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Diggin' It

How to grow and prepare strawberries

A chef and a gardener team up to tell how to grow strawberries and then turn them into a delicious dessert.

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A few weeks ago, I (Linda) had the pleasure of doing a presentation on preparing Strawberries Romanoff for the Beech Island, S.C., Garden Club. I enjoyed every minute of being with these wonderful, charming women and making one of the recipes that is near and dear to my heart.

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Strawberries always remind me of the coming spring. I know, I know, they show up in the cold winter, too, but spring is on my mind when I make a sponge cake and have fresh strawberries and cream, or when I make this recipe that my mother used quite often for Strawberries Romanoff.

Strawberries Romanoff is one of those very versatile, simple recipes. It becomes another dessert if you layer it with almond macaroons. Just make the recipe, put in a spoon of the strawberries in a pretty glass or crystal bowl, crumble on almond macaroons, layer in little whipped cream, and then strawberries again, and finish with a spoon of cream and sprinkle of almonds. You can layer it as high as you like.

Strawberries Romanoff

Base:
4 cups sliced or halved strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract in ½ cup water

Place the strawberries in a bowl and add the sugar and flavoring. Mix well. Chill for two to three hours in the refrigerator before dividing into eight (1/2 cup) dessert dishes.

Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Beat the heavy cream with sugar and almond extract until cream is lightly whipped.

To serve, top the berries with a spoon of whipped cream. Sprinkle toasted almonds on top of each serving. Serves 8.

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Linda Weiss and Anne Moore, who will be blogging at Diggin' It about food and gardening, met while Linda was the food editor and Anne was the garden editor for South Carolina Homes & Gardens magazine. They now write articles for the ETV GardenSMART television show website, where Anne is the horticulture editor, gardening consultant, and e-newsletter editor. Anne has written for magazines and newspapers. She is a member of and a recipient of a Silver Award for magazine writing from the Garden Writers Association. Linda is a personal chef. She attended Le Cordon Bleu of Paris’ catering program, has appeared as a guest chef on numerous television shows, has been a culinary educator for 10 years, and a food writer for a number of magazines. She is a professional member of The James Beard Foundation and the Southern Foodways Alliance. She has written a cookbook, "Memories From Home, Cooking with Family and Friends." Their first article at Diggin' It was How to grow and prepare asparagus.

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