I frequently wear an Ontario handmade and dyed headband when I'm cooking which has the phrase, "Stay mindful" imprinted on it. It's a reminder to stay in the moment and live life day-to-day, celebrating what is as it happens. I think about that phrase as the flour sticks to my forehead, dough pastes itself to my cuticles, two timers beep simultaneously, croissants all of a sudden speed up proofing, the dishwasher finishes a cycle, I remember that I forgot paper bags on the counter at home, I curse out loud because I ran out of baking powder, and a Dandy Warhol's song begins playing on the radio.
I can't help but live in the moment or else something will burn. And sometimes it does.
The fruit of the moment are strawberries. Raspberries and blueberries are setting on the canes and bushes right now but it's the strawberries with their ruby-hued flesh and fancy seeds on the outside that announce summer in Southwestern Ontario. Buy them by the flat, by the quart, or pick 'em and eat 'em straight from field - still warm from the sun.
Although de fresas arrived almost two weeks later than usual this year, Mother Nature has a way of making things happen when the time is right; things that were behind inevitably catch up. The farm market stands are brimful of red, and many of us have stained fingers to match.
Berry trifle with Ontario brandy and lemon khorasan pound cake, strawberry crêpe cake (recipe here), strawberry pie, strawberry & rhubarb brioche buns with cinnamon, strawberry galettes with spelt pastry, strawberries on cereal for breakfast, and crocks beginning to fill with this years rewarding rumtopf are just a few ideas for filling the belly. Can't enjoy them fast enough? Hull off the green tops and toss a few bags into the freezer for smoothies or December crumbles.
What else is a seasonal favourite? Margaritas. Intense, citrusy, boozy, & balanced; real lime juice, great tequila, served ice cold. Add a little Canada to Mexico and Strawberry Margaritas come to mind.
Now, put it all in a jar. Happy Canada Day!
Pickers! Please observe the following rules. 1. Do not take more boxes than your handy carries, 1 deep. 2. Do not skip rows. 3. Do not put anything in your boxes you would not put on your own table. 4. Murder all snakes before yelling. 5. Bring berries out of the Sun as soon as possible. We ask your co-operation in giving us good, clean fruit. Alfred Howe & Sons
El Espolon Tequila, Strawberry & Lime Jam
I realize this recipe calls for a $47 bottle of tequila. Trust me though, the quality is amazing and really shines through whether you're drinking tequila-bombs or slathering this jam on toast. Aged 6 months in American oak barrels, El Espolòn Tequila is smooth with notes of spicy caramel and tropical fruit.
Makes 7 1/2 pints
12 cups ripe, local strawberries
2 T monocalcium phosphate (refer to directions with Pomona's Pectin)
10 T fresh lime juice (pulp ok)
2 T finely grated lime zest
2 3/4 c organic cane sugar
7 1/2 t Pomona's All Natural Pectin
3/4 c El Espolòn Tequila Reposado
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.