When I can’t figure out what I?want to cook, or worse yet, I have nothing to cook, I tend to go to the bin of root vegetables. I keep carrots, onions and potatoes on hand as a staple, but I almost always have other roots in there -- maybe fennel, leeks, celeriac, kohlrabi or turnips. They’re all good keepers. Better yet, they make some satisfying dishes that fill you up with goodness.
Every food has its day, and this week is really sweet --today is Peaches and Cream Day; Monday is Eclair Day; Tuesday is Pecan Sandy Day and Wednesday is Pralines Day. I think we better stop there -- too much sugar and you might not make it to Thursday.
What’s nice about this lineup is the recipes start with the super easy and move into the more complicated art of candy making.
I’ve rediscovered turnips. Hakurei, or salad turnips, are a new favorite and so pretty. These mild, tender, milky white turnips are great raw in salads, lightly roasted or sauteed. Look for them at farmers markets or in specialty stores.
I loved strawberries when I was a kid. Then I didn’t. Now I do again.
For a while there I was so tired of looking at strawberries I couldn’t eat them. Well, unless they were on top of ice cream or made into jam and slathered onto a piece of toast. That’s because we picked acres of strawberries all summer long for fair money -- money to spend at the county fair. We sold quarts of strawberries along the road. Every time someone would pull in alongside our sign, one of the kids would run out to manage the sale.
Well, it’s that time of year to pick your own strawberries -- some pick-your-own farms started up last week.
If you go, take the kids, but leave the dog at home. Kids need to know where their food comes from, and this is an excellent opportunity to teach them. Leave the dog at home because no one wants a dog running around a strawberry patch smashing the berries.
Today, most places provide baskets for picking and charge by the pound, so you don’t need to worry about trying to get that basket as full as possible.
Wear comfortable clothes but make sure you have good shoes for walking around in dirt and across uneven ground. Take some sunscreen.
Where there is fruit, there are bound to be bees. Instead of dousing yourself with bug spray, try wearing white -- beekeeper suits are white for a reason. Avoid dark colors like red, brown, navy and black because they resemble the colors of natural predators and will cause bees to be more aggressive.
That said, bees are more attracted to smells than they are to colors. Avoid wearing perfume, scented soaps and lotions and scented laundry detergents.
Here’s another thing I recently learned -- some laundry detergents contain UV brighteners. If this is in your detergent, there’s a good chance that bees can pick up on it, regardless of what colors you’re wearing. Best to avoid it.
Pick-your-own Strawberry locations in southeastern Wisconsin, 2015
• Blue Clay Berry Farm
5154 Wisconsin Highway 50
• Skelly’s Farm Market
2713 Hayner Road, Janesville
• Apple Barn Orchard & Winery
W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn
• Thompson Strawberry Farm
14000 75th St., Bristol
• Berryville Farm
424 13th Ave., Racine
• Berry Basket & Greenhouse,
4026 N. Henke Road, Milton
• Hazeltine Strawberries
8212 Wisconsin Highway 11,
• 30th annual Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
June 27-June 28, Washington Avenue,
Strawberry Festival June 20, 2015, in Beloit, Wisconsin
BELOIT -- Sun Valley Presbyterian Church will hold its Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 20, at the church, 1650 Sun Valley Drive, Beloit.
The event runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting with a breakfast of strawberry crepes, pancakes and sausage. Lunch includes barbecue pork sandwiches, hot dogs and turkey or veggie wraps.
Desserts include strawberry ice cream shortcake and sundaes.
Family activities include an arts and craft fair, kids carnival with bouncy house and basketball free throws.
A raffle will be held at 2:30 p.m.
For more information, call 608-365-7547 or go to SunValleyPres.com or SunValleyStrawberryFest.com.