For those of us who like to spend as much time outside as possible, and as much time growing things as possible, January is a tough month. Even when it’s warm, as it so often is in Southern California, my garden still looks like a barren wasteland. Winter crop seedlings struggle through cold nights and short days, even in the cold-frames. All my favorite hiking spots are devoid of life, and it’s sometimes hard to find the beauty in so much brown. And there isn’t even any baseball, for goodness sakes. It’s a truly depressing time of year.
But there is one bright spot in January, around the middle of the month, when strawberry season begins, and the farm stand just down the road from us starts selling half-flats from the Oxnard fields for just 14 bucks. By April they’re down to 11, but 14 is fine with me, for this little ray of light in an otherwise gloomy month.
With our first half-flat of the year I made my first-ever crepes. All my life I’ve been told by various folks that crepes are SO hard to make, and they take a special pan and a special spatula and special skilz and blah blah blah all that is complete nonsense. I followed this recipe from Alton Brown, and used my little non-stick pan with the wobbly handle that I got from Ikea for like $5, and my same old workhorse of a plastic spatula that I’ve had for the last 8 years or so, and everything was easy-peasy. So, if you’re like me, and everyone you know has been yammering on about how hard crepes are, and you’ve never tried making them because of that, just do it. OK, if you don’t know how to turn your stove on, and you’re not sure what a spatula is, maybe start with bisquick pancakes or something. The rest of you, you got this.
I rolled my easy-peasy crepes around plain sliced strawberries, drizzled honey over the top, and dusted them with powdered sugar, and had the most delicious breakfast on a random Tuesday.
I also made this wonderful roasted strawberry balsamic sherbet. It’s truly a sherbet, turning out a bit icier than the custard style ice cream I usually prefer to make, but with a buttermilk and sour cream base it’s a treat if you’re a fan of tart frozen yogurt. I wonder though, if it can be made a bit smoother and more creamy. Can you even make a custard base with buttermilk? This one might need a little more experimentation.
I feel like I should also be presenting a strawberry trio, and maybe I eventually will or maybe I won’t, but for now I’ve been letting my art take me whichever way the wind blows. I’ll see how that all ends up at the end of January and maybe get back to the trios in February. Or maybe not.