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Strawberry Days Forever

Ideas for the Spring Harvest

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can incorporate those ruby red, delicious, and nutritious berries into any part of your meal.

Strawberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp finely chopped shallots or red onions, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 Tbsp finely chopped chives, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cumin, and cook until the shallots have softened. Add 2 pints of cleaned, hulled, and quartered strawberries and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and cook until there are only a few tablespoons of liquid left in the pan. Add ^ cup of balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir to pick up any bits on the bottom, and simmer until thickened, like a glaze. Stir in 2 tsp fresh lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Perfect as a glaze for chicken, pork, or duck.

Chilled Melon and Berry Soup
Cut one ripe cantaloupe in half. With one half, scoop melon balls with a melonballer or small spoon and chill for two to six hours. Scoop out seeds and peel the other half of the melon and cut into chunks. Place melon chunks in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed. Add 1 tsp fresh ginger, / Tbsp lime zest, 1/ Tbsp fresh lime juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Pour into a pitcher and chill. Rinse and hull 1 pint of strawberries. Place in a blender with about ^ cup water and puree. Strain strawberry puree to remove seeds and chill. To serve, divide melon soup in 4 bowls. Spoon in melon balls. Using a spoon, swirl the strawberry puree, in a spiral, over the soup. Garnish with fresh mint. Serves 4

Big Spinach Salad
For the strawberry vinaigrette, combine / cup sliced hulled strawberries, 2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a blender and puree. In a large bowl, toss 4 cups of rinsed and dried spinach leaves with the strawberry vinaigrette. Healthy and delicious add-ins: grilled chicken, crumbled goat cheese, toasted slivered almonds, dried strawberries, cranberries, or diced apples.

Christine Wansleben, chef and owner of Mise En Place Cooking School, lives in the West End, where she cooks up a storm with her husband and their twins.
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