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Ntl Strawberry Month: Celeb chef Brian Malarkey teams with Strawberry Commission

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In celebration of National Strawberry Month (May) and to help kick-off summer, the California Strawberry Commission has partnered with celebrity chef and restaurateur, Brian Malarkey to create simple yet delicious recipes that showcase summer’s favorite fruit: strawberries!

Not only are strawberries delicious, but they also offer many health benefits – eating just eight strawberries a day may improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of some cancers and support cognitive function. Strawberries are also full of a special substance called ellagic acid which can help prevent and treat cancer.

Nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually, basically if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries.

During National Strawberry Month, you can discover a variety of delicious recipes using strawberries, and learn about the nutritional benefits of strawberries. Including the recipes below, provided by Chef Malarkey!

Basil Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 quart water
1 cup lemon juice – freshly squeezed
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound California strawberries – rinsed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 pinch salt
Lemon slices, for garnish
Fresh California strawberries, for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed for just 20 seconds.
2. Pass through a strainer and keep refrigerated until ready for the party.
3. Serve over ice with slices of lemon, strawberries and basil leaves as garnish.

*As an alternative idea, try this as a cocktail. It’s great with vodka, champagne, or dry white wine.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 148 calories; 1 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 85 mg sodium;
38 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 1 g protein

Summer Loving Strawberry & Watermelon Salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
Strawberry and Watermelon Salad
2 cups California strawberries – cleaned and quartered
2 cups watermelon – diced small – yellow and red, if available
1/4 cup fresh basil – sliced
1 handful arugula
Sherry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup candied walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup blue or goat cheese
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or balsamic syrup

Sherry Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 shallot – cut in half and sliced thin
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Sherry Vinaigrette:
1. Bring the sherry vinegar and honey to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. In a small mixing bowl, pour the hot sherry mixture over the shallots and let cool to room temperature.
3. Once cooled, whisk olive oil with the shallots and add salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry and Watermelon Salad:
1. In a large mixing bowl add strawberries, watermelon, basil and arugula.
2. Gently drizzle Sherry Vinaigrette over strawberries, watermelon, basil and arugula mixture.
3. Toss and season with salt and pepper.
4. Plate on desired service platter or into bowls.
5. Top with the nuts, cheese, syrup and serve.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 398 calories; 35 g fat; 8 mg cholesterol; 200 mg sodium;
22 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein

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