Fresh Strawberry Cobbler with Decadent Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

The other week we were lucky enough to snag an invite from our good friend/farming sensei Sara over at Sandiwood Farm to join her on a strawberry picking field trip. So we loaded up one morning with the intern crew and headed over to “the spot”, Riverside Farm in East Hardwick, Vermont.

Riverside Farm is owned and operated by the lovely couple, Bruce and Judy Kaufman. The Kaufman’s are committed to “organic farming to cultivate a sustainable farming practice.” In their own words “one that is supportive of the earth, the people working on the farm, the people eating the food, and the community we live in. Real food for real people”. Well that sounds mighty nice and refreshing, eh?

It happened to be the first solid week of strawberry picking in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and we were in for a treat with rows and rows of plump strawberries up for grabs.

And H O L Y smokes it was a hot one too!! Judy shared that the heat actually speeds up the already short season and our timing couldn’t have been better to get in some of the best picking around. And so, after a quick tutorial on strawberry picking, we were off with buckets and Tupperware in hand (and coated in sunscreen from head to toe).

A Few Things We Learned:

1. The best time to pick strawberries is in the morning when the berries are still cool. Sunshine and heat quickly make the berries soft and then they tend to bruise easily.

2. Only solid red berries are completely ripe. Look for plump firm berries with a red tip. Unripe (white) or partially ripe berries will not ripen once picked. The ripening process actually stops once you pick them.

3. Smaller berries tend to be sweeter and more flavorful. Plus – they’re pretty freaking cute.

4. When you pick your berries, leave about ½ inch of the stem still attached.

5. It’s best to process your berries soon after picking. Berries stored more than 2 – 3 days will lose some of their fresh, bright color and tend to shrivel and deteriorate in quality.

6. You can easily freeze strawberries that you’re not planning to eat right away. Simply wash, cut off the green husks, and place them in a Ziplock bag removing as much air as possible. Perfect to have on hand for smoothies, jams, pies and cobblers… which we’ll show you  how to make! Keep on reading…

Why Pick Your Own?
Here’s an interesting tid-bit
: Did you know that commercial, store-bought strawberries continuously rank as one of the most contaminated common foods due to the use of pesticides? Even after washing store bought berries they still have significant levels of unnatural chemicals on them. YIKES! BUT not the case with organic, freshly picked strawberries like  those found at Riverside Farm. No pesticides means you can dive right in – plant to mouth. Perfect for me – professional taste tester.


And today for your strawberry indulging pleasure, we’re making you a Strawberry Cobbler topped with Decadent Dulce de Leche. Mmm…Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ingredients – for your filling

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar (taste your berries first for level of sweetness; you may want to adjust amount of sugar based on this)
  • 2 ½ cups of cold water
  •  ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 14 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Heat your sugar and (2) cups of water in a large pot until sugar dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, add ½ cup of cold water to your corn starch to make a slurry. Then add to your sugar/water mixture.

3. Bring your mixture to a light boil so your corn starch activates. Then add your strawberries and lemon. Turn off heat.

Ingredients – for your topping

  • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of softened butter

1. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients and sift.

2. Next mix in your softened butter. And mix until the butter becomes more like grains of rice.

3. Create a well in your mixture (similar to making biscuits except your mixture will be more like pancake batter).
 

To make your cobbler:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour your strawberry mixture in your baking pan(s). We used (2) 9×9 pans.

3. Spoon your topping mixture evenly across the strawberry mixture.

4. Bake on 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until your dough is cooked all the way through.

Decadent Dulce de Leche:

1. Take one small can of sweetened condensed milk. Boil in a medium pot on medium low heat for 2 – 3 hours. (Longer the time = Richer the Color)

2. Pop open the can after a couple of hours and fold into fresh whipped cream. Then pour over your cobbler for a sinfully good treat.

Enjoy!

Until we find freshly picked inspiration again,

A + H

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Lemon and Rosemary Infused Strawberry Cocktails

Hip Hip Hooray! Spring has finally arrived!  Can we please tell you how excited we are to welcome in a new season of fresh fruits.  Bring. It. On. We say.

Sorry root veg.  It’s been real but alas we bid you adieu. 

Now, it’s still pretty early here in Vermont to get the buckets out and go picking. But our friends down in NC have been teasing us with tales of their early strawberry season.  And since the temperature is rising to a perfect 70 degrees today we just had to jump the gun and toast the change of seasons with one of our newest infused cocktails.

Pull out the flips flops and the Adirondack chairs friends…
Let’s let loose on our Lemon & Rosemary Infused Strawberry Cocktails, shall we?

We’re serving them up two ways today. So pick your pleasure – frozen or on the rocks.


Ingredients:
(yields 4 pints of frozen beverage or 5-6 cocktails on the rocks)

  • (1) quart of strawberries
  • Juice of 4-5 lemons ( 2/3-3/4 cup)
  • (1) bunch of rosemary
  • (4) Tablespoons (1/4 cup) of sugar in the raw
  • (2) Tablespoons of honey
  • Plus vodka, white rum or spiced rum … measurements below

 

To make your strawberry puree:

  • (1) quart of strawberries, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • (2) Tablespoons of honey

Puree the berries and honey in a food processor or blender.  After you puree, you can either leave the seeds in your mixture or strain the seeds out.  If you strain the seeds out, plan for a possible yield shortage.


To make your simple syrup:

  • (2) large stems of rosemary
  • Juice from 4-5 lemons
  • (4) Tablespoons of sugar in the raw

Heat the lemon juice and sugar on low until sugar dissolves.  Then add your rosemary and turn off the heat.  Stir repeatedly to increase flavor and aroma.  Remove rosemary and dry on a rack.  (You can later use to create candied rosemary for garnish.)

This should yield ¾ cup of simple syrup.


On to the cocktails!

For those who prefer it frozen…
You’ll need a blender or a Vitamix.

The following is for (2) pints of frozen drink.

  • (1) cup of pureed strawberries
  • ½ cup of simple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary
  • (2) pints of ice
  • ½ cup of water
  • (3) ounces of white or spiced rum  (we prefer white with this)

Blend all of your ingredients.  Voila!

For those who like their cocktails on the rocks…
You will need a small cocktail shaker.


To make (1) cocktail:

  • ½ teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of pureed strawberries
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of simple syrup (depends on how sweet you would like your drink)
  • 1 ½ oz. of vodka  (we used Barr Hill Vodka)
  • 2 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in your shaker with your ice cubes…shake, shake, shake…

Then pour over ice in a small rocks glass.  Bottoms up!


Until we toast to the new season again,

A + H

Oh and speaking of toasts…. we’d like to cheers to Rob and Rebecca who made it official this weekend.  Happy wedding weekend guys!! Congrats and cheers to you!!  And cheers to April for ringing in her 30s AND cheers to Mom for her big birthday weekend too!  Here here!  All this celebration calls for another round of drinks!