Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Strawberry Season...Berry Nice!

Each summer, my family would head to Long Beach Island (LBI, as it is now known...there's an acronym for everything!) for a month long vacation.  We all looked forward to our "home away from home," so to speak, but out of everyone, I think I looked forward to the time, "down the shore," the most. 

As a kid, I was allergic to oranges, chocolate and strawberries.  Each time I would eat any of those items, I would break out in a rash on my elbows and behind.  Scratch, scratch, scratch!  It was terribly itchy and embarrassing.  The spring time was especially hard, because Easter brought an abundance of chocolates, and I was allowed one chocolate item, and the rest was waxy white chocolate.  Easter was followed by strawberry season, and I got the double wammy of bum rashes, and I couldn't wait to get down the shore to the sea water, as it relieved my itchy skin within days of arriving.

Now that I am emerging on the dreaded 5-0 (!), I'm happy to report that I'm no longer susceptible to those food allergies, and I'm in full swing of developing great recipes for both strawberries and chocolate.  So, with the opening of Lewis' Farm this weekend, for strawberry season, I have my latest creation below.  This is a low fat high flavor recipe and can be whipped up in 5 minutes!  The printable version will be posted later today.

Serves 4

4 cups of sliced strawberries (save a few whole berries for garnish)
1 small container of ricotta cheese (part skim)
1 orange for juice and zest
4 lady fingers or light vanilla crunchy cookie, broken into large pieces
1/4 cup of Grand Marnier (optional)  You can substitute more orange juice for the Grand Marnier.
4 mint leaves

In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, the juice of half of the orange, and a tablespoon of orange zest and beat on high speed, until smooth.

In four small bowls add the broken cookies (one broken cookie per bowl) and drizzle juice from the other half of the orange on top of the cookies in each bowl.  Drizzle a teaspoon of the Grand Marnier on top of the cookies (1 tsp per bowl).  Add to each bowl 2 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese.  Top each bowel with 1 cup of sliced strawberries and drizzle 2 teaspoons of Grand Marnier on top of the strawberries in each bowl.  Garnish with a teaspoon of ricotta, per bowl, a little bit of orange zest, a whole strawberry and a mint leave.


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