Tag Archives: strawberries

summertime vespers with strawberry, rhubarb + fennel | loud flavors, loud voices


Because it’s summer. Because the air is heavy with heat and nostalgia.
Because this is what we have to keep remembering, the way our bodies
know the waves, the amphibian inside us unafraid of going under,
of what ripples beneath the surface. Because waiting on the dock
for the signal to jump is like thinking someone else is responsible. Because
there is no one else responsible. Because despite the current,
it is possible to swim against it, or even stand, inverted, balancing
on a slippery mulch of murk and mud, and stay perfectly still.
Because when the world tips from view, we have to do everything we can
to tip it back.

— Maya Stein, “The Amphibian Inside Us”


This poem founds its way to my inbox this week. I subscribe to a series, “10-Line Tuesdays“, curated by poet, Maya Stein. Her weekly words always stir something deep within my sub-consciousness, evoking undulating layers of emotions. This week’s beautiful lines struck a chord and prompted me to share my thoughts on the current events that have been filling our feeds, provoking our thoughts, and, for some, motivating us to stand up, speak out, and ask questions.

I don’t have live television here at the house, so I learned about the recent shootings last week and the ensuing reactions, via Twitter. As I scrolled through videos, comments, and photos, tears fell. I stopped my current task of chopping strawberries, prep-work for this very blog post. Everything I was doing that moment seemed trite and forced.

I was speechless. Speechless to the point of lying low on social media for nearly five days. Speechless to the point of taking a four-hour road trip out to the western slope of Colorado, with no radio, no cell reception, no television, no discussion.

Just silence.

summer vespers with strawberry, rhubarb & fennel | holly & florasummer vespers with strawberry, rhubarb & fennel | holly & flora summer vespers with strawberry, rhubarb & fennel | holly & flora

Sometimes, silence is just what we need to contemplate, to sift through our emotions and thoughts and rage. Despite its important role, silence cannot perpetuate change. It’s ultimately ineffective in the long-run, a dead-end street. Once I got back home on Tuesday, I spent the afternoon at a coffee shop, catching up on some reading and emails. Somehow, it’s so much less distracting there. I read through bravely written essays, comments online, and posts from some of my fellow bloggers, who used their platform of influence to speak up. To Em, Lily, and the many others who have opened their hearts this past week, thank you for leading the discussion.

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port-soaked strawberry spritzes | symbiosis

I couldn’t get my act together to post a Fourth of July-inspired cocktail recipe for you. I simply didn’t have the forethought to plan out a celebratory and timely, red-white-and-blue cocktail. I did, however, make something seasonally sweet and slightly bitter, albeit slightly patriotic in its presentation. It’s all about that balance.

Let’s first take a moment and talk about booze-soaked fruit. As I type this post, I currently have six different fruity and boozy infusions sitting on my kitchen counter. Ten, if you include the kombucha in its secondary fermentation state. Why the urge to take something already delicious in its current form, especially the seasonal treats we are all soaking up right now, and add even more dimension, complexity, and {the best part} longevity?

Perhaps it’s the aspect of preserving something and extending its life and flavor, akin to taking a current mood and carving it into a permanent memory. A means of capturing life. Booze extends the life of fruits, and, in turn, the fruit imbues its aromas and flavors into something that lets it live a little longer.

Fruit, immortalized. Those clever, little things.

port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora

Booze and fruit have an efficient, symbiotic relationship together. Even lately, I’ve found myself tossing around questions like, “Do my current actions align with my future goals?” and “How can I use my current life situation to enable me to take the next step?” Just after I woke up this morning, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a NYT piece on monotasking {thanks, Sherrie!}. I think many of us are seeing that multitasking actually results in less fulfilling work, fewer completed tasks, and more overwhelm and exhaustion.

I can definitely relate.

There was one point yesterday where I actually spun around in circles trying to remember what I was even doing in the basement after leaving my computer screen moments prior. I had about 34 browsers up on my computer, and I was trying to code photos for the website, while brainstorming another recipe, while editing photos from earlier in the day, while Skyping with my sister, while keeping the cat off my desk, while scarfing down a forgotten, slightly stale sandwich, while checking Instagram, while …

… while not getting much actual work done at all.

port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora #cocktails #spritzes #strawberries port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora #cocktails #spritzes #strawberries port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora #cocktails #spritzes #strawberries

I know I’m not alone here, but let’s temporarily get back to those boozy, fruity situations. I’ve been fixated on spritzes, since summer’s arrival. They’re fizzy and generally light, but they also swing toward the bitter side of the flavor spectrum. A classic spritz is Aperol, Prosecco, sparkling water, and an orange slice, served in a wine glass on the rocks. That citrus-y, bright orange, bubbly cocktail wins me over poolside and garden-side every. single. time.

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strawberry shortcake {dairy-free and gluten-free}

I am really having a difficult time focusing and staying on task lately. In fact, I have an imposing deadline looming over me right this very moment, as I type. I am definitely placing some of the blame on this crazy heat wave for at least some of my lack of enthusiasm. We all know that we feel better, once we’ve tackled our projects, so why do we procrastinate and endure that itchy, uncomfortable feeling of putting things off?

I’ve brought up this topic before; it is definitely a recurring theme in my life. I find that I frequently become the most creative and productive, when I am pushing off something big, but doing that is a double-edged sword. I end up taking on more projects or coming up with great ideas, while postponing that all-important one. That’s where these shortcakes came in yesterday: a tasty and distracting diversion that supplanted my original goal of completing three writing assignments. The shortcakes turned out amazingly well, and I temporarily felt accomplished. About those writing assignments? They are still inchoate, but I am at least enjoying something tasty, as I scramble to finish my goal tonight.

I definitely enjoy my fair share of butter, cheese, and cream. I am finding, however, that my body truly feels better, when I abstain from dairy. It is just rather daunting, as a baker and cook, to realize that you have to change some of your practices and learn how to create delicious food without those components. I feel like I have just mastered baking, so it is a challenge to learn new techniques and find substitutes, so that my treats still taste great and have a palatable consistency. I have had quite a few failures, but this particular dessert came through. Baby steps. And my boyfriend, who is the biggest critic on all things delicious, gave it his well-earned nod of approval.

I didn’t even need to add a lot of sugar because the berries are tasting amazing right now. If only I could grow some in my garden! For some reason, they just don’t like the soil in my backyard. That’s okay, though. There are plenty of other things that are coming along quite nicely right now. Zucchini is just about to take off, and the dill and parsley are cranking. Salads have become a daily staple around here, which balances out my craving for sweet things.


strawberry shortcake {dairy-free and gluten-free}


  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 pound organic strawberries
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • coconut whipped cream {see recipe below}

This recipe is a slight adaptation from the Nourishing Home. I stumbled upon this blog, when I was looking for almond flour shortcake recipes, and I am completely inspired by the recipes I encountered. Alright, ready for some shortcakes? Me, too.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla.
  4. Separately whisk together the eggs and incorporate into the coconut oil mixture.
  5. Mix the coconut oil mixture into the almond flour mixture. I used a fork to break apart any clumps and distribute the moisture evenly. See the texture in the photo with the closeup of the fork.
  6. Form the shortcakes into six equally sized balls of dough and place on a parchment paper-lined baking pan. I flattened them out slightly. Kelly mentions that you can roll out the dough and use a cutter for interesting shapes. I opted for the drop biscuit approach.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown in color.
  8. Let shortcakes cool before serving.
  9. While your shortcakes are baking, you can assemble the strawberry topping. Simply hull the strawberries and slice them up. Place them in a bowl and add the raw sugar and lemon juice. The sugar will incorporate with the berries and become a lovely consistency for your shortcakes.
  10. Once the shortcakes have cooled, split them in halves and layer with strawberries and a dollop or two of whipped coconut cream.


coconut whipped cream


  • one can {15 ounces} full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • agave nectar to taste {2-3 teaspoons}

This was my second attempt at making coconut whipped cream. The first attempt was a fail because I purchased the wrong coconut milk. Be sure to select full-fat version, from the can, without any guar gum. I credit Angela from Oh She Glows for my success. Her tutorial on how to prepare coconut whipped cream is comprehensive and easy to understand. I won’t attempt duplicating her steps. Just go to her site and bookmark the recipe!

Simply refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight. When you are ready to make the whipped cream, invert the can, open the top, and drain out the watery substance into a separate container. {You can use that leftover, nutrient-rich coconut water for your smoothies!} You will be left with the pure cream at the bottom of the can. Spoon this out into your mixer and blast until creamy and smooth. Add any sweetener or vanilla, and enjoy! It is my new staple in the kitchen. I keep a few cans in my fridge, so I will always have a vegan whipped cream option on hand.

Well, send me some luck tonight! I am successfully caffeinated and prepped for a marathon writing session. I hope everyone’s fourth of July celebrations were fun and filled with all things celebratory and delicious. Mine surely was; although, I didn’t go out to view any fireworks. Kinda bummed about that, but there’s always next year. Cheers! And let me know of any favorite gluten-free recipes that you’ve been enjoying lately. I am upping my repertoire weekly!

pickled spring strawberries + a refreshing gin cocktail

I am just emerging from an unintentional five-day-in-a-row staycation, and I can say I officially feel relaxed. Scratch that. I feel more invigorated. It was a slow week at work, so my current schedule reflected it {sadly, my next paycheck will reflect this quieter week, as well}. I find it challenging to stop and slow down and do nothing. These past few days, however, have been influential in getting me to do more of the “slowing down” stuff.

Slowing down and appreciating everything else that is happening, when I habitually bustle around, forget to breathe, and struggle with sleep. I feel like I successfully hit the “reset” button and am ready to get back to my schedule with a different and healthier perspective. On my first couple of days off, I found myself running into another room with an idea, getting distracted, forgetting why I came into the room in the first place, and looping back, only to greet the floor and sigh. Even cry. A lot. I felt like one of those wind-up dolls that smile and nod and circle and then collapse.

I am sitting here at my computer, listening to Foster the People’s latest album, sipping a glass of rosé {one that Steve wanted to save and declared as “hands-off” – oops!}, and trying to focus on the important things. What are those things to me? Taking the time to daily observe my garden’s progress, leaving my phone behind, refusing the urge to Instagram every moment, crafting a handwritten card instead of sending a choppy text, letting go of the should-haves and could-haves, and simply sitting still and noticing my thoughts and their patterns. I am really going to try and continue this intention, for the next few weeks are going to fly by, and I want to capture them and make them mine.

pickled strawberries with tarragonI just received the final confirmation for my trip to Burgundy, France, today, and I am beyond excited. I don’t even know what to expect. I will be leaving in less than two weeks and will be touring my absolute favorite wine region of France and visiting some of its most historic and heralded vineyard sites. I will miss Steve’s birthday, which is the 20th, but he is actually traveling to California for another wine-centric trip. I think I am excused from not being there for his celebration!

In the midst of all of my studying of Burgundy’s regions, making last-minute travel arrangements, poring over my lean bank statement, and fitting in my writing for the Kitchn, these past few days have been a blessing. I am actually happy that I took the time to do nothing, to stare up at the clouds, and to tinker around in my garden and kitchen, the places where I feel most at home.

freshly cut strawberries with tarragon, salt, pepperThe strawberries here have been spectacular; are you enjoying them, as well? I knew exactly what to do with the copious amounts of strawberries I picked up at the grocery the other day. I had been thumbing through Marisa McClellan‘s latest book, Preserving by the Pint, and noticed a recipe for pickled strawberries. I am always drawn to the weird and off-the-beaten-path type of recipes. Why didn’t I just make jam? Nope. I had to experiment with preserving strawberries in vinegar. And it worked out beautifully.

preserving by the pint, by marisa mcclellanI received this book from an inspirational friend in the food blogging community, Kristy Gardner, author of the site, She Eats. I had been eying Marisa’s book for quite a while, and I had even purchased a copy for a friend. I was elated, when I found out I had won Kristy’s giveaway on her blog. The book couldn’t arrive quickly enough! Once it hit my mailbox, I turned to page 47 and put my perfectly ripe strawberries to work.

strawberries, ready to slice


Quick Pickled Strawberries


This is Marisa’s recipe, here with her permission:

  • 1 dry quart strawberries {about 1 1/2 pounds or 680 grams}
  • 3/4 cup or 180 ml Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely milled sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs tarragon

After washing the strawberries, I removed the stems and leaves and cut the berries into halves. I quartered the larger berries. In a medium saucepan, I combined the vinegar, along with 1/3 cup of water, the sugar, salt, and cracked pepper. I set the saucepan over high heat and brought the mixture to a boil.

In a sterilized one-quart Mason jar, I added the tarragon sprigs. Fortunately, I could clip a couple of sprigs from the garden. I dropped in the sliced strawberries. Once the brine had boiled, I poured it into the jar and over the strawberries. Once the strawberry pickles had cooled, I placed a lid on the jar and stored it in the refrigerator, letting them rest and integrate overnight.

Marisa suggests incorporating the pickled strawberries into a salad or serving the berries in a glass of sparkling water. I will definitely make those options, but I was a little thirsty for something stronger that day, and gin was well within my reach.

sliced organic strawberries


Gin + Strawberry Shrub


  • 1 1/2 ounces St. George Terroir gin
  • 3/4 ounce mint simple syrup
  • 1 pickled strawberry {or 2, if you are daring!}
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • splash of soda water {optional}

In a shaker tin, muddle the strawberry. Add ice {about 4 or 5 cubes}, gin, mint simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake like crazy. Pour into a glass and garnish with a sprig of mint or strawberry slice. Finish with a little soda water, if you need a tamer and less vinegar-y cocktail. I prefer the refreshing punch of a vinegar cocktail, myself.

gin + pickled strawberries + mint simple syrup + freshly squeezed lime juice

mint in the garden

making mint simple syrupTo make the mint simple syrup, simply combine equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan {I usually make a batch of 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar}. Bring to a boil and let the sugar granules dissolve. Remove from heat and add about 4 mint sprigs. Steep until cool and strain, discarding the herbs. pickled strawberries and the finished gin cocktailI am definitely not alone on the vinegar-inspired cocktail kick. The Times published a great piece a couple of years ago on the rise in the use of vinegar in cocktails. In fact, I enjoyed my first vinegar drink, when I visited Portland last summer. I dined at the famed Pok Pok restaurant and enjoyed a tamarind drinking vinegar. It was simply pickled tamarind and soda – refreshing, vibrant, and different. I didn’t even miss the alcohol. I suggest tossing a pickled strawberry into a glass of soda water and adding the lime juice and mint simple syrup. Spring perfection!

Want to make your own drinking vinegar? Here is an excellent tutorial on making drinking vinegars or shrubs via the Kitchn, written by Emily Ho of Roots & Marvel.

Closing with some photos from the week. Have a great week ahead! I am adding a link at the bottom of this post, so that I can be included on Bloglovin’, making it even easier to follow my posts. And let me know if you are making any pickled or preserved garden goods {whoa, alliteration!}, yourselves!

Cheers,

Jayme

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making jam with summer strawberries

I happened upon a great sale at Vitamin Cottage this afternoon and had to purchase the fresh, organic strawberries that caught my eye. Optimally, I would make a journey out to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado, to hand-pick some berries, but the journey seemed too far today.  This hot weather we have experienced here lately kept me close to home.  If you do live in Colorado, and you have a morning’s worth of berry picking in you, a trip to Berry Patch Farms is a treat.  Not only do they open their farm to you, to hand-pick herbs, fruits, and veggies, but they also offer “pre-picked” varieties.  Although this farm is kid-friendly, I opt to venture out on the quieter days designated as “kid free.”  Here is today’s finished product – what a fun experiment!

Quick strawberry jam…
This recipe yields about 32 ounces of delicious jam,
and it keeps in your refrigerator  up to ten days.  I used eight four-ounce jam jars for this recipe.

 

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