Expect the unexpected. It’s not a motto I live my life by, but it certainly has its place in the context of the weather we’re experiencing right now and I have no complaints. Our higher-than-average seasonal temperatures and prolongued days of sunshine have ensured that our strawberry season has arrived with gusto. We’ve waited patiently for some color in our urban garden and, like the first glimpse of sunshine after a storm, were rewarded with these rich red, textured, heart-shaped fruit nesting in their foliage. A good percentage of home-grown strawberries are popped straight into the pickers mouth. For any that make it into the kitchen, try this no-bake Strawberry Cheesecake using some tangy, creamy, fresh Michigan Cream Cheese.
Serves 4-6 depending on glass size
● 6oz Graham Crackers, crumbed
● 2oz butter, melted
● 12oz Michigan Cream Cheese
● 2oz confectioners sugar
● ¼ tsp vanilla essence
● ⅔ cup/5 fl oz heavy cream
● 8oz (approximately 10 medium) strawberries
● 2tbsp confectioners sugar
1. In a bowl, mix the melted butted and the crushed graham crackers (you can do this in a processor or by hand by putting into a plastic bag and using a rolling pin)
2. Press into the individual glasses for serving and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the heavy cream and combine.
4. Spoon the cream mixture onto the individual cooled biscuit bases and refrigerate.
5. Puree half the strawberries with the 2tbsp sugar and seive.
6. Slice or dice the remaining strawberries and pile onto the cheesecake bases, then drizzle with the puree.
Jane McKay is a member of the Merchant Park Community Garden - "a backyard for us all."
Merchant Park Community Garden (MPCG) strives to provide an opportunity for neighbors and their children to work, play, learn and grow together. MPCG is not only for the benefit of our members, but also aims to benefit the community at large through outreach efforts such as donations to local food pantries. In short, MPCG is an oasis in the 30th ward - a backyard for us all.
Everything we grow is within 8' x 8' raised beds, constructed by the members in May 2011. Each raised bed has a dedicated owner for a year and all of our produce is organically grown.