Fraise de bois
A number of summers ago I was hiking in the mountains near Yellowstone Park. I began to smell strawberries; I mean really smell strawberries, essence of strawberries in all their glory. And then I looked down along the side of the trail: fraise de bois were everywhere. These tiny, wild “berries of the woods” were the most amazingly intensely flavored berries I’d ever tasted. What they lacked in size was more than offset by their fragrance and flavor—each one was truly the essence of strawberry. I wanted to stay in that part of the forest for the rest of the afternoon and would have if my hiking companions hadn’t a mountain to climb.
Strawberries that actually taste like strawberries
Beautiful strawberries are beginning to arrive in our markets. How can we be sure of getting berries that actually taste like strawberries? No guarantees, though, I do have a three-step approach involving smell, color and taste:
- I look for the deepest, darkest color with little if any white.
- Do they smell like strawberries? If not pass them by.
- If the berries pass the smell and color test, a taste test will confirm your results—though unless you are at a farmers’ market, there may be little possibility of tasting before buying.
Strawberries when hulled look like hearts
I find it surprising that people are willing to take a knife and cut off the tops of strawberries. So, rather than endure my displeasure, please, either use this cool strawberry huller which I call a “strawberry shark” (to distinguish it from the slightly smaller “tomato shark”) or the tip of either an old-fashioned potato peeler or paring knife to remove the hull and the green leaves as shown. You’ll have little waste and beautiful heart-shaped strawberries rather than flat-topped triangles.
So what about tofu?
For a number of years I’ve avoided tofu and actually all soy products. I read and heard that there were/are major problems associated with eating it. Many people are allergic to soy and anything in which it appears. And it is true that most of the soy in the U.S. is now genetically modified.
However, like most everything, moderation is the key. A very moderate amount of organic, non-GMO soy in the form of tofu seems okay. After reading the info on tofu on the World’s Healthiest Foods site, I’ll include tofu in my diet occasionally as its many health benefits and nutrients (protein, calcium and iron to name a few) are impressive. Yet there are other sites that demonize soy in every form except fermented. So, I’m willing to try a little tofu now and again and see how I feel. By the way, for those who like to know, tofu is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
What to do with leftover tofu?
As promised, here’s my answer for a great way to use the tofu leftover from making Creamy Roasted Asparagus Vinaigrette—Tofu Almond Cream. Spoon this luscious sauce over fresh or frozen berries, use it as a dipping sauce for fresh strawberries or sliced apples, or eat it plain with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Tofu Almond Cream is so delicious that you may be tempted to use the whole box of tofu to make it rather than sharing the box of tofu with the vinaigrette. To simplify your life, I have included proportions for using just the leftover tofu as well as the whole box.
Giving tofu another try
Perhaps these photos have inspired you to give tofu another try. I had forgotten just how versatile tofu is as it offers up its nutrients from desserts to sauces, salad dressings, soups and entrées. I’m willing to cook with it again, how about you?
Spoon this luscious sauce over fresh or frozen berries, use it as a dipping sauce for fresh strawberries or sliced apples, or eat it plain with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Makes almost 2 cups
1 12.3 ounce box organic silken tofu (1 1/3 cup)
½ cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup almond butter
2/3 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
Makes about 1½ cups
1 cup organic silken tofu
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
¼ cup almond butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth and creamy.