Strawberry Semifreddo for Valentine’s

Camilla, my caterer heroine in Lipstick on the Strawberry, has her orders full for Valentine’s Day.

She has her own Valentine troubles and would like to forget the whole thing, but she has customers to satisfy, and she recommends this dessert. Strawberry red, after all, is the color of romance.

Semi-freddo, or “half-cold” in Italian, is not quite an ice-cream. But it is equally delicious, and easy to make because it does not require an ice-cream mixer.

Camilla notes that you can fancy up semi-freddo using whipped eggs in a custard, or balsamic vinegar and sesame seeds, but her favorite is made simply with strawberries, sugar, yogurt and whipped cream. The recipe requires only ½ cup of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, add a quarter teaspoon more.

3 cups fresh strawberries
1 tsp lemon juice
½ - ¾ cup sugar
12 oz heavy cream or whipping cream
4 oz Greek yogurt
½ tsp vanilla

Take a loaf pan and line it with plastic wrap so that the wrap folds over the sides and can come up and cover the entire filled pan.

Cut the green stem off the strawberries and wash and quarter them.

In a

Read more
Backyard Foraging

One of my favorite gifts this Christmas was a calendar. A wall calendar called “Backyard Foraging.” Hostas, dandelions, lilac, and daylily are among the plants common to many a garden.

They can be eaten.

I have to confess it never occurred to me that the young shoots of hosta can be ‘ roasted whole and served simply, with or without sauce, or chopped, stir-fried, and served over pasta and rice.”

Nor did I have any idea that lilac wine, or that lilac flowers “infuse well in cream and can be used to make ice cream, panna cotta or custard.”

My characters in the hippie commune in my novel Joyous Lies would probably know all that. Pity they didn’t tell me earlier.

The calendar does not align the plants with the months in which they bloom or are best eaten. That’s because it covers all climate zones. Here in Arizona, I’ll harvest dandelion leaves in early March and nopales (prickly pear cactus) in August.

Actually, just thinking about those prickles gives me goosebumps. Investing in heavy work gloves and a very sharp knife makes it easier just to buy a bottle of prickly pear syrup. I’ll mix it with the liquor

Read more
The End Of Winter...

February, the shortest month of the year starts at midnight. Groundhog Day, which heralds the end of winter in the Northeast, is February 2nd.

The days get lighter. It is one of the best months of the year in Arizona and California, with blossoms scenting the air.



Read more