Should you pet them, or let them run free where they roam?
Could they ever relax in a steam heated home?
Can they be trained to not growl at the guests?
Will a litterbox work or would they leave a mess?
Can we make them a Cowberry, herding the cows,
Or maybe a Muleberry pulling the plows,
Or maybe a Huntberry chasing the grouse,
Or maybe a Watchberry guarding the house,
And though they may curl up at your feet oh so sweetly,
Can you ever feel that you trust them completely?
Or should we make a pet out of something less scary,
Like the Domestic Prune, or the Imported Cherry,
Anyhow, you've been warned and I will not be blamed
If your Wild Strawberry cannot be tamed."
― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends. (A favorite book of poetry from my boys' childhood that I could never get them particularly interested in.)
Like clockwork, each summer, we used to go away on vacation for the first couple weeks of July. Strawberries have put an end to that. (Irises put an end to going away in early June.) I miss too much when I leave Maine and my garden in the summer...and spring, for that matter.
I gave up on strawberries for a number of years, but planted a raised bed full last summer. I warned Daniel that this meant the end of Italy and the Sierra mountains in July...for the time being. He was fine with that.
As you can see from the photo above, my strawberry plants are not letting us down. I am already day dreaming about the jam I will make and the sauces I will freeze. For you, I will share the best strawberry dessert I have made (aside from strawberry rhubarb crisp which I have written about twice here, I think). It is from The Silver Palate Cook Book. (I could wax on and on about this cook book. It was the first cook book I owned that supported deep culinary exploration.... for the day...aside from Gourmet Magazine. Their lemon cake recipe is still the best in the world as is their Chicken Marbella.)
Strawberry Tart with Chocolate
1. Make your favorite tart crust and bake it in a 9" tart pan.
2. Have 1.5 pints of washed and dried strawberries on hand.
3. Make chocolate filling- Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate pieces (code for chocolate chips) and add 2 tbs. melted butter to this...or melt them together. Add 3 tbs. kirsch and whisk it all together until smooth. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tbs. water. Whisk until smooth. Pour, while still warm, into tart crust.
4. Place the berries, tips up, over the warm chocolate filling in a circular pattern, or in whatever pattern you want.
5. Make red current glaze by melting together 3 tbs. red currant jelly and 1 tbs. kirsch. When it has cooled to room temp., brush it all over the strawberries.
5. Refrigerate the tart for 2 hours; remove from refrigerator 45 minutes before serving. Serves 8.