Strawberries used to be such a rare treat because the only time they were available to me was when I’d make my yearly trip to Baguio in December. Even then, they were quite expensive, which was why I never got to buy more than a few baskets at a time. Now I’ve discovered that they’re available in supermarkets during these months, although I do recommend getting your rations at Farmer’s Market in Cubao. There, a quarter of a kilo is a steal at P35-40. Clean them as soon as you get home by soaking them in a bowl of water for ten minutes. Remove the hull (those green leaves) by firmly pulling on it with your thumb and forefinger. Refrigerate until ready to eat or use in a dessert.
Some of the things I do with strawberries are:
Â· blend with milk, sugar, and ice cubes for a refreshing shake;
Â· incorporate coarsely mashed berries and mix it with cheesecake batter for a nice cheesecake variation;
Â· mix pureed berries and powdered sugar to use as a coulis or dessert sauce;
Â· make strawberry fans with a sharp knife and using it as a garnish on top of hot crÃ¨me brulee;
Â· whip some heavy cream, sweeten it with powdered sugar, and serve with whole berries (ah, now there’s an aphrodisiac if I ever saw one!);
Â· dip into melted chocolate (white is a nice change) and I’ve got my own version of chocolate-covered berries!
0f course feel free to just eat them plain if you’re too impatient or lazy to toil in the kitchen ”“ nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re going to do this, you can bring out the flavor of the berries by mixing them with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and some white sugar. I know it sounds gross, as I know it did to me when I first heard about this. But give it a try. It is amazing what balsamic vinegar can do to strawberries.
The mother seed
Avocados on the other hand, have an undeserved reputation for being fattening. True, one avocado has roughly 306 calories and 30 fat grams, way more than most other fruits. But only 4 of those fat grams come from saturated fat, and this fruit has no cholesterol. It’s the healthy kind of fat that this fruit has, and believe me, some dishes cannot do without it ”“ guacamole, anyone?
Avocados are also delectable as shakes, ice cream, in salads, as a sandwich filling with alfalfa sprouts and some tuna (hey, be adventurous!). Opened avocados turn brown because of its exposure to oxygen. One way to avoid this is to sprinkle some calamansi or lemon juice ”“ the acidity will counteract the browning. Or, if you’ve only used one half of the avocado and want to the keep the unused portion in the fridge, make sure that you store it with the seed. Apparently this method ensures that the avocado doesn’t spoil or turn brown easily because it believes that it’s still “whole.” Yes, there is a science to food.
It’s not sex, but Tex Mex
I’m going to share an avocado recipe with you that has been in my family for years. It’s a 10-layer dip called Tex Mex, and it is absolutely divine. The intermingling of flavors is a taste bud explosion that will leave your guests asking, nay, begging for more. If you do make this, write in and tell me how it went. Enjoy!
Red beans soaked and boiled till tender
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 avocados, mashed
2 packs taco mix (10 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped olives
1 cup chopped white onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Layer one by one in a serving dish and serve with tortilla chips.