Strawberries are here. About time, right? I do feel like this harvest season has been a bit off. Usually I’m able to find a couple of farmers selling fresh local strawberries by Memorial Day. Though this year it seems that last weekend was the first opportunity. Luckily, they’re a fruit that linger. I can recall still getting strawberries after July 4th last year in my CSA.
The other day while making strawberry rhubarb jam, I had a bit of a problem. A good problem. My strawberries were just too juicy. I’ve been using the same recipe for 3 years now, adapted from Preserving Summer’s Bounty. First macerate the strawberries in honey overnight. Then, mix together strawberries and juices, extra honey, lemon juice and rhubarb. Cook that down and you have jam, right? In this case, very wrong. At the stage that I should have almost reached the jellying stage, I was instead left with somewhat of a strawberry soup. A deep, rich red broth with the occasional strawberry or hunk of rhubarb bobbing up and down.
Another year and lots of food. The past year of blogging has been very different from the year before, mostly in quantity. As most of you have probably noticed, frequency has tapered off a bit. For a while I was doing a lot of writing that was not here on Brooklyn Locavore. Some for Restaurant Girl and a bit of editing and writing for Just Food. Then I started a new full-time position in December. Work life has been crazy, good crazy, but forced me to scale back a little. I’ve continued with Just Food, took a break from Restaurant Girl but ideally would love to be posting here twice a week. I still cook almost as much and am at the point that I probably have more recipes and ideas to share than I’ll ever be able to write.
Admit it. If you’re a strawberry fan, you’re buying them by the bushel right now. Savoring sweet local strawberries in any form you can conceive of–muffins, pies, salads, soups, shortcake, crumbles. But what happens after strawberry season? Sure, you can turn them into jam. But what if you’re not looking for a huge drawn out process. What if you have a fear of boiling water baths? You could freeze them. That’s easy enough. Though a bit boring. The only logical option is to move to condiments.
I’ve never made gazpacho. I’m not even 100% convinced I really like it. But it’s a soup, and I love soup. And it’s socially more acceptable to eat in the summer compared to a rich cream of whatever vegetable blend. So it was settled. This year I would make gazpacho. But it couldn’t be a bland, ordinary version. I needed something different, something vibrant that would push me over the wall into “I love gazpacho” territory. For my husband’s birthday we dined at Traif for the first time. After what seemed like hours to choose our selection of tapas-style small plates, we were greeted by a sake glass filled with icy strawberry gazpacho. It barely touched my lips and I knew. I was making this soup.