Strawberry season is slowly creeping up the lines of latitude, and although it hasn’t quite reached as far as New York state, it’s close. And that’s such good news. My kids have been aching for strawberries, and I just don’t know how much longer I can ignore their pleas in the grocery store when we walk by the big, hard, pink, pesticide-laden, gas-guzzling, globes labeled “strawberries.” “Soon,” I tell them, “soon we will eat strawberries …” And now soon is almost here.
We will eat them plain, we will eat them with yogurt, we will eat them with fresh local cream. And then we will eat more plain, and then some more. Eventually, I will start making jam. But before that, I will have to make crepes with ricotta cheese smothered in macerated strawberries. For those of you who have been blessed with strawberries already, let me share the recipe. For those of you as north or farther than me, save this recipe and remember, “soon …”
Macerate the Strawberries
There are any number of ways to macerate strawberries–many recipes call for liqueur or wine, some spice it up with black pepper. Since this recipe is intended to be kid-friendly, I have kept it on the tame side.
2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir, and refrigerate for 2two hours.
Make the Crepes
This recipe is for thin (and quite nutritious) pancakes that I use in place of a more traditional crepe.
1 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Sucanat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups organic buttermilk
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoons melted butter
Oil or butter for the pan
1. Stir all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add wet ingredients.
2. Lightly stir until just combined, leaving some lumps. Overbeating will result in tough pancakes.
3. Brush skillet with oil or butter over medium heat until a droplet of water sizzles. Pour batter into pan and cook until small bubbles form in pancake. Flip, cook and remove to a warm plate.
Compose the Crepes
Spoon ricotta cheese on a crepe, roll it up, and douse with macerated strawberries. You can also use cottage cheese–when I can’t find organic ricotta, I blend organic cottage cheese in the blender until smooth for a reasonable approximation of ricotta.
Whole Ragi Grain- 1 cup
(I sprouted these for added nutritional benefits. But it’s not strictly necessary)
Idli rice (parboiled) – 1 cup
Whole skinned Urad dal – ¾ cup
Methi seeds -1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil- to grease idli moulds (I used PAM oil spray)
1. After multiple washes, soak the Ragi for a day. Drain and let it rest for another day or two till you see tiny white sprouts.
2. Alternatively, you can skip the sprouting and just soak the ragi for 3-4 hours longer than you soak the rice.
3. Soak rice, whole urad and methi seeds in separate containers for 4-6 hours or overnight.
4. In a wet grinder or a mixie /blender, grind the urad dal till light and fluffy. A test for fluffiness is to keep a bowl of water and drop a tiny pinch of batter. If it floats, it is light enough.
5. Then add and grind the Ragi grains and Methi and finally the rice.
6. Take care that the rice should not be ground too smooth. It should be of rice Rava consistency. Alternatively, you can use rice Rava instead.
7. Take the batter in a vessel, fold in some salt to taste and leave it overnight to ferment. I found that the dough fermented really well, doubling up and overflowing the vessel. So take adequate precautions.
8. For Idli: Next morning, lightly stir the well-fermented batter. Grease Idli moulds and steam in a pressure cooker for 12-15 minutes till done.
9. For Dosai: You can make dosais with the same batter.
10. Ragi idlis/dosai can be served with a dollop of butter or ghee on top, along with the usual fixings on the side: sambar, chutney and/or Milagai Podi.
Special attention should be given on hygiene in hospitals : Mayawati
Lucknow : June 18, 2008 Following the directives of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati pertaining to provide health facilities to poor through Government Hospitals, action has been initiated on war-footing for making functional the 100-bed joint hospital at Sanjay Nagar in Ghaziabad district and the newly constructed 89 community health centres in different districts. The investigation and treatment of patients have also been started in the joint hospital of Ghaziabad. It may be recalled that Chief Minister has directed for providing the health facilities in far-flung rural areas of the State. She said that with these hospitals getting functional the poor and weaker sections of the society, especially the people of rural areas would get better health facilities. With a view to fulfilling the directives of the Chief Minister, the newly constructed 89 community health centres would get functional within three months. It may be mentioned that Chief Minister had directed to senior administrative officers in a meeting held on June 3, that the newly constructed 100-bed joint hospital of Ghaziabad district should start functioning within 15 days for ensuring health facilities to people. Following the directives of the Chief Minister, arrangement was made for providing health facilities to the people of the area through the joint hospital within 15 days. All necessary equipments have also been arranged and the staff has been recruited. The OPD, Pathology, Dental, Medicine, Physio-therapy, Eye Unit, X-ray, Ultrasound and ECG have become functional in the hospital for the treatment of patients. The State Government has released Rs. 28.14 crore for newly constructed 89 community health centres for necessary equipments and medicines with a view to making it functional within three months for providing the facility of specialised treatment to the people of far-flung and rural areas. The Doctors, Paramedical Staff besides other necessary staff has also been arranged for these CHCs. The Chief Minister said that the State Government had given top priority to strengthen the medical system of the State, so that health and medical facilities could be made available to the poor and destitute residing in the rural areas also. She has also directed for paying special attention towards the hygiene of all hospitals including district hospitals, besides the sensitive and human approach towards patients and their attendants. The State Government is committed for providing better medical facilities to women and children and other patients at the hospitals. For it, building-less sub-centres and the PHCs’ buildings are being constructed. Directives have also been issued for continuous monitoring of Doctors and Paramedical staffs’ presence on time, besides ensuring the enough arrangements of medicines necessary equipments, ant- rabies and snake ant-venom injections.