Strawberry pie; pork and cabbage salad

Blooming sage. Leaves crisp-fried are great addition to so many summer dishes.
Blooming sage. Leaves crisp-fried are great addition to so many summer dishes.

At the tire store yesterday to get a pickup tire patched, I bought this spring’s first local strawberries. (Hey, in our neck of the woods, it can pay to listen to the old men chatting amongst themselves!) They were perfectly ripe and sweet, he obviously picked them before the drenching rains hit, and I had a need to make a perfect pie, which means using a wee bit o’ Jell-O. All I had was sugar-free (blah!) but I used sugar for the sweetener called for in the recipe, and it wasn’t too bitter. A little reduced-fat Redi-Whip helped as well. We are buying actual Jell-O today, though, because I have crust and berries for another.

By the way, there is no separate posting and photo of the salad I had for lunch yesterday because it tastes terrific but looks very unappealing. I have difficulty finding interesting uses for leftover roast pork when we, for example, buy a giant barbecued pork butt from the Boy Scouts. But now I have two recipes in my repertoire — pork fried rice and this cabbage salad which is simple and tasty and relatively healthy: Slice 1/2 medium head cabbage into slaw-sized ribbons and toss with 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds and 3 to 4 ounces leftover roast pork and 1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, drained. In a separate container combine the appropriate amount of olive oil mayo with seasoning packet from Oriental flavor Ramen noodles. Add pepper to taste (you won’t need salt with seasoning packet!) and 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce. Combine dressing with cabbage, pork and almonds and top with crumbled Ramen noodles. Yum, but not the most colorful salad you’ll ever throw together.

Ripe, sweet berry napped in simple sauce and nestled in piecrust.
Ripe, sweet berry napped in simple sauce that will gel and nestled in piecrust.

The pie is. Colorful. Very. About half the color from actual berries.

Fresh strawberry pie that won’t run all over your plate

1 9-inch piecrust, ready-made or home-made

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1-1/2 cups water

1 small package gelatin dessert

4 cups capped and quartered fresh strawberries

A few drops pure almond extract, optional

Prebake a graham cracker or regular pastry shell or make your own if you must. Set aside.

In medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring, until thick or 5 minutes (it shouldn’t take that long). Add gelatin dessert and simmer another 2 minutes, dissolving gelatin thoroughly. Pour 1/3 cup gelatin mixture into pieshell, stir strawberries into remainder gelatin and add to shell. Smooth into shell, cool and enjoy. Serves 8.

The prettiest pie that tastes almost entirely of strawberries and no additives.
The prettiest pie that tastes almost entirely of strawberries and not additives.
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