosting, it doesn’t taste overtly cream cheesy; it’s a cross between a traditional buttercream and cream cheese frosting.
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So here’s an interesting story:
Years ago, I watched an old ‘Barefoot Contessa’ episode where Ina made homemade strawberry jam (yes, another Ina reference here folks!).
She proceeded with the usual steps, simmering fresh strawberries and sugar together in a large pot.
But most memorable was the secret ingredient she threw in…
She added 5 of them to be exact.
I thought this was so bizarre.
Why 5 blueberries?
What was this going to do to the jam? Would it taste like strawberries? Blueberries? Mixed fruit?!
I didn’t get it.
Ina didn’t really go into detail either, except that blueberries added flavor.
And then, like most random things I totally forgot.
Until this particular salad: mixed greens, endives, strawberries, hazelnuts and balsamic dressing… with dried blueberries.
After just one bite, I suddenly remembered…
The strawberry jam.
The combination of strawberries and dried blueberries not only adds flavor, it brings your tastebuds to the next level.
It’s one of those magical combinations that just works.
Think: peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and hazelnut, wine and cheese…
Ina and Jeffrey!
PS- when I posted this picture on Instagram, a reader mentioned she makes a similar salad with gorgonzola and blueberries. I would definitely try that combo if you like piquant cheese. I’m salivating just typing the thought!
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Admittedly, I have no qualms about eating birthday cake for breakfast.
But here’s a more suitable option that won’t send your body into sugar shock.
This wholegrain strawberry breakfast cake is made with white whole wheat flour and maple syrup, although you can use brown sugar here too. It’s hearty, not too sweet and studded with juicy strawberries and a crunchy crumble topping for texture. Great with coffee.
You can find the recipe and accompanying story here.
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I know Mother’s Day isn’t until this weekend, but I want to wish everyone- all mamas, grandmothers, great grandmothers, mamas to be- a beautiful and relaxing day!
Elizabeth Briggs says
Just had a swell salad from our spring garden. In SC we can plant in Feb. SO. . . four kinds of lettuce with beet pickles , goat cheese and an excellent dressing. BTW also made your buttered beets for lunch. Love those fresh beets.
Hello Elizabeth! Welcome! Your salad garden sounds wonderful! I could get into a bowl of that right now. Yum! So glad you like the buttered beets- so simple, but so good! PS- ‘awaiting moderation’ just means that your comment will become visible after I approve it (this prevents annoying spammers and the like…) x
Oh I love all of these Emilie. First of all a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO Jake!!! That a lovely cake to celebrate with. I adore the picture of you with the boys, too precious.
Oh, I love goatcheese in salads, makes it so decadent.
Hope you have the best Mother’s day ever beautiful. Love and Hugs.
Oh, thank you so much! He’s 5 now! I can’t believe it! Such a cute little guy. That picture of the boys and I, one of the few that I’m actually in LOL, was taken a few years ago. It’s one of my favorites and such a cherished memory. Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to you too my sweet friend! xoxo
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
What a delicious round up of goodness. But I gotta say, your breakfast cake as me all excited.. because, why not have cake for breakfast! And those strawberries…. Oh Emilie, I’d give anything for fresh strawberries right now. I just took a drive to the farm and the strawberry field is just blooming… So we are many weeks away from fresh berries. : / I’m planning now, though.. and will be including a berry salad with straw, blueberry and gorgonzola (awww yess!!) Happy mammas day to you Emilie! xo
Agreed! I’ve always been a fan of a little something sweet for breakfast :) We have a small patch of strawberries in our backyard and I eagerly await for them to bloom! The bees are going crazy. And YES to that salad with the gorgonzola. You have to try it with the dried blueberries (not fresh, oddly enough) so good! xo
Donna @thehangingspoon says
Hi Emilie! Happy Mother’s Day to you! Beautiful photos and recipes as always. Enjoy the day!
Hey mama! Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to you too! Thank you for your sweet words :) xo
Wonderful recipes ! Great work and I really like your blog :)
Welcome Hafsa! Thank you so much :)
Laura | Tutti Dolci says
I adore Ina so I need to try that blueberry trick! And I adore strawberries (my favorite berry, if I have to choose) so these recipes all look so lovely!
Isn’t she the best? I can’t wait until her new cookbook comes out: Cooking for Jeffrey! Her recipes are always reliable because they are tested so well. xo
Oh, I love these recipes! Blueberries always add that extra pop of color too. The cake is perfect for Mother’s Day. Is it ok with you if I share the recipe and your pic (of course giving you and Ina credit) in my newsletter with my olive oil followers? Thanks in advance. And Happy Mother’s Day!!
Welcome Janell! Thank you! I’ll send you an email ;)
All these recipes look fantastic! I still have almost two gallons of strawberries left from our weekend picking outing. We will be having some on salad tonight with fresh greens from the garden and probably goat cheese. Love the photo of you and the boys in the strawberry field, it is one of my favorite family outings too!
Gretchen, I saw your gorgeous strawberry haul on IG! Amazing! You know, about that salad, there is a similar one with goat cheese and candied walnuts in The Clever Cookbook… just saying ;)
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
What a fun celebratory post! I remember a few of these beautiful captures (and something about loss of GPS signal :o) I hope your son had a fun-filled 5th birthday ~ nothing better than a cake made by Mom. That stand… ♥
YES! You remembered!! I’m so impressed. I was scrolling through some photos on my old laptop (don’t get me started on photo disorganization!) and I got all teary eyed when I saw the one above. I’ll have to cherish these moments while I can!
All these dishes look lovely! So pretty! :)
Hello Kristy! Thank you so much! In addition to berry picking, we have a wild strawberry patch in the backyard and the boys love to pick their own…
Oh what a great round up of recipes Emily. And that cake at the very top. I wish I was your kid. :))
Happy mother’s day to you my friend.
Hello friend! Thank you! Jake approved of his birthday cake, although it lacked the usual flare ;) Much love to you too! xo