The days are long, and the salty beach air beckons. I love this time of year! Each summer, I look forward to the rainbows of flavorful fruit that fill the grocery stores and roadside fruit stands. My favorite by a landslide are berries of all kinds, and they are certainly in good form these days.
Our family has a couple of very simple culinary traditions featuring our favorite local berries, so I thought I'd share them before the pickin's get too slim!
Strawberries with Marshmallow Dip
1 Neufchatel Cream Cheese, softened (make sure you take the time to leave this out to warm up and soften a bit... otherwise you'll have a very lumpy dip... you can also use regular cream cheese, but this kind has 1/3 less fat)
1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
Lemon Juice to Taste
Blend cream cheese and marshmallow cream in a large bowl until smooth. Add a few squeezes of lemon to taste.
Our favorite strawberry stand is Hayashi off Halcyon in Arroyo Grande. You'll be glad you stopped by... and they'll even let you haggle, especially when the stand is almost ready to close!
Best Ever Cobbler
3 Cups fresh Raspberries, Olallieberries, Blackberries, or Blueberries (choose a single berry, or a couple varieties to make a mixed berry cobbler)
3 T White Sugar, 1/3 Cup Orange Juice, 2/3 Cup All-purpose Flour, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 1 Pinch Salt, 1/2 Cup Butter softened, 1/2 Cup White Sugar, 1 Egg, and 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
In an 8 inch square baking dish, mix berries, 3 T sugar, and OJ. Set aside.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter & 1/2 sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are combined. Drop batter by rounded tablespoons over berry mixture, covering the berries as much as possible.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
Cobbler is so yummy warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you have the chance, stop by The Barn in Avila... the raspberries and ollalieberries are perfect for the pickin' right now. We picked a couple extra bastkets to freeze for smoothies!