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Red, ripe and oooh, so good

It's strawberry time. And summer has arrived. We never eat strawberries until our U-pick farms here open and then we pick and pick and pick.

They are wonderful on their own - try placing hulled and halved strawberries in a large bowl; add sugar and dry red wine and stir gently. Cover; chill three-six hours, then ladle into wine glasses and serve with a biscotti.

Orange liqueur adds a sophisticated touch to a very easy to make fresh strawberry sauce. Drizzle it over frosty scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt.

To make, hull 2 cups strawberries, then whirl in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add about

1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur to taste.

Another good strawberry syrup - combine 1 quart strawberries, sliced, with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice and

1 teaspoon grated orange rind in pan and let stand 30 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

My salad greens are ready to be picked in my garden and mixed with strawberries make a most refreshing salad - in a salad bowl combine 2 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach, 3/4 cup quartered strawberries, 1/4 cup slivered almonds,

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped red onion. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil,

1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 11/2 teaspoons grated orange peel and 1/8 teaspoon ginger.

Pour over salad; toss gently to coat and serve immediately to two.

And who can resist a

FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE WITH ALMOND CRUST

11/2 cups crushed shortbread cookies

1/4 cup finely chopped slivered

almonds

1/3 cup butter, melted



FILLING

6 cups strawberries, hulled

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Stir together crust ingredients; press on bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Mash 1 cup strawberries; add water to equal 1 1/3 cups. In a pan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in mashed strawberry mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (15-20 minutes). Boil

1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in salt and almond extract; cool 10 minutes.

Fill cooled crust with remaining strawberries; pour cooked strawberry mixture over strawberries. Refrigerate until mixture is thickened, at least 3 hours. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and serve.

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