Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Post Day: Barb Freda of Babette Feasts

Greetings! Today is the annual guest post day of the blogathon where we are encouraged to swap posts with another blogger. I'm delighted to be swapping today with Barb Freda of Babette Feasts. Barb's blog was one of my discoveries during last year's blogathon, so I'm very pleased to have her here. She cooks, she tangos, she participates in triathlons, and she writes about all of these on Babette Feasts. You'll find my post over there today on a delicious South Indian shrimp dish from a sadly out-of-print cookbook.

And below, several worthy and welcome additions to my recipe collections here. Mmm, strawberries!

Strawberry Season

Welcome to my guest post for Sue! I blog over at, where I write about any and everything foodie, even when I have to make a stretch to make it fit—and lately I’ve been veering off-course now and then, but it’s all good . . . please come on over and visit now and then.

You probably all know that Sue is part of Blogathon2011, which is how we’ve come to guest post for each other (if you visit today, you will see Sue there). May 16 is guest poster day…so here I am.

I wanted to write about Strawberry Rhubarb pie (well, I really wanted to EAT strawberry rhubarb pie, and writing about it would have given me a reason to eat it), but when I shopped, there was no rhubarb to be found.

(An aside. Years ago, a piece of trivia entered my family’s folklore history. We were told in crowd scenes in movies, when the crowd is supposed to be murmuring as one, that all the extras say: Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb…etc. I have no idea if it’s true, but to this day when we make reference to noise (for example), someone often can be found muttering rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb. True.)

So. Instead, I want to highlight a bunch of strawberry dishes I’ve made.

Most recently, it was my daughter’s gift to me on Mother’s Day: Stuffed French Toast.

Recipe Procedure:

1. Make your fave French toast egg-coating recipe.*

2. Whip softened cream cheese with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread some of the cream cheese on the upturned side of two pieces of bread. Add sliced strawberries to one piece, then sandwich the berries closed by placing the second piece of bread, cream-cheese-side-down, on top of the berries. Press the bread slices together, just enough so they adhere to each other.

3. Dip the entire sandwich in the egg batter to coat the bread on both sides.

4. Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium heat. Place French toast in skillet and brown until golden on each side.

5.To serve, add strawberries to the top of the sandwich and dust all with powdered sugar.

6. Indulge.

*I have always loved Cook’s Illustrated’s “perfect” French toast batter, which combines 3 tablespoons melted butter with 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, a bit of sugar (I use turbinado for extra flavor), a splash of vanilla, a dash cinnamon and 1/4 cup flour. The flour seems to give the bread something to adhere to…or visa versa, the flour seems to give the batter a WAY to adhere to the bread . . . either way, it gets fabulously crispy and this is the way I go all the time, even if my dear daughter did NOT go that way on Mother’s Day.

The second strawberry recipe I want you to try comes from Dorie Greenspan and I made this the first time when I was blogging (sporadically) with the Tuesdays with Dorie group. (my name is Barb and I am a failed Tuesdays with Dorie Blogger). Dorie’s La Palette Strawberry Tart is one of the best ways to showcase the berries: a shortbread crust (I’ve been known to ask how could there be anything better: butter and sugar held together by a bit of flour. I love me some shortbread.) topped with lightly sugared strawberries. Head to A Year from Oak Cottage to see the write-up the original “picker” did…and here is MY tart. This is one of my all-time faves, really.

Strawberries showed up last year on Babette Feasts in the form of a strawberry milkshake…ooh, what a treat…Doesn’t it sound so GOOD??

All in all? Enjoy Strawberry Season. It is fleeting. Make some jam, some ice cream, a milkshake, the tart above, some French toast and when you cannot use them all up, lay the strawberries out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze them, then, once frozen, bag them up in a zip-close bag. Come January, you’ll have a burst of summer to brighten a winter’s meal.


Alexandra said...

Thanks for writing about strawberries. We have a strawberry festival in our town. I used to love eating strawberries when I lived in France, but find that American strawberries, that taste good, are harder to find. But, most important, we need to avoid strawberries with pesticide residue. I only buy organic strawberries now. They are a bit more expensive, but I know I am not increasing my body burden of toxic chemicals.

Babette said...

Glad you stopped by, Alexandra. I find the difference between the strawberries at the farmers' markets and those in the store mind blowing. While I want organic anyway, berries that were picked a few miles away beat berries that were trucked in from thousands of miles away hands down, any day, every day.

Barb (a.k.a. Babette)

Anjuli said...

Oh I must definitely try this- I've seen these and wondered HOW they are made!! I had thought they would be more complicated- but am happy to know this is not the case.

As for strawberries- since moving to the US- it has been wonderful getting introduced to all the things one can make with strawberries-- and how it is also wonderful just to eat them plain! Wonderful fruit!

Sue Dickman said...

The timing for this post is excellent, as the strawberry plants in my garden are getting their first flowers. (Admittedly, it will be a few weeks before the berries appear, especially given the cool wet weather we're having.) And I just bought more plants to put in, hoping for more berries next year. I've never attempted a tart before, but now I'm definitely thinking about it!

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