Tuesday, May 23, 2006

why i love the mountains, part... i lost track.

there's almost nothing better than fresh-picked north carolina mountain strawberries.

unless it's fresh-picked north carolina mountain strawberries adorned with melted dark chocolate.

i tend to wait to get my berries. i mean, i wait all year. i refuse to buy "fresh" berries from california that are a) not my favorite variety, b) not well-ripened and therefore c) not as sweet. plus the added cost and waste of shipping doesn't make me a happy camper, although i do indulge in frozen berries in the off-season. something about the texture makes them go quite nicely on pancakes, waffles, and french toast. oh and i ate frozen strawberries in buckets when i was pregnant.

i've only gone through two flats so far (ok three, but the first flat was from south carolina so it doesn't really count.) last saturday i visited the edney farm a couple miles from the house. their berries are towards the small side (which i don't mind) but so juicy and sweet that prepping them for pies wasn't hardly a chore at all. by the time i got around to making the berry puree that holds the pie together, i'd about gotten sick of strawberries altogether.

said aversion lasted about three hours before i was back in the basket.

the aesthetic is seductive - a huge shiny green bowl half full of dark red berries, waiting to be bent to my will, the indefinable effluence of sugar and flavonoids wafting up to entice me. (a dry spring, so sweeter berries in north carolina this year.) i mean, i love the apples, too, and i look forward to the blackberries, but this is pure gourmet heaven. no white in the middle, no hollowed-out berries past their prime, no mooshy ones rotting in the bottom of the basket. yum.

brian has said that i'm not allowed to get any more flats until i've finished all the berries in the house, including the frozen ones. duckie is happily helping in this endeavor.

except he expects me to use the frozen ones, too. eat the frozen ones? my ass. those are for daquiries. besides, i still haven't tried mcconnell farms. that's this weekend.

my usual berry concoction is your standard JOC strawberry pie - fresh berries bound together with a simple berry puree. less sugar needed 'cause the berries were so sweet this year. i did one for brian (always the traditionalist when it comes to pie) and one for me, an experiment. i used a chocolate cookie crust with the same filling, then drizzled dark chocolate sauce over the whole thing, with a healthy (well, you know what i mean) spoonful of cool whip on the side.

it was like a chocolate-covered strawberry, except in a pie.

will have to try it on shortcake this weekend. i bet it won't suck.

if you've got a favorite strawberry recipes, now it the time to share, folks. i'm all about the new stuff. two pies and some shortcake ain't gonna cut it. although a cheesecake, now... that might be worth some effort.


SB Gypsy said...

Oh GOD, strawberries! Ours are not in yet, but you have my mouth watering for them now.

James said...

I LOOOVE blackberries AND the mountains. Going backpacking this year after a year hiatus. I'm soooo excited!!