As cute as he may be, Punxsutawney Phil is about as good at predicting the weather as Brick Tamland. For us folks down south, at least, it seems as if spring has already sprung. And spring, of course, means a whole new palette of ingredients for foodies, like berries and fresh tomatoes. This week, with the news that Ambrose Farms already has a large crop of ripe strawberries ready for U-Picking, we're featuring the sweet and versatile fruit.
Kevin Johnson over at The Grocery got his hands on some of the berries from Ambrose this week, and is featuring a dessert ($8) made with the fruit as well as lemon shortbread cookies, a scoop of vanilla bean mascarpone, and pickled rhubarb. "We pickle the rhubarb in strawberry puree, sugar, and white balsamic," says Johnson. "It has a really sweet flavor."
Over at the Ambrose's Tomato Shed Cafe on Johns Island, Chef David Barnett has prepared a host of dishes using Ambrose's berries, like layered strawberry shortcake, warm beet and strawberry salad, and their famous strawberry milkshakes. They also have a specialty known as the Strawberry Yum Yum Cake, which is made with a brown sugar, butter, and graham cracker crust, cream cheese and whipped cream topping, and berries that have been cooked in corn starch (a thickening agent) and water, baked, and then cooled.
If you're more interested in making some of your own berry dishes, or just want to get out of your winter funk, head over to Ambrose Family Farms on Saturdays for some U-Pick fun. Gather as many strawberries as you like until they're gone, and it'll only cost you $2.50/lb.