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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo Now in season: The first strawberries are in the stores. The versatile fruit is cherished all over the world. Seen in this photo is strawberry compote, which adds to the flavor of many sweet dishes.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Strawberries — sweet treats for Mother’s Day and author Larada Horner-Miller

Strawberries — saying, or in this case, writing the word and I can almost smell the delicious aroma of the red berry.

As you probably know by now, if you follow my column, my original hometown was Wiesbaden, Germany. The city is nestled between rolling hills of forests and farms while to its east, the slow-flowing river Rhine beckons with small villages and large vineyards full of grapes that make the famous Rhine wine.

When I recently went to shop for the necessities of life and ingredients for this column’s recipe, I was delighted to see shelves full of fresh strawberries. They usually arrive early in town, while in Germany local strawberries are at their peak in June. My mother Silvia and myself would drive out to the large strawberry farms where you could “rent” a row or two to pick your own strawberries. It was much cheaper than buying them in the store and the farmer made a little bit more profit because he didn’t have to pay fieldworkers and didn’t have to share the money with the store.

We would drive out on a Friday afternoon after school and bring back baskets full of the strawberries. For the next two days, my grandmother, my mom and myself would be busy making all kinds of treats out of the berries to preserve them for later. Oh, the sweet scent that teased everybody on the block. It was no secret who was cooking jam, jelly and marmalade. I helped cutting the fruit into pieces with a dull children’s knife and — when I got a little taller and older — would be on stirring duty, as well. With today being Mother’s Day, I want to share some ideas where your kids or grandkids can help prepare a dish to treat their mom. Strawberry compote is a specialty in Germany and mostly served as a hot topping on ice cream or on pancakes, which was my grandmother’s favorite way to enjoy. Here is the recipe:

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Strawberry Compote

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1 lb very ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced in quarters

zest and juice from 1/2 lemon

½ tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preparation:

Place everything except the cornstarch mix into a coated saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir constantly while bringing it to a boil. The sauce will begin to thicken.

Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract, stir and allow the strawberry compote to cool.

Compote is between sauce and jam, an ideal topping for no-bake cheesecake, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, ice cream and even on some plain white yogurt.

You can make an adult version by adding a shot glass of dark rum with the vanilla.

If you prefer to have the compote as a sauce, all you need to do is put it in a mixer until it is smooth.

You can serve the compote warm or cold. For all mothers out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

Books for comfort:

Larada Horner-Miller is an accomplished New Mexico Co-op author of four award-winning historical fiction, memoir and poetry books, as well as three cookbooks. Her fifth book is the authorized memoir and biography of world-renowned square dance caller Marshall “Flip” Flippo. “Just Another Square Dance Caller,” the biography of Marshall Flippo, was published April 2020.

Horner-Miller sent in descriptions of her first four books via email:

“This Tumbleweed Landed”

The reader rides on a tumbleweed back in time to life in a small, southwestern community as seen through the eyes of a young girl during the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“When Will Papa Get Home?”

Immigrated from Mexico to a homestead on the high plains of southeastern Colorado, the heroine of the story, Maria, is determined to rise above prejudice and other obstacles in this engaging historical novel.

“Let Me Tell You a Story”

The reader travels back in time in this nonfiction account from the author’s father, finding out on how her grandfather put their family ranch together in southeast Colorado and northeast New Mexico during the Depression when others were losing their livelihoods and ranches.

“A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir”

Through a series of poignant poems and reflections, author Horner-Miller celebrates her parents’ legacies, mourns their deaths, and offers words of comfort and inspiration for others who are grieving.

Horner-Miller’s books are available on Amazon. For more information, visit laradasbooks.com.

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