Add a twist to your dish with berries

You can now purchase strawberries most of the year, but there is nothing like the first bite of a fresh strawberry in what is true strawberry season.

It’s a close-your-eyes and smack-your-lips kind of first bite.

In our house, we’ve already enjoyed our seasonal first bite of asparagus, Mom’s best-ever potato salad, her baked beans with a spring/summer extra touch and a first grilled burger.

There’s just something about that first bite of the season, that makes your taste buds spring alive.

However, first bites don’t stop there. How about the first bite of a new twist on a product or dish? There are millions of recipes providing amazing (and some not so good) first bites.

Here are some of my first bite discoveries from the past few weeks. Perhaps some will become first bites for you.

YOGURT FOR DESSERT

A friend e-mailed me her menu as she was busily preparing for dinner guests. Her dessert jumped out at me: Noosa Blackberry Serrano Yoghurt served with cookies.

Really? Yogurt for dessert, with serranos?

I quickly googled and found that Noosa is a brand of heavenly yogurt created by an Aussie ex-pat/Colorado farmer with happy cows, according to NoosaYoghurt.com.

I searched supermarkets and sure enough, attention-getting containers of Noosa Yoghurts were easy to find.

I’m a fat free plain yogurt gal, but my first bite of full-fat Noosa Blackberry Serrano Yoghurt made me gasp. The smoothness, quality and the blackberry flavor with a hint of serrano pepper were awesome!

Noosa’s other varieties — there are lime, lemon, passion fruit and more — also are truly worthy of being dessert.

 

SWEET HEAT

Habanero infused local honey can really get your attention.

The new Sweet Heat Honey from Bella’s Bees is a great fit for my love of foods with some heat and local honey, and it called for immediate action.

Howdy Martsolf with Bella’s Bees suggested I make a PBH sandwich. So I toasted another recently discovery of mine, Thomas’ High Fiber English Muffins, and spread it with my favorite natural peanut butter and topped it with a squeeze of Bella’s Bees’ Sweet Heat Honey.

It was an inspiring first bite with a subtle but tasty kick! Next time, I’ll add a slice of sweet onion.

Howdy also suggested adding a little bit of this honey to hot tea. So I did, and that “first sip” transformed a cup of green tea.

My husband, Fred, is a wimp when it comes to spicy heat in his food, but using this honey in following recipe for pork tenderloin won him over completely.

 

Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Recipe courtesy honey.org, with changes to incorporate Sweet Heat Honey and our tastes.

2 pork tenderloins (about 3/4 pound each)

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey (Dixie note: I substituted half of the honey with the Sweet Heat Honey and cut down the curry powder to 1 teaspoon.)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, lime juice, oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger and black pepper; mix until well-blended. Place pork tenderloins in a plastic bag; pour honey mixture over pork in bag. Close bag tightly and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour or up to overnight.

Remove pork from marinade; reserve marinade. Grill over medium coals 20–25 minutes for medium doneness, turning after first 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Serve with sliced pork and garnish with cilantro. (Dixie note: I made an extra batch of marinade and reduced it down to a sauce.)

Tip: For a vegetarian version, replace pork with 1 1/2 pounds of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slices; marinate as directed. Grill over medium coals 6–8 minutes.


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