Strawberries: versatile and refreshing

What are ''strawberry sundries''? Sounds like a misspelling for ''sundaes,'' but it is actually a designation I use to cover all those miscellaneous specialties, made of fresh strawberries, that are unrelated to the seasonal and traditional shortcake and pie.

Concoctions such as hot strawberry sauce for pudding, crepes, and waffles; strawberry dressing for a spinach salad . . . very nouvelle cuisine; strawberry popsicles for a not-too-sweet treat.

Then there is fresh strawberry frosting to turn a cake made from white or yellow cake mix into a gourmet dessert; strawberry fans, a colorful garnish for fruit salads and cold desserts; and chocolate-dipped strawberries made from the largest and most perfectly shaped.

At a hotel where I dined frequently last summer, this was the sweet concluding note: One large, perfect berry was brought with the dinner tab. Strawberry Salad Dressing 1 cup pureed strawberries 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar Few drops sesame oil 1/4 cup salad oil Salt and pepper to taste Stir together first five ingredients, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Strawberry Fans Select firm berries with hulls on. Starting at tip, cut in thin slices almost to hull. Spread slices to form open fans. Use to garnish cold desserts, fruit salads, or to decorate meat platters. Hot Strawberry Sauce 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup water 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place 1 cup of the strawberries in blender container. Cover. Blend on high speed 15 seconds or until smooth. In 2-quart saucepan, stir together cornstarch and sugar. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in pureed strawberries and remaining 1 cup sliced strawberries. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Serve over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or cakes. Makes about 2 cups. Strawberry Frosting 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted 2 tablespoons hot cream or milk Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon pureed strawberries 1 1-pound package confectioners' sugar (about 3 cups)

Melt butter. Add cream, salt, and vanilla. Stir in pureed strawberries. Add confectioners' sugar until thick enough to spread. Makes enough frosting for sides and tops of 2 9-inch layer cakes. Strawberry Frogurt Pops 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled 2 cups plain flavored yogurt 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves

Place strawberries, yogurt, and preserves in electric blender container. Cover and blend on high speed for about 1 minute to puree berries. Pour mixture evenly into six 4-ounce paper cups or popsicle molds. If using paper cups, freeze about 30 minutes until partly firm. Place a wooden stick in center of each cup. Freeze until pops are hard. Peel off paper cup and serve. Makes 6 pops. Chocolate-Strawberry Confections Large, fresh strawberries, stems intact Semisweet or milk chocolate morsels

Wash and pat dry strawberries. Melt chocolate morsels in a double boiler. Dip berries halfway into chocolate. Refrigerate on a piece of foil until serving time.

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