Posts tagged #strawberries

An appetite for life: strawberry mango ice cream recipe, for Marina Keegan

It’s strawberry season in New England. Fat, juicy strawberries—not those bland, watered-down versions that we’ve been trying to pass off as fruit all winter—are now ours for the taking. They are sweet, luscious, full of life, full of intensity. We must savor them while we can. Their season is short.

We don’t think of ourselves as having a season. We go along with our ups and downs, with our ins and outs, with our personal little dramas. If we are lucky and if we choose it, we grow up and have children. We hug those children, feed them, watch them grow. They bring us immeasurable joy and sometimes pain. Then, if we are very, very lucky, if we are careful not to interfere too much, if we guide them lightly without burdening them with our own expectations and unfulfilled dreams, our children become passionate, engaged and joyful human beings. They have an appetite for life.

I want to discover the doubters in the shadows of the Taj, learn from the pilgrims pious only to mankind. I want to eat mangos with the orphans at the Kurukshetra Humanist School and tunnel the atheist transcripts in the ancient libraries of Delhi. I want to trace India’s rivers and railways for non-theist seeds – seeds planted by Gora and Roy and the authors of Hindi tradition. I want to go to India because I’m curious. Curious about the country and curious about myself. Curious about the crescendo of a secular movement for social change that’s setting a global precedent; a precedent with potential to alter the future of the nation and the world.

These are the words that my son’s close friend Marina wrote two years ago in her grant application to fund a study of Humanism in India for the summer. She got the grant; and she invited Luke along to travel with her. They shared a perfect set of qualities that engender good travel and enduring friendship: one part adventurer, one part intellectual seeker, one part fun-lover, one part possessor of humor and wit, all dashed together with a healthy measure of ebb and flow that make travel enjoyable for two people in close, often crazy, but never boring circumstances.

Her  words recall to me a life before. Do you remember? That time before the trappings of adulthood started to close in and make us forget the limitless sense of possibility that Marina had? The trappings that, if we are not watchful, will very subtly dull our appetite for living. With a few more years on us, the weight of our anxieties, problems, and past experiences start to accumulate, and we forget. We forget to take a bite out of every day. We forget to wake up and look around and say: WowLook at this. Look at all this.

“This” is absolutely wonderful. “This” is absolutely horrendous. “This” is everything and nothing all at once. Wow.

Marina Keegan died in a car accident just five days after her graduation from Yale. She was about to move to Brooklyn to share an apartment with Luke and some college friends. She was already exceptionally accomplished as a writer, but it was just the beginning. She intended to start a job at the New Yorker in a few weeks.  Her play will be produced in Central Park this summer. And much, much more.

Like the strawberries in season right now, Marina was intense, juicy, sweet. One of her professors, Deb Margolin, described her:

Marina Keegan and Death are two incompatible concepts for me. It is a parallax vast and unbridgeable. This was a young woman of outrageous intellect, probity, humor, hope. Her brilliance had a restive and relentless quality. She was all legs, all brains.

She was also immensely kind. She agonized over so many issues: “How can I eat at Taco Bell if it can save a child in Africa?” Marina saw the mess of our world yet still remained hopeful, still wished to make it a better place. Above all, Marina knew how to be a friend.

Marina’s last essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, has reverberated around the internet, as have so many of the words she left behind. You can read them here. I hope you will. I hope they will change you, wake you up. I hope you will take a bite out of life today and relish it, and say to yourself, Wow. I hope, as Marina so fervently wished, you will  “do something to this world.” I hope, as she implores, you will BEGIN from wherever you are now.

We don’t know the length of the season that is allotted us. I hope we can all be more like Marina.

She had an appetite for life.

Marina in Jaipur

On the Ganges

Desert near the Pakistani border

At the Beatles' ashram

Preparing an 'American meal' at the orphanage

Strawberry Mango Ice Cream Recipe, for Marina

Makes about 6 cups

This recipe is a bit free form. It started as frozen yogurt, but needed more richness, so I added cream. The yogurt gives it a little tartness, but you could use all cream. Sweeten to taste—you  may want to add more honey or agave syrup. The mangoes, yogurt and rosewater were meant to evoke India.

1 quart strawberries, halved

2 to 3 mangoes to make about 2 cups of mango chunks (frozen will do)

1/2 cup agave syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon rosewater, or to taste

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Chill until cold. Churn in an ice cream maker.

Strawberry fields forever (not): a recipe for strawberries Romanoff

Did you blink? I hope not. You might have missed strawberry season. That’s the way it goes. A few perfect summer days squashed between rainy spells provide a very skimpy opportunity for strawberry picking.

One really shouldn’t complain about the weather.  There’s no future in it. You can’t do anything about it anyway.  And as I often say, there’s always an upside to a downside. You just have to look around a little to find it. My garden, for instance, was gloriously happy with a few weeks of rain in the middle of June.

A few years ago, I tore out some unfortunate run-of-the-mill hostas that lined our patio. I swear there were at least five hundred of them, giving me yet another insight into the minds of the former custodians of my back yard. What a bargain! Let’s buy a thousand of them! Put five hundred in the back and another five hundred in the front! Now don’t get me wrong, I have gained an appreciation for this often-maligned plant, but enough is enough. I have narrowed them down to two.  I replaced them with herbs a few years ago and lo! They are coming into their own. The sage is winning the power struggle with the thyme, the lady’s mantle is showing off like a strumpet, and the lavender has painted the view from my kitchen purple. Thank you cool June rain.

As for the strawberry fields, well, maybe not so much thank you in the cool June rain department. Finally, a nice day, so I found myself driving to Verrrill Farm to pick some strawberries. It was past 11:00 when I got there. Note to self: when picking strawberries on a Saturday morning, arrive early. Though the rows were picked over, they were not picked out and there were still plenty of small berries, perfect for preserves. I got the jam underway as soon as I came home.

Sunday was another glorious day, so off I went again, greedy strawberry picker that I am.  This time the allotted rows were bursting with berries of all sizes and I picked a quart in five minutes flat. Home again, home again to make strawberry rhubarb jam (I must make a lot, there is jam thief in my house.)

Then I made sorbet for dessert from Alice Medrich’s cookbook Pure DessertI’m just going to tease you with that. I can’t tell you everything! It takes the adventure out. If you love desserts, you should at least get the book out of the library and look up the recipe. You will probably want to buy it since Alice Medrich’s sensibilities are very refined and you can learn a lot from her books. While you’re at it, take a look at David Liebovitz’s

Perfect Scoop

. You’ll want that, too so you can try out lots of ice cream recipes this summer.

What’s left after strawberry jam, strawberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream? Strawberry tarts, of course. Here is my recipe from the Boston Globe.

And another thing: here’s a recipe for Strawberries Romanoff. See, I’m not that stingy. It’s a rather fancified way of eating strawberries and cream. It is pretty, and simple, and with the sweetest berries of the season. Life is unpredictable. Things change. Carpe diem. Those berries, like everything else, will not be around forever, as it turns out.

Strawberries Romanoff

Serves 4

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (granulated or natural cane)

1/4 cup Grand Marnier (orange flavored brandy)

1 quart strawberries

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon orange flower water (if you have it), or vanilla extract

Candied violets or lavender flowers, for garnish

1. Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. (Alternatively, combine in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 1 minute) Stir in the Grand Marnier. Cool in the refrigerator until chilled.

2. Wash, hull and quarter or halve the strawberries. Combine them in a bowl with the Grand Marnier syrup refrigerate for up to one hour, until ready to serve.  Spoon the berries and their syrup into pretty stem glasses.

3. Whip the cream with 1tablespoon sugar and the orange flower water or vanilla until it forms soft peaks.  Spoon some whipped cream on top of each dessert glass. Garnish with candied violets or lavender flowers.

More stories and recipes you might like from around the web

Strawberry picking from

La Tartine Gourmande

Strawberry update from

Tea and Cookies

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars from

White on Rice Couple

Strawberry Shortcakes from

Simply Recipes

Alice Medrich's

Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcakes

Old-fashioned strawberry shortcakes from

Fresh New England

Posted on June 28, 2011 and filed under Fruit desserts.