This time of year, I start yearning for fresh, local produce.
I was surprised to find locally-grown strawberries already at Orlando’s Produce on Mexico Road. The berries just started arriving a few days ago from southern Illinois, I was told.
While not as sweet as June strawberries from Lakeview Farms in St. Peters, my family still declared them the best they have had in months. They are juicy, soft and red throughout—not hard like the berries trucked in from California that we have had all winter long.
We ate an entire pound at dinner time. They were that good.
Strawberry salsa is a great way to showcase fresh berries. The salsa is great with tortilla chips, but it also turns grilled chicken breast or fish into something special. Grill or broil the chicken or fish and top with the fresh salsa. I am also thinking it would make a great condiment inside a wrap.
The following salsa recipe is adapted from Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Strawberry Salsa found at allrecipes.com. Any balsamic vinegar will work well, however my favorite comes from a store in St. Charles called Di Olivas. They sell 18 month aged balsamic vinegar that rivals some that a friend brought back from Italy.
The strawberry daiquiri recipe is one of the easiest ever. No need to rely on the sugary sweet pre-made mix from the grocery store. This one is light and refreshing and you can add sugar to taste. I prefer mine without the added sugar, but my taster likes a sweeter drink.
The daiquiri is also wonderful without alcohol added, for a refreshing drink anytime.
Makes about 3 cups
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- ½ cup minced red onion
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 16 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove from the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Mock Strawberry Daiquiri
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced and chilled in the freezer for about an hour
- 6 ounces lemon lime carbonated soda
- 6 ounces spiced rum
- ½ cup super fine sugar (more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the berries)
- 4 cups ice
Blend slightly frozen berries, soda, rum and sugar in a blender until the berries are pureed. Add ice and blend well. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish with a fresh berry or mint leaf.