One of my favorite strawberry recipes comes from an old community cookbook published by the town of Bridgewater, Virginia, in 1985 for their sesquicentennial (150 years) celebration. I find that some of the best recipes come from cookbooks where members submit their favorite recipes. This one is listed under salads, perhaps because it includes jello and fruit. I was intrigued with the use of pretzels in the crust. With local strawberries in season now, it is time to get out the recipe again; I updated it a bit. Continue reading
Do strawberries grow in Louisiana? Yes, they do. The quaint little town of Ponchatoula, which is north of Lake Pontchartain and New Orleans, holds a Strawberry Festival every April. There is music, entertainment, a king and queen, and of course, strawberries to eat. Ponchatoula holds fond memories for me. It was the first place we stopped when moving to Louisiana. The center of town had a cement pond with large alligator swimming in it. It was August and steamy hot. We had no air conditioning in our car and that was the first time I’d seen an alligator. Truly thought I’d moved to another land–a memorable moment.
One of my most favorite chicken recipes is Chicken Marbella. It has origins in a Moroccan dish and was popularized by the Silver Palate Cookbook chefs, Shelia Lukins and Julie Ross. The recipe has the most unusual combination of chicken braised in a wine sauce along with prunes, olives and capers. It is delicious, really.
The sweet wine sauce and prunes complement the salty olives and bitter capers. The photo here shows a variation with apricots rather than prunes and shows the chicken served with fingerling potatoes.
Passover begins with a Seder service, which tells of the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, followed by an elegant meal. The highlight of the meal for me is always Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls. The matzoh balls should be light and airy; they should float-not sink. This year I’m on a time crunch, here is a simple soup with amazingly airy matzoh balls and fresh vegetables for flavor. It is easy to make and I think it’s pretty good.
Several religious holidays come with the arrival of spring. Passover is on the horizon on April 15 and Easter is soon, too; this is an important holiday for the strongly Catholic Southern Louisiana. I’m making a Lemon Almond Sponge Cake with Fresh Strawberries for dessert. Louisiana strawberries are in season here; they add flavor to the dessert and make it a colorful presentation. This cake meets the challenge of being made without flour and leavening for Passover.