Last week I left you with the tag line, “California strawberries are for shipping, Oklahoma strawberries are for eating.” I had at that point two very full quarts of Oklahoma strawberries from the Urban Agrarian sitting in my refrigerator and my family had been enjoying…berries with creme fraiche, strawberries with homemade pound cake, berries with whipped creme and cookies, berries with breakfast, and – well, you name it. It seemed that every time I walked by the kitchen my feet would take over my body searching for berries, my arms would shoot out from my sides to open the refrigerator, and my hands would grab a strawberry then hurl it toward my mouth. Bliss.
I just love Oklahoma strawberries.
Unfortunately, my shipment from the Food Coop this week came in damaged. They were already in a severe state of atrophy and I only saved about half from one container, less from the other. So I put them with some friends: my first rhubarb harvest this year. I whipped up a quick compote and my family ate it all on homemade buttermilk biscuits. So, THAT was a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
To make your own, simply clean and chop 2 large, 3 med or four small stalks of rhubarb with about 6-8 medium sized strawberries. Toss in a sauce pan with 1/4 c. of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. This mixture will at first be a little dry, then too wet, then will cook down to a perfect thickness of spreadability.
I took a short trip with my husband and two friends to Northeast Oklahoma this past weekend. Encouraged by the cool Agritourism “you pick” interactive map, I looked for strawberry fields to stop by in order to supplement my waning inventory. I spoke with “Buckets of Berries” owner, Dianne, and she sadly informed me that they were about 90% down on their harvest this year because of the weather. They WOULD, however, have blueberries and blackberries. In fact, she said that was pretty much the story across the state. Oh, sadness.
Although I may be nearing the end of my strawberry feasts, my garden is still growing like crazy and so I picked a few things for our trip. Green onions, spinach and Swiss chard were included in the bag of goodies along with my farm eggs, Miaki mushrooms and baby arugula from the Urban Agrarian. The mushrooms and spinach were used in a scrambled egg mixture for breakfast – wow. Cathy added some English cheddar and with bacon and coffee, we sat there and said, “Mmmmm for quite some time.” From an outsiders point of view, it might have appeared we were meditating.
I love dining al fresco style, and we did this twice while away. We were staying at Keystone Lake and had booked two of their “honeymoon” cabins. Our last meal consisted of charbroiled rib-eyes from a local beef procured in Duncan, Oklahoma. Accompanying them were roasted fingerling potatoes, oranges, pineapples, tomatoes with baby arugula and sauteed chard. Here’s how Cathy makes it:
Next, serve and eat with friends, wine, tea, air, and scenery.
Cathy used to be a catering chef at Nonna’s and is now the chef at Cafe Brocatto in Moore. It’s nice having her around in the kitchen. It’s even nicer sitting outside with friends eating food we cooked together.
To wrap up this post I’ve included a few photos of our exploring this weekend, and a road trip I took on Monday to collect data. That was a Southeast trip, not a Northeast trip. I hope your week is full of wonderful things, and I hope for those of you who are able…that includes some homegrown food.