Somehow we associate baby pastels with springtime, yet when I look outside, I see primary colors: The sky, of course, is Carolina (ick, go NC State!) blue and the baby maple leaves, red before they’re green. The intense yellow of the wild mustard and forage turnips, blanketing Iredell pastures as well as the meadowlark breasts turned to the sun as they pinwheel out of the emerald small grains.
Local strawberries will be here momentarily. In the meantime, someone gave me four pints of foreign ones that actually smelled like ripe berries! I made this simple, wonderful recipe from thebuddingcook.com and, again, wondered why anyone uses red food coloring. You can see how vivid these berries are, and they tasted as good as they look.
Simple strawberry crisp
Fruit: 1 quart strawberry quarters (I hulled and trimmed 2 quarts to get this amount)
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
Topping: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (King Arthur, of course, is there any other?)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick (not instant) oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter
Pinch of salt
Heat oven to 375°. Mix berries, sugar, lemon, cornstarch and first pinch of salt. Put berry mixture in buttered 8-x-8-inch baking dish.
In bowl you used for mixing fruit, stir together topping ingredients (flour, sugar, oats, walnuts, cinnamon, butter and salt). Spoon over fruit. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until crumbs begin to brown and fruit bubbles through topping. Serves 4 to 5 and is ab-fab, served warm and crowned with a scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt.