Fresh strawberries for breakfast? Yes!

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I swear my father would have eaten my mother's strawberry shortcake every day of his life, if she would have let him! My mother also made the most amazing strawberry pie, but only in the early summer when the berries were fresh and local; and, again, my father would have eaten her strawberry pie every day of his life — if my mother would let him!

My father loved his strawberry desserts; then again, who doesn't? But, the window of opportunity for local strawberries is brief, too brief to just have them for dessert, especially when there are so many ways to enjoy them for breakfast!

Strawberries with cereal or in a smoothie make a great breakfast on busy mornings; but on those mornings when there is time to linger, how about a strawberry souffle omelet or a strawberry breakfast taco.

Take advantage of the beautiful warm summer days in the Berkshires and southern Vermont, and start breakfast outdoors on the patio sipping this refreshing strawberry beverage.

FRESH STRAWBERRY BREAKFAST COOLER

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

1 cup fresh orange juice

10 ice cubes

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

Fresh mint leaves (optional garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

In a blender, combine strawberries, orange juice, ice cubes and sugar or honey. Blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses, garnish with mint and serve.

This a just a bit sweet and a bit savory, very light and delicious.

STRAWBERRY SOUFFLE OMELET

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

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1 tablespoon butter

Confectioners' sugar

DIRECTIONS:

In bowl, combine strawberries, mint, vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the granulated sugar; set aside.

In small bowl, whisk egg yolks with vanilla and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.      

In bowl of electric mixer, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.

With rubber spatula, gently fold yolks into whites just until no streaks remain. Do not over blend, so you don't deflate the egg whites.

In 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter.

When butter is sizzling, add egg mixture, gently spreading it into an even layer with spatula. Cover pan; reduce heat to low. Cook omelet 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown on bottom and barely set on top.

Spoon strawberries down center of omelet; with spatula, fold omelet in half overfilling. Slide omelet onto plate; dust with confectioners' sugar to serve. This makes one large omelet that can be divided into two servings.

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Of course, tacos for breakfast!

STRAWBERRY BREAKFAST TACO

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons butter

6 soft flour tortillas (6 inches)

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

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DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium-low heat. Add one tortilla; cook each side until light golden, 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and tortillas.

Beat together cream cheese and honey. Mix in yogurt until blended. Spread tortillas with cream cheese mixture. Arrange strawberries over one half of each tortilla then fold other half over berries.

Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle generously over each taco to serve.

STRAWBERRY PB&J FRENCH TOAST

(Courtesy of "A Taste of Home")

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam

8 slices challah or sturdy white bread (1/2-inch thick)

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

ground cinnamon

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

5 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Additional maple syrup and sliced fresh strawberries

DIRECTIONS:

Spread jam over four slices of bread. Top with sliced strawberries; sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. Spread peanut butter on remaining bread and place a slice over strawberries to make a sandwich.

Lightly grease a griddle or large skillet; heat over medium heat.

Whisk eggs, milk, 3 tablespoon syrup and vanilla until blended. Dip both sides of sandwiches in egg mixture, allowing each side to soak 10 seconds. Place sandwiches on griddle; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup and strawberry garnish.


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