Our family loves strawberries and we could eat them every day. I have to buy at least two pounds at a time because the kids will eat a whole pound between the two of them in one sitting. So I was super excited to get an invitation from my friend Holly of June Cleaver Nirvana to participate in a Dallas blogger reception hosted by the California Strawberry Commission. And it only boosted my excitement more when I learned that it would be at the Milestone Culinary Arts and Viking Cooking School in Dallas.
Look, Honey! This Viking kitchen is still here from the last time I visited the Viking Cooking School. I know you missed getting it for me at Christmas but my birthday is coming up...
There was a full spread of incredible foods all made with fresh strawberries.
We started off with some Strawberry Gazpacho. I've never had a gazpacho. I think I've just been intimidated by such an odd name. But this was delicious and refreshing!
Then we had Strawberry and Taleggio Paninos. Who came up with this idea? I would have never thought to try strawberries on a sandwich but the flavors really worked great together. I could eat these everyday.
Strawberry Caprese Salad
For our main course, we were served Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Strawberry Salsa. Here are the basic tacos.
One of the culinary students helped to prepare these by topping them with the delightful Strawberry Salsa.
Take a look at this salsa! It is so fresh and so delicious. It could really be used in so many ways...or just eaten straight with a spoon!
There were also several choices in alcholic and non-alcholic strawberry drinks.
I tried two different drinks and really loved the Basil Strawberry Mojito. I mean, REALLY loved it! Who would have thought basil and strawberries would taste so great together in a drink?
Of course, you can't skip dessert. We are here about strawberries, ya know! For dessert, we were treated to delicious Strawberry Sliders. These were just heavenly! I wondered how many I could pile on my plate without looking greedy...
We heard about Holly's trip to California where she walked through the strawberry fields and learned about the process involved in getting the strawberries from crop to your table.
We also heard from Dave Grotto, dietitican. He said that only 42% of Americans eat the amount of fruit they should each day. He clarified that fresh vs. frozen is about the same healthwise then he talked about some of the health benefits of strawberries.
Strawberries are high in Vitamin C content which helps repair collagen to keep your skin firm. They are also high in potassium which can prevent hypertension and stroke. He also suggested that adding one cup of strawberries per day can help improve memory.
We even got to participate on a Skype call with a real California strawberry farmer to learn more about the growing process. Carolyn O'Donnell with the California Strawberry Commision also spoke with us. Of course, this was a blogger event so everyone was taking pictures to share on their blogs.
The Strawberry Commission gave me a couple of cookbooks and I'd love the share my favorite recipe with you. This one is from "Strawberry Recipes for Everyday". Keep reading to see how you can win your own copy of this book!
Strawberry Shortcake Sliders
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
6 cups stemmed fresh California strawberries, divided
1 cup simple syrup.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter to fine particles. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups cream (enough so that dough holds together and is soft but not sticky). On a floured surface, knead dough lightly a few times to form a ball. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. With a 2 inch rouch cutter, cut dough into 12 circles. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.
In a saucepan, simmer 4 cups strawberris with simple syrup until jam-like consistency; cool. Slice remaining strawberries. Whip 3/4 cup cream with vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form.
To serve, cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Place 3 shortcake bottoms on each of 4 plates. Top with cooked strawberries, whipped cream and sliced strawberries, dividing ingredients evenly. Place tops on shortcakes; dust with confectioner's sugar and sprinkle with mint.
I had a delightful time with other Dallas bloggers and the California Strawberry Commission.
Would you like to learn some great strawberry recipes too? The California Strawberry Commission gave me an extra copy of their cookbook, Strawberry Recipes for Everyday and I'd love to give it away to one of my readers. There are several ways to enter:
1."Like" the California Strawberry Commission on Facebook and come back to leave me a comment that you have entered.
2. Follow the California Strawberry Commission on Twitter and leave me a comment below that you did.
3. Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect (see sidebar) and leave a comment below letting me know that you did.
Contest ends Wednesday, July 6th at midnight CST. Winner will be chosen by random number generator and I will contact that person directly. Check back here in the comment section if you'd like to find out who the winner was.
For more infomation on strawberries, please check out the Strawberry Commission website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
I was not finacially compensated for this post and was not asked to write it. I was lavished with lots of delicious strawberries from the California Strawberry Commission and given some cookbooks to keep and to share.