Carolina Kitchen

Five from the Field: A five-course menu featuring SC’s ripe red fruits, strawberries

sardis@thestate.com Twitter: @foodsusanMay 14, 2014 

  • Where to find local strawberries

    Cottle Strawberry Farm, 2533 Trotter Road in Hopkins, (803) 695-1714, www.cottlestrawberryfarm.com

    Other Cottle U-Pick locations: 4105 Dubise Siding Drive, Sumter, (803) 469-3191; 3712 W. Palmetto St., Florence, (843) 317-0031

    Roadside stands: Columbia: 7507 Garners Ferry Road; 5143 Forest Drive; The Cutout at Sandhills, Clemson Road; Bower Parkway between Publix and Petsmart; West Columbia: 18351/2 Sunset Blvd.

    Farmers Markets: Rosewood Market and Deli, Sandhills Farmers Market, Irmo Farmers Market, Kershaw County Farmers Market, Forest Acres Farmers Market and Lake Carolina Farmers Market


    How to save fresh strawberries

    1. Freeze them whole: wash and hull the strawberries and place on a lined cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, they can be removed from the cookie sheet and placed in freezer bags or containers. Keeps 2 months.

    2. Use sugar: Wash and halve the berries. Using a ratio of 1/2 cup sugar to 1 quart of berries, mix sugar and berries in a bowl (careful not to bruise the berries) and let mixture sit until sugar dissolves. Place mixture in freezer container and seal. Keeps 6 months.

    3. As a puree: Wash and hull strawberries and then puree in a blender. Pour puree into freezer container or individual ice cube tray squares. Keeps 6 months.

    4. As ice cubes: Wash and hull strawberries and cut berries in half. Place a strawberry half in each square of an ice cube tray and fill with water (or lemonade). Use to flavor drinks on hot days or as treats for the kids. Keeps 2 months.

    5. Oven-dry them: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wash and hull strawberries and cut berries in half. Lay fleshy side up on a cookie sheet, do not cram berries on sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Turn oven down to warm and place strawberries in oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, open oven door for about 2 minutes to allow air in to circulate the heat, repeat this process for another hour (in oven 30 minutes/open door 2 minutes, oven 30/open door 2). After an hour and a half, flip strawberries and cook for another hour and a half, opening the oven every 30 minutes during the process (or, if you have a convection oven, just turn on the fan and set timer for 3 hours). Once strawberries have dried out, take them out of the oven and let cool before storing.

We’re getting to that time of year when South Carolina farmers begin bringing seasonal produce to market. To celebrate this, I will be periodically taking a single fresh-from-the-farm ingredient and creating a multi-course menu to highlight that one item.

First up: strawberries. We’re in the middle of strawberry season now (it runs mid-April to mid-June) and Cottle Strawberry Farm is the largest grower in the Midlands with farm locations in Hopkins, Sumter and Florence.

My sister and I have aged out of picking the berries ourselves, opting for the convenience of a nearby roadside stand (besides, Shari would like to “taste-test” in the fields ... quality control, ya know).

Anyway, I’ve selected a range of sweet and savory recipes that I hope that you enjoy ... I know that my co-workers did.


Strawberry Basil Refresher

One cocktail

2 large strawberries

3 leaves torn basil leaves

1 Tbsp sugar

1 ounce gin

1/2 ounce lemon juice

2 ounces club soda

Muddle strawberries, basil leaves and sugar in a small glass. Stir in gin and lemon juice. Add ice, stir and top with club soda.

From www.homesweetiones.com


Roasted Strawberry and Asparagus Salad with Strawberry-Tahini Dressing

Serves 4

For salad

1 bunch asparagus

1 pound fresh strawberries

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Baby spinach leaves (10-12 ounces)

Handful of raw, unsalted, chopped almonds

Feta or goat cheese (optional)

For dressing

4 Tbsp sesame tahini

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup

4 Tablespoons of reserved strawberry balsamic liquid from above

1 to 3 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces, discarding the very bottom woody portion. Rinse strawberries, remove stems and cut in half.

On one rimmed baking sheet, toss chopped asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On a second rimmed baking sheet, toss chopped strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Put both baking sheets in the oven to roast. After 10 minutes, remove the strawberries and set aside to cool. Give the asparagus a stir and continue roasting for another 5 minutes. Remove asparagus and set aside to cool.

Carefully transfer cooled strawberries to a colander or strainer set over a measuring cup or bowl. You want to reserve the strawberry/balsamic liquid to use in the dressing. Also collect any juices that are left in the pan.

Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine. If you do not have 4 Tablespoons of the strawberry-balsamic liquid, use plain balsamic vinegar to make up the difference. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin dressing to desired consistency.

For the salad, toss the spinach with the strawberry-tahini dressing. Divide the dressed spinach onto plates and top with the roasted strawberries, asparagus and almonds and cheese (if using). Serve.

From The Floating Kitchen


Whipped Strawberry Butter

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 strawberries, finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until incorporated and the butter turns a shade of pink.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

From The Pretty Bee


Rosemary Pork Chips with Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

Serves 4

4 bone-in pork chops

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

For Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

1 cup chopped strawberries

1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary

Salt and pepper

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towel. Season with rosemary, salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Saute pork chops for 5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Allow chops to rest for 3 minutes prior to cutting.

For sauce: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the strawberries, brown sugar, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes thick.

Serve over pork chops or on the side as a dipping sauce

From The Hungry Housewife


Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Serves 8

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of lemon zest

For topping

1/4 stick (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup regular sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

Make topping first: Place butter and sugar in a saucepan. Heat and stir until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. DO NOT STIR (stirring will cause the mixture to turn grainy and you’ll have to start over).

Pour into oiled 8-inch round cake pan.

Arrange strawberry slices over the butter-sugar mixture in a single layer.

For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together eggs, sugar and salt. Add melted butter, yogurt, vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix to incorporate.

Add flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Do not over mix. Pour batter over strawberry layer. Place pan in oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

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