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Strawberries and Basil, Oh My!

 

Chicken Strawberry Salad

Mr. D. bites into his mango popsicle

You know how when you notice something new (perhaps, only to you) and then you start seeing it everywhere? For example, owls, the Hemsworth brothers,  moroccan tile patterns and a  few years ago it was watermelon salad for me…now, it’s strawberries and basil. I was a little skeptical at first, but it is frankly, a very tasty combination. I first spotted the strawberry-basil combination in the paletas recipe (Mexican Ice Pops) in the “taste” section of  Pacific NW magazine. Pacific NW magazine is my favorite section of the Sunday Seattle Times paper – it always has an eclectic mix of recipes and featured residential architecture.  Since Junuary is over and the sun is starting to peak out this month, I decided to make some of these popsicles for the kids and the Tuesday Evening Tennis ladies. I made a batch of strawberries and basil popsicles from the recipe and then improvised batches of strawberries and mint and mango with lime popsicles. Very refreshing! Each batch made about 6 popsicles. I didn’t have a popsicle mold, so I just used 5 oz. dixie cups and popsicle sticks. I covered with foil before freezing so the popsicle stick would stay vertical.

The next day I’m perusing my April, 2012 Southern Living and they have a whole section on cooking with strawberries. I needed to use up a roast chicken in the fridge, so I decided to make the Strawberry Chicken Salad, seasoned, of course, with basil. The original recipe called for poppy-seed dressing, but not having any I decided to substitute in that favorite dressing of the eighties and nineties – honey mustard. This salad was really, really good and would be perfect for any luncheon involving the ladies. I have to admit, though, that the Wilson men liked it, too.

 

Strawberry Basil Popsicles (Paletas de Fresa con La Albahaca)

adapted from Pacific NW magazine, Seattle Times (July 8, 2012), recipe by Justin Cline

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint Strawberries, hulled
  • 4 T sugar
  • 6 large basil leaves (or the equivalent mint leaves)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Chop up 3 or 4 strawberries and divide and place equally among your popsicle molds.
  2. Puree the remaining berries, sugar, herb of preference, water and salt.
  3. Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Mango Lime Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized ripe mangos, peeled & chunked
  • 4-5 T. sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Chop up about 4 Tablespoons of mango and divide and place equally among your popsicle molds.
  2. Puree the remaining mangos, sugar, lime zest, water and salt.
  3. Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

 

Strawberry Basil Chicken Salad

adapted from Southern Living Magazine (April 2012)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, minced
  • 3 T. fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 cup bottled poppy seed dressing or homemade honey mustard (see below)
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. Stir together the dressing, onions, basil, and pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the chicken, strawberries and pecans.
  2. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Honey Mustard Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. honey
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 T. dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together!

 

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