Today’s post comes to us from Food Fighters contestant and lifestyle guru Cortney Anderson-Sanford. An avid home cook and mother of two, Cortney gets a kick out of cooking with her kids and taking inspiration from them.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s already summertime in Seattle. Summer doesn’t usually show up here until July 5th. But school’s out, which means lunchtime is coming home. It’s time to step out of the doldrums of sack lunches and start having some fun in the sun!
Every year I like to start family time off with a BANG! Grab some youngsters and their folks and have a backyard get-together to celebrate summer. This year is all about the amazing strawberry! These little rubies are chockablock full of essential nutrients.
Throwing together a stress-free get-together is all about starting with a theme. As I pick out my menu and tablescape, I just keep referring back to the star of the show, in this case the strawberry. Strawberry flavor and color should touch every part of the picnic.
These three tremendous tools make this party an absolute cinch and they are AMAZING multitaskers. The Chef’n StemGem Strawberry Huller looks like a simple gadget that you could live without, but you can’t! This little gadget hulls strawberries with ease, plus has hidden talents like scooping out mushroom stems for stuffing and can core a cupcake for filling in no time at all.
I heart the OXO Good Grips Slicer because even my husband can cut perfect strawberries without a trip to the emergency room. It is a safe and fast way for cooks of all experience levels to slice strawberries, eggs, beets, kiwi or any other small item with the outcome of a professional.
When I purchase strawberries at the farmers market, I like to make sure they stay fresh. Chef’n Berry Baskets make it easy to rinse, store and transport all types of berries.
Once I have a pile of beautiful sliced strawberries, the fun begins. Strawberry and cream sandwiches are a simple and delicious snack. Make them fun by using a cookie cutter (I would pick a large strawberry shape to stay true to the theme). Cut shapes out of soft buttermilk bread. Smear some delicious preserves such as Sarabeth’s Strawberry Raspberry Jam on one side and then top with a thin layer of thinly sliced fresh strawberries. Spread mascarpone cheese on the other. Make sure to spread on the appropriate side so the shapes match up.
If you need to make the sandwiches too far in advance, put a very thin layer of soft butter on the bread before the jam and cheese. This will protect from a soggy sandwich mess. Place each sandwich on colorful paper and tie with baker’s twine … voilà! An instant adorable snack.
Put out a big bowl of strawberries, a bowl of crème fraîche and a plate of brown sugar for easy dipping. Whip up a batch of mini strawberry shortcake – make sure to keep the whipped cream cold by stacking the cream-filled bowl in a larger bowl of ice. Another favorite? Strawberry soufflés!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy – whip up a batch of strawberry lemonade and serve with half strawberries and a fun straw for garnish. I like to have an adult table with citrus vodka and sparkling wine for the adults to add to their lemonade. Just make sure the alcohol is well-labeled and up high so that little fingers cannot reach it.
My picks for this recipe:
- SodaStream Genesis Sparkling Water and Soda Maker
- Chalkboard Hang Tags
- Acrylic Milk Jug Beverage Jar
- Wet My Whistle Straws
Red, red, red. Make this FUN! Have your kids gather everything in the house that is red and pick out things to make your garnet tablescape glow. I love using found objects that we already have. Red dishcloths make fabulous table runners. Use the strawberry baskets to put red and green crayons or markers out with paper for an instant drawing table. If you have the energy, print out large strawberries for younglings to color in. Tightly pack red carnations in mason jars for inexpensive floral arrangements that pack a style punch.
My picks for the table:
- Red Provençal Stripe Kitchen Towel
- Striped Patches Vintage-Inspired Apron
- Red Burger Baskets
- Pink Flower Double Old-Fashioned Glasses
Now that everything is ready and the table is set, take off your apron and enjoy all of your delicious strawberry treats! Plus, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite ways to use strawberries. Try it and let me know what you think!