Confessions of a Strawberry Fiend (and what to do this weekend)

Guilty.  Yesterday’s lunch was a Strawberry-and-Cream Sandwich.

But this time of year, when the strawberries are juicy morsels of blushing deliciousness – fleshy soft to the bite, tartly sweet, and still warm from the sun when I collect them – who can fault the occasional urge to indulge in dessert for lunch?

I know none of you will, especially if I tell you how you may make one of these perfect summer sandwiches for yourself.  If you want one, you must act quickly.  The season’s strawberries won’t stick around much longer.

Strawberries-and-Cream Sandwich For One

  • 1 loaf homemade almond poundcake (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream, chilled
  • fresh strawberries

Gently wash a handful of berries.  Set aside in a strainer to drain the excess water.

Using a chilled bowl and set of beaters, whip the unsweetened heavy cream to form billowy peaks.  Chill briefly while you prepare the rest of the sandwich ingredients.

Cut one thin (3/8-inch) slice from the loaf of poundcake.

Lay this slice flat on a sandwich plate.

Hull and slice a few of the washed berries.

Lay the berry slices flat along the top of the cake, forming 2 or 3 rows of slices, depending on your appetite.

Remove the cream from the fridge and spoon 2 generous dollops on top of the berries.

Cut a second 3/8-inch slice from the poundcake, and lay this flat on top of the berries and cream, taking care to line up the edges of the top slice with the bottom.  Press down gently to settle this slice on top of the filling.

Your sandwich is done.  Unless you, like me, tend to gild the lily.  In which case, spoon a little more cream on top and crown this with a shapely specimen of whole berry.

This is a fork sandwich, so grab a fork.

Dig in.

Almond Poundcake

(from the Odense Almond Paste website)

  • 7 ounces of good quality, pliable almond paste, cut or broken up into small pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups sifted flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray (2) 8-inch-by-4-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium size bowl, and using an electric mixer cream set to medium-high speed, blend together the almond paste, sugar, and butter until they combine to be smooth and fluffy.

Add eggs to the batter one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice to incorporate all.

Mix flour and baking powder together, and add this mixture to the batter alternately with the milk in three additions (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), blending on medium-low speed only until the flour is incorporated at each step.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition to make sure everything gets blended.  Once all the flour and milk has been added, blend the batter for another 10 seconds on low speed.

Spoon batter evenly between the two pans.  Smooth the tops and bake for 50 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the tops spring back to the touch.  Remove to cooling racks.  Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto the racks to finish cooling completely.

Eat one, freeze the other.

And now for the weekend’s events.  Here are some of my favorite ideas for this weekend, June 24-26, 2011:

ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL, Main Street Congregational Church, Amesbury

The church’s annual food festival, celebrating the strawberry but also featuring such local delights as chowder and lobster rolls, happens today, June 24, at 4 pm on the church lawn in downtown Amesbury.  The festival features music and games in addition to the great food.  Stroll on down.  The Congregational Church is located at 145 Main Street, next door to the public library.


NEWBURYPORT ART WALK, at galleries throughout downtown Newburyport

Newburyport’s Art Walk is a free self-guided tour of the city’s downtown art galleries.  Come walk around all day on Saturday, June 25, and see every fine thing the city’s artists and artisans have to offer.  Maps are located at any downtown gallery, and you may make your way through the tour at your own pace.  For more information, please visit here.

THE VINTAGE BAZAAR, Pettingill Farm, Salisbury

Perhaps you prefer treasures of the vintage kind.  If so, make the trip to Pettingill Farm on either Saturday, June 25, or Sunday, June 26, to visit this large outdoor vintage finds market with more than 50 vendors from all over New England.  In additional to the antiques, vintage jewelry, and crafts, the bazaar will also feature collection of antique cars, the farm’s flower gardens, and lots and lots of music.

Bazaar hours: Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 10-4.  Pettengill Farm is located at 45 Ferry Road, Salisbury.  Admission is free.  For more information, please visit here.


NEWBURYPORT FARMERS’ MARKET, The Tannery Parking Lot, Newburyport

Week 9.  The Tannery is the place to be early on this Father’s Day Sunday.  Shop so that you can go home and make Dad a local, seasonal dinner from the Market’s fresh produce and local goodies.

Join the vendors and market organizers from 9 am to 1 pm this Sunday, June 26 at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market.  New to the Market this year: local wines!  Come and check out the products from nearby wineries, Jewell Towne Vineyards and Still River Winery.

And because this is the last Sunday of the month, Patti from On The Edge knife sharpening will be present to take care of your knives’ dull edges.  Bring your cutlery, but bring things early; she gets busy fast!

This week’s featured performers are Michael Prendergast and friends, playing Irish music.  Stroll the stalls, grab your treats, then settle in to listen to some great music while you visit with friends and neighbors.

Now for the rest of the consortium, we have picks from:

Seth over at Lynn Happens, with the best of what the Lynn area has to offer here.

©2011  Jane A. Ward