Oregonians have a thing for strawberries. After all, who doesn't? But Oregon strawberries spoil us, and unfortunately, our season for local strawberry nirvana doesn't really arrive until June, and even then it lasts but a few short heavenly weeks.
Both before and after, we're confronted with California strawberries in our stores, screaming out false promises. They look delicious, but they can't compare to the ripe berries picked from our local fields.
Many cooks I know have their own tricks to make these strawberries-from-afar a bit more palatable. Some dip them in chocolate, while others slice them and cover them in goo for a chilled pie. A few use them for color in a spinach and strawberry salad and let a sweet poppyseed dressing fill the flavor vacuum. Here's my favorite choice.
I whip up a batch of Strawberry Fruit Dip when the weather turns warm and people are craving light desserts or a “healthy” party food. I usually use light or low-fat yogurt and fat-free whipped topping to make it a bit less dangerous; I can eat a lot of this! And I use my own homemade strawberry jam (from Oregon berries, of course).
You can make this a few hours ahead, but keep it refrigerated until you're ready to serve it. You can often find store-brand whipped topping on sale during strawberry season. If you find a good deal, freeze one container to make this again later in the summer.
Strawberry Fruit Dip
Blend together with a spoon:
- 1 8-oz. container of your favorite strawberry yogurt
- 1 cup strawberry jam
- 1 8-oz. tub of “Cool Whip”-type whipped topping (any style),
Serve with strawberries, bananas and other fresh fruit, graham crackers, angel food cake or pound cake, or brownie squares.
It's not exactly gourmet, but it's tasty. Another nice use for this dip is to slice an angel food cake horizontally into three layers. Use the dip to “frost” between the layers, and reassemble. Top with more “frosting” and sliced strawberries or blueberries.
(This recipe comes from Canning & Preserving by Linda Ferrari.)