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.
Summer generally means a few quarts of ice cream. Not all at once of course, throughout the season. I put my ice cream maker bucket in the freezer a few days ago. Unless it’s in use, that’s where it lives all summer, ready to churn at a moment’s notice. A fresh quart of strawberries from the Park Slope CSA pushed me over the edge. As soon as I picked up the small carton, I knew they would soon be turned into ice cream.
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.
As I think I mentioned in my menu post, I’m a huge fan of cooking big meals that require little effort. Braises, things in the crockpot, roasts–they’re all amazing because they’re set it and forget it items! Wow, I sound like an infomercial… But seriously, why would you ever want to do something like pan fry fish fillets for 8 while your guests are in the other room. You should be with them, socializing, enjoy a glass of wine and having fun–not hovering over the stove.
You were waiting for the cider braised pork recipe, weren’t you? Too bad! One more day to wait. I figured I’d build up the anticipation and share the main event and desserts last. So you’ll just have to continue reading. Serving a bunch of Irishmen (and women) potatoes were an obvious choice. I could have probably just served the gratin and been golden, but greens are important too! I try to follow the three part meal–one quarter protein, one quarter carbs, one half greens. Or sometimes it ends up being more like three quarters greens, of a variety. But enough chit chat, on to the recipes!