HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Chef Patrick Evans Hylton teaches us how to properly pick, store and use strawberries and shares a great lager from a local brewery.
LIFE FINDS A WAY LAGER
Life Finds A Way Lager is a new beer released by Young Veterans Brewing Company (YVBC). It’s inspired by the German Helles lager style beers.
“We chose the name Life Finds A Way” because we wanted to do something a little more uplifting at this time,” says YVBC brewer Tom Wilder, also a brewery owner. “It is something nostalgic but also something that makes a statement. Once we had the name, the artwork, done by the talented Josh Raulerson, came easy.”
Wilder describes the lager as having a beautiful golden unfiltered, slightly hazy appearance, soft mouth feel and medium body with a crisp finish.
“It’s extremely quaffable at 4.2 percent alcohol by volume. It has exquisite malty flavor with just a hint of a noble hop character.”
The brewer notes YVBC is canning lots of new offerings right now.
For more information on Young Veterans Brewing Company visit, www.YVBC.com
RECIPE | BOOZY BERRIES
Simply enhancing strawberries keeps their flavor and integrity. It’s easy to boost their sweetness and citrus essence with a few simple ingredients.
Make my Boozy Berries to top ice cream, serve with whipped cream, and more. We love to make Strawberry Biscuits, which is macerated strawberries served over split cream biscuits and topped with boozy whipped cream.
2 pounds strawberries, capped and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons orange liqueur such as triple sec or Grand Marnier
8 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, optional
WHIPPED CREAM INGREDIENTS
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons spiced or white rum; you may also use another Virginia spirit such as bourbon
CREAM BISCUIT INGREDIENTS
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1–11⁄2 cups heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons water
Fresh mint leaves
Make the berries. Place berries in a large bowl and add sugar and orange sec. Gently toss the berries to coat, cover, and refrigerate at least a half-hour. If desired, before service, add the chopped mint leaves and gently toss. Makes about 4 cups.
Make the whipped cream. Chill a medium metal bowl and a metal whisk a few hours before making the whipped cream. In the bowl pour the heavy whipping cream along with the sugar and spirit. Whisk vigorously until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready for use; use soon.
Make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425F. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Drizzle in 1 cup of the cream, adding a little at a time and stirring to incorporate; the dough should be firm and smooth. Add the remaining 1⁄2 cup cream if needed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead; do not overwork the dough. Gently roll the dough out until it is about 1⁄2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 biscuits using a flour-dusted 3-inch biscuit cutter and place on a large baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash on top of each biscuit. Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the biscuits are golden.
Plate the dish. Split open a biscuit and arrange on a serving plate. Spoon on strawberries, top with whipped cream, and garnish with fresh mint.
Some ingredients comes from The Fresh Market, www.TheFreshMarket.com
Pick your own fresh berries, here’s some places according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, www.VDACS.Virginia.gov/vagrown
STRAWBERRY TIPS AND TRICKS
TAKE FIVE: ESSENTIAL BERRY U-PICK SHOPPING TIPS
1. Call first to make sure that the farm/farm market/farm stand is open and that the produce you are looking for is available. Especially with smaller operations, many factors can affect hours/days of operation and crop offerings.
2. Find out if containers are provided, or if you need to bring your own.
3. Dress appropriately; bring an umbrella in rain or shine. Wear comfortable shoes and light, loose-fitting clothing as well as a brimmed hat. Also bring sunscreen.
4. Bring water with you to remain hydrated.
5. Arrive early to avoid a field being picked-clean by the time you get there.
TAKE FIVE: ESSENTIAL BERRY PICKING TIPS
1. Berries picked on cooler days or overcast days don’t bruise as easily. If it is going to be a warm, sunny day, try to pick as early as possible in the morning.
2. Only pick berries that are fully ripe, red and plump – but help the farmer by removing any berries that may be rotten or otherwise be damaged and placing them just off the path.
3. Hold the berry you are picking in the palm of your hand and pinch on the stem just above the cap with your thumbnail and forefinger and slightly turn and pull.
4. Don’t throw your berries in the container or they will bruise; place them in carefully. Likewise, don’t overfill the containers.
5. When a few containers fill, place them either under shade, in the car trunk or in the car floorboard to avoid them being in direct sun.
TAKE FIVE: ESSENTIAL BERRY STORAGE TIPS
1. Do not wash berries until you are ready to use them; this will help prevent rot.
2. If you are not going to use berries right away, remove any damaged/rotting fruit and store the in several small containers to prevent overcrowding and refrigerate covered loosely with paper or cloth towels.
3. If you need to prep berries for use within a day or so, wash gently under cool running water and place on paper towels to dry. Cut off the caps and store in a loosely packed bowl in the refrigerator covered loosely with paper or cloth towels.
4. If you need to store berries for a longer term, freeze them. To freeze so that berries retain their shape, wash gently under cool running water and place on paper towels to drain then before freezing pat dry. Do not freeze too many berries at once or it will overtax the freezer; place berries on a lipped baking sheet evenly space and, once frozen, transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers. Continue until all berries are frozen.
5. You can freeze berries in bulk by washing them gently under cool running water and place on paper towels to dry. Cut off the caps and slice or crush the fruit and place in a bowl. Add sugar to taste, stir to incorporate and transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers.
MORE VIRGINIA EATS + DRINKS
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