By the time I remembered to go strawberry picking in 2012, it was almost too late. We spent two hours scouring a picked-over field to collect a basket of microscopic berries. This year, I vowed, I would go early. We did, and it was so worth it.
There were so many ripe red strawberries in that field! You can see them in the photo. Our challenge this year wasn’t finding enough berries to fill a bucket. It was stopping! After we’d picked enough, we had to walk back through the rows towards the farm stand. It was literally impossible not to pause, lean over, and pluck a perfect ripe berry.
We managed to stop after each of us had filled much of a large bucket.
We picked about fifteen pounds total, and that left me with a dilemma: what to do with three people and fifteen pounds of fruit?
Well, quite a few were eaten plain. The rest were rinsed, hulled, and put to good use.
There was a strawberry tart (with chocolate ganache and creme patisserie). There was jam. And then there were muffins.
You may remember from my last post that 37 Cooks is doing a challenge with Sciabica Oil of the Olive this month: I wrote about the awesome hash browns that I made with their jalapeno oil. Well, flavored oils aren’t all that this company makes. They have some awesome seasonal varietals of “plain” olive oils – and I use quotations because their oil is anything but plain. Although their fall-harvest selections were intriguing and promised bold flavors, I chose their buttery spring variety because… well, it’s spring right now. Since strawberries are almost the official fruit of spring, and the oil is mild, I thought it would be perfect to bake with these two ingredients. And what’s better than muffins?
The olive oil really adds an incredible flavor to these, so I’d recommend using it if you can. I made a batch on Sunday. They were delicious and gone almost immediately – a rarity in my household, because we’re usually very slow to eat baked goods. I made another batch on Monday using canola oil in place of the olive. Big mistake. The difference in taste is obvious and disappointing.
Strawberry-Olive Oil Muffins
8 ounces flour
4 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces Sciabica Mission Spring Harvest olive oil
2 large eggs
8 ounces milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, chopped
Small handful coarse sugar (such as Turbinado), to taste (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk until just barely moistened. Stir in the strawberries. Dollop the batter into a greased muffin tin. If you’re using coarse sugar, sprinkle it on now. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.