Making the most out of strawberry season

Wednesday, June 1, 2005


We had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend of doing not much of anything. We have been so busy with baseball and softball it was so nice just to have a couple of days to do some things around the house.

We did go eat at the Zion United Methodist Church Memorial Day Picnic and chicken and dumpling dinner. When we left there were people with numbers over 700, and I was told they had dropped more than 90,000 dumplings that day. Each dumpling rolled out by hand, stretched a little bit and dropped into boiling broth. There were more than 150 volunteers helping with the dinner, which looked to be a tremendous success, giving a strong sense of community and fellowship. It was a good meal, and we already look forward to next year as we plan to arrive much later than we did this year.

We also enjoyed an abundance of strawberries over the weekend, and I pulled out a couple of my favorite recipes to share with you. The berries are at their best and in the peak of the season.

Strawberry Bread

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups granulated sugar

2 (10-ounce) packages of thawed frozen strawberries or the equivalent of fresh

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 cups oil

1 cup chopped pecans

Sift together the first five ingredients. Place in large bowl and make a well in the center. Place the strawberries with their juice, eggs, oil and pecans in the well and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Pour into two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans that have been well greased and floured. Bake in a 350-degree oven 60 to 70 minutes, testing after 60 minutes. Cool in pan for about 30 minutes before turning onto cooling rack. Bread freezes well and is good spread with whipped butter.

You may need to watch the juice amount if using fresh berries. Take some out if it looks like too much. You can always add if needed.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Dumplings

1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut in half

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 2 cups

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk baking mix

1/3 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

Reserve 6 strawberry halves for garnish. In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining strawberry halves, rhubarb, sugar, water, cinnamon and lemon juice to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix buttermilk baking mix and milk with a fork, just until baking mix is moistened. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons on top of strawberry mixture, forming 6 dumplings. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes until dumplings are set. To serve, spoon strawberry mixture and dumplings into individual dessert bowls, garnish each serving with a strawberry half. Pour cream on top.

While looking for the dumpling recipe I ran across a recipe for a yum-yum cake that I have not made in a long time and decided you might like to have that recipe as well.

Yum-Yum Cake

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 stick margarine

Cream these ingredients together and add:

2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 small well-drained can crushed pineapple

Pinch salt

Mix this all together and bake in a greased and floured 9- by 13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Make a topping by cooking together for 2 minutes and stirring occasionally:

1 cup sugar

1 small can evaporated milk

1 stick margarine

After cooking for 2 minutes add:

1 cup coconut

1 cup pecans

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring

Mix well and heat through. Pour over hot cake. Cool and serve.

Grilled Flank Steak

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey or sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, or less if desired

3/4 cup salad oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 (1 1/2 pound) flank steak

Mix together soy sauce, honey, and vinegar; blend in garlic powder and ginger. Add oil and onion. Place meat in a plastic zip top bag, and pour marinade over meat. Let stand in refrigerator for four hours or overnight. Grill over glowing coals about 5 to 8 minutes per side, basing frequently with marinade. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes after taking from the grill. Slice on the bias or diagonal into strips to serve.

Chicken Breasts with Crabmeat

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 tablespoon pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1 can crabmeat flaked

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 teaspoon tarragon

1 cup whipping cream

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

Cut chicken breast in half. Flatten chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed paper. Sprinkle with lemon juice and pepper. Melt four teaspoons butter in shallow baking dish. Place chicken in dish turning once to coat with butter; cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender. Melt the remaining butter in a pan; add crabmeat. Simmer 5 minutes. Blend in flour and seasonings. Add cream, cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Blend in egg yolk. Pour over chicken. Broil until delicately browned. Serves 4.

Once again I must leave you and wish you a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian. com or P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63702. Recipes have not been tested by the Southeast Missourian.

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