So, about a week or so ago, I decided, on a whim, to see if my favorite strawberry stand was open. We'd had several warm, sunny days, and it seemed like the perfect time for some berries to me, so I drove on up to Encinitas. It was a lovely drive with my daughter and her BFF to keep me company. We listened to some Earth Wind & Fire as we cruised up the I-5, our hopes sailing high. For a second, as we dropped down the slope that would lead to our exit, I thought my hopes were dashed, but then, as we passed the large tree that was partially blocking the view, I could tell it was open. Yay!
This particular stand has been one of my favorites since we owned out automotive shop in Encinitas years ago. My sister in law and I used to pick up a 3 pack and have berries for lunch as we worked! They are the sweetest, most flavorful strawberries I've had since I was a child eating wild strawberries in my Grandma Ma's kitchen. This current crop is no exception. We bought a 3 pack and headed back to the truck, each of us picking a berry to taste along the way. One bite into the juicy, sunny flavor, and we did an immediate about face to buy more. Half a flat later, we were back in the truck, red lips and smiles on our faces.
So, you may be wondering what I did with those berries? A lot! Aside from eating out of hand. I made strawberry waffles for breakfast, and two desserts: Strawberry Creme Cake and Strawberry Gelato. The Strawberry Creme cake is simple: White cake, layered with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. The whipping cream came from Trader Joe's. I love their heavy whipping cream, because it has a higher fat content than that of regular grocery store brands, so it stays stable much longer once you whip it.
The Gelato is a favorite around here. I make gelato often in the summer months; it's quick, easy, and delicious - and it's healthier than ice cream! Can't beat that!
Here's the recipe for the Strawberry Gelato:
- about 2 baskets fresh hulled strawberries
- 3/4 cup sugar (superfine works best, but granulated is fine)
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (I use Meyer lemon, because it's what I have in the yard!)
In the blender, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Add the milk and blend. Pour into a bowl and add the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Chill for 4-6 hours, until very cold. If you have time, chill overnight for best flavor.
Transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. When it reaches the consistency of soft serve, you can serve it immediately. Freeze any leftovers in an airtight container.