Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Strawberries and Camp and Kids

I've been out of the blogging world for about a week now. Last week I taught a cooking camp with Kids Cooking Green, and frankly, I felt like the rest of my life was on hold. It was intense and time-consuming, but also incredibly rewarding. The format of the camp was simple: the students cooked their own lunch every day. But lunch meant a multi-course meal from scratch, often with a homemade drink or dessert. Thirteen kids aged 9-12 came every day ready to learn and taste, which made hauling the boxes of equipment and ingredients worth it.

The camp coincided with strawberry season here in the northeast, which is short but oh so sweet (I can happily report that my own family picked almost 20 pounds this weekend to stash in the freezer for winter jam making). At camp, we made sure several recipes featured local strawberries, which taste so different from the big berries that get trucked in from far away. When I work with kids, I like using a popular food like berries as a gateway to introduce topics like how to buy seasonally and locally, and how food tastes better and is better for you when it's cooked from scratch.

By far the best strawberry recipe of the week was something I called Pink Bruschetta. We made a quick berry sauce, toasted a quality baguette, and then topped the toasts with mascarpone cheese and the sauce. It was fun to make, and even though we cooked the berries, the sauce still tastes like eating a berry just picked from the field.

So get out there and grab some local strawberries before they are gone. And then make this dish. Because if a 9 year old can do it, you can too. 

Pink Bruschetta

3 c. strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut in half
2 t. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
6 T. brown sugar
1 c. mascarpone cheese
One baguette, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and toasted

In a saucepan, combine the strawberries, lemon, lemon zest and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the strawberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Using a potato masher, break up some of the strawberries in the sauce. Set aside. (Strawberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator, for one week.)

In a small bowl, whisk together mascarpone with 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce, enough to turn the cheese a pink color.

Spread cheese mixture on a piece of toasted baguette. Top with strawberry sauce.

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