Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Strawberry Mania... Jams, Crepes and Watermelon Dessert...

School year is wrapping up, and that means my beloved newcomers culinary program comes to a close for summer break. What to cook with my lovely students to bid them farewell and give them something to remember me and our last class by? Fresh bright red sweet strawberries abound everywhere I go, and wouldn't it be such a delicious send off cooking together in some of my favourite things to do with them-- crepes, jam and combined with watermelon and strawberry milk for a fun dessert you can eat and drink. DIY strawberry jam in little mason jars as a token take-home gift and learning to carve a cool serving bowl out of watermelon-- now that's what I call preserving the memories and flavours of cooking together that will hopefully inspire the kids to enjoy the summer fun ahead with foods they can make for or with their friends and family! This is my wish for these classes-- sharing it forward waaaay beyond the classroom.

Yes no cook strawberry jam-- a great way to preserve and savour the top berry of summer.

Easy No-Cook Strawberry Jam (from Kraft Canada)
Makes 5-1/2 cups

1-3/4 cups crushed strawberries (start with 4 cups of strawberries)
4 cups sugar
1 pouch (85 mL) Certo Liquid Pectin
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix berries and sugar until blended. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally. Add pectin and juice; stir 3 min. or until most the sugar is dissolved. Pour into clean jars or plastic containers; cover with tight-fitting lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours or until set. Freeze up to 1 year or refrigerate up to 3 weeks. 
How to Crush Strawberries: Use a potato masher to crush the strawberries, crushing them one layer at a time. For best results, do not crush the berries in a food processor. 

Extra TIP: Add 1 Tbsp. orange or lemon zest to crushed strawberries before mixing with remaining ingredients. 

Silver Spring students excitedly mashing and filling jars.

Capping to preserve the sweet memories of our culinary class.


Basic Crepes (adapted from Kraft Canada)
Makes about 8  8-inch crepes

1-1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup flour

Whisk milk, eggs and oil smooth. Add flour; whisk until batter is well blended and smooth. Pour into bowl; cover. Refrigerate 30 min.

Lightly coat skillet with cooking spray. Heat on medium heat. Pour 3 Tbsp. batter into skillet; rotate to coat evenly. Cook 1 min. or until golden on underside. Loosen edge with rubber spatula and turn out of pan onto paper towel. Stack, browned side up. If storing to use later, place a waxed paper between each crepe.

Humber Summit newcomer students enjoying crepes for the first time!

A fury of crepe-making over at Beverley Heights!

Silver Springs students customizing their crepe-licious!
Here's the cool watermelon carving-- hollowed out watermelon half as a serving bowl for fruit...

Or as a punch bowl... Here making one of my favourite refreshing summer desserts-- Korean Hwachae--  watermelon and strawberry milk soup in a fun serving vessel to entertain with! A dessert kids and adults alike will love...

Henry Kelsey students had fun being introduced to fruit-carving!

Take a whole watermelon, slice a piece off both ends to create a flat bottom (not too deep to puncture the flesh or it will leak), and cut fruit in half. With a large spoon, scoop out all the fruit and place into a container and pour out all it juice into a large bowl; use immediately or freeze for several hours (the pieces should be chunky with some small pieces).

Take a small knife, cut triangles or alternating squares working your way around the melon rim (don`t worry about being perfect-- no one will notice or care). Remove the melon pieces from the freezer-- it should be slushy and icy but not frozen hard; if it is give an hour or so to thaw a bit.

Korean Watermelon and Strawberry Milk Dessert Soup (Hwachae)

1 hollowed watermelon half
watermelon pieces and juice
strawberries, washed and quartered (If not sweet enough, toss with some sugar and let sit for 1/2 hour)
strawberry milk
ice if desired

To serve, place the strawberries in the hollowed watermelon. Add the watermelon and pour in the milk to almost filled. If not serving right away refrigerate. Add ice if desired upon serving.


I`ve always been attracted to fruity Asian desserts and beverages that excite the senses-- flavourful, textural and beautifully presented. When the humidity of the summer air creates parched throats everywhere, Korean Hwachae`s refreshing soothing cold fruit soup is guaranteed to quench and quell! Asian cuisines often call this kind of dessert a soup-- a dessert you can eat and a beverage you can drink in one! For more fun variations, including an adult version-- check out my post.

Korean Watermelon Strawberry Milk Hwachae

Cheers to a fantastic and safe summer! Hope to see your friendly faces again...

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