When the unrelenting greigeness of the winter landscape weighs heavily on my soul, especially so in March when my internal calendar — still set to Southern seasonal rotations, even after all these years — says the world should be warm and bursting with life, I dream of color. By May, our yard is awash in yellow forsythia and tiny purple blooms in the grass — probably weeds, but I don’t care — and I begin to recover. Still, the really vibrant colors don’t come until later, and not until the Farmers’ Market starts up again around Memorial Day do I bother to buy fruit. There’s just no comparison between the beautiful but insipid berries you see at the market and the beautiful and flavorful ones you get locally. (The strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!) So last week I decided to think pink.
Though rhubarb seems to be long gone by now, I still have a bottle of lovely rhubarb syrup in the fridge that mixes will with all sorts of things, and is still a classic with strawberries. I blended up a little shake to get me through the morning — strawberries, rhubarb syrup, lemon basil, goat’s milk yogurt and ice. Nothing fancy, but so delicious and fresh, I feel healthier just remembering it.
Honestly, couldn’t you just have a glass of that right now? Aaaahhhh…
But one can only drink so many strawberries and they don’t last forever, not even close, so I had to come up with something else for them. Lucky for me (and all of us, really), Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for strawberries & cream biscuits a few weeks ago.
I converted the original recipe to gluten-free, using Jules Gluten-Free AP Flour. Because the last batch of biscuits I made with this flour blend turned out fairly dry, I played with the proportions of ingredients, adding more butter (two extra tablespoons) and cream (an extra 1/4 cup). Like that’s ever a bad thing. With all of the extra liquid, they had to bake a while longer to turn golden brown, but they eventually did, after about 25 minutes. The tweaks certainly took care of the dryness, but I think there’s something about the GF flours that kept the juices from spilling out of the biscuits. The cornstarch, maybe? Not that I’m complaining; they were awfully tasty anyway.
But boy, do they ever not reheat well. Just a warning for you.
I think we still have a few weeks of strawberries before they’re gone for another year. I fully intend to enjoy these ephemeral beauties until then and store the memories for the long winter ahead.
recipe after the jump
This is more of a guide than a recipe. Put two parts sugar to one part water in a small saucepan and add some chopped rhubarb. I used two cups sugar, one cup water and almost four cups of rhubarb for this. I added a few sprigs of lemon basil, but you can flavor the syrup with the herbs of your choice. Or not, it’s up to you. Bring the mixture to a boil, the lower heat and simmer until rhubarb is soft and breaking apart. Cool to room temperature, then force syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate. The solids left behind are excellent on ice cream, so don’t throw them away!