Are you ready for pure summer decadence? I hope so, cuz here it comes.
As you may know, I'm a fan of frozen desserts that don't require an ice cream maker, as in this one, and this one. And I've been oggling homemade DIY ice cream sandwiches online for years but they just seemed like one of those Martha Stewart Pinterestey things that real people don't actually make.
But seeing as we've been swimming in strawberries lately, I've been racking my brain to make every strawberry recipe I can come up with. There's been strawberry scones, balsamic strawberry thyme jam (hell yeah!), strawberry cheesecake brownies, strawberry muffins, chocolate-dipped strawberries (a nod to my sis), and of course, strawberry shortcake (nod to my Grammy). Yes, seriously, it's been busy in this kitchen. And I'm almost sick of strawberries. Almost. But not quite.
And then in the middle of all that strawberry mayhem, I had an epiphany about strawberry sorbet and how dead easy it is to make it. And how if your berries are ever so sweet and ripe, you barely have to add anything at all to turn them into creamy frozen deliciousness. And after that, making chewy brownies to smush that sorbet into just seemed like the right thing to do.
So without exactly intending to, I made an ice cream sandwich! And guess what? It didn't take long and there wasn't really much to it. And also, I should mention, now I'm an addict. This recipe seriously needs to come with a warning label. Though now that I've realized ice cream sandwiches are right up there with burgers as ridiculously obnoxious and difficult to photograph and make look good on camera, I probably won't be making anymore of these for the blog anytime soon, haha!
So this is the first year we've grown strawberries. We felt like proud parents. We grew 5 different varieties, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and it's been kind of a test run to see if we could have an organic strawberry 'pick-your-own' in coming years. We've got a lot to learn still about soil fertility, crop rotation, how to manage those pesky weevels and slugs, and how to prevent mold damage. But we're making progress and for a first year, it was quite a success.
Growing strawberries falls somewhere between utter delight (picture filling quarts for the market in the breezy evening sunset with the birds singing overhead and the midcoast Maine hills looking gloriously lush and green) and pure pain on those gruelling days of weeding in the hot sun, days when the blackflies are out with a vengeance and unless you've had your 8 full hours of beauty sleep (or 4 cups of coffee), weeding one more row or picking one more quart seems like an eternity of backache. We joked that it was an emotional roller coaster picking the berries because one moment we'd be in a patch where we'd Oooh and Aaah and pat ourselves on the back at how juicy and perfect our beloved berries were, and then a few feet later, we'd be cursing and almost in tears because every one of our largest, most beautiful berries were either devoured by slugs or mice or covered in mold.
But the bottom-line is that we already can't wait to do it all over again next year. And the biggest joy of all, was in knowing that we grew these babies without a single harmful chemical and that the critters that share this land and berry patch with us are all happy and well, no matter how angry it made us when they partook in our strawberry feasting.
For my strawberry sorbet brownie sandwich recipe, go to this week's PBS Food blogpost.