Wimbledon Tradition: “Strawberries and Cream” (Joanna-adapted!)

In Honor of Wimbledon—“Strawberries and Cream”!

Good day friends, guests and followers,

photo (21) This li’l cutie (might be Henry, a regular) got caught red-pawed in my yard and had the nerve to look directly at the camera too. Never again in this lifetime, lol. 

rhododendron in vase Rhododendron from my front yard. Just liked how this looked and had to share! 🙂

Of course this post was supposed to be only about fruit and cream, but y’all know how easily sidetracked Joanna gets. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

So sad to watch Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer go out so early in this highly anticipated annual tournament (especially after my ranting about seeds in my previous post). End of an era? Changing of the guard?

Possibly. I’m sure though, providing a little more time between the French Open and Wimbledon Tennis Championships would so a difference make. About three weeks separate the “Channel Slams” (partly because of each’s location across the English Channel). Not exactly much time to recover from the clay court season and prepare for a ridiculously short-lived grass court season. Heck: the Australian is held the end of January. The next slam is the French, which starts the Monday before Memorial Day (U.S. A.) in May. Wimbledon follows beginning the last week of June. Then no grand-slam action until the last week of August. I’m sure there are required tournaments to be played during the hard-court season, but players can also build in a little regroup time too.  (IMHO, the scheduling officials really need to look at this. Players are human after all. Then again, what do I know?)

Oh well, it is what it is, and Wimbledon is obviously happening without these fan-favorite past champions. It’s also going on minus a handful of top male players and women (i.e., Victoria Azarenka) out with injuries after slips and slides on the slick grass surface of the first week. Former Grand Slam champion, Wimbledon finalist, Tennis Hall of Fame and current Davis cup captain Jim Courier commented about the game being so much more aggressive now. The Wimbledon courts are still being groomed as they were about a century ago, when play was with wooden racquets and the balls didn’t move as hard and fast as they do nowadays. Hmm: very interesting point.

All Wimby 2013 facts and conjecture aside, this tourney is best known for its traditions. Wearing all white garb on the court. No play on “Middle Sunday, ”  among others.

And this one (finally): The topic of today’s post: Strawberries and Cream! A favorite, I’m sure, during every “Breakfast at Wimbledon”. Here are a few images of what theirs looks like. 0:-)

This ain’t no strawberries and whipped cream, folks. European cream is a lot different. In England, it is known as double cream, is not aerated and so thick it has be spooned as it doesn’t pour.  (This, as described by late author Laurie Colwin, in her novel Home Cooking.) I’ve had a similar Italian version (a.k.a. panna), many times over granita, similar to a “slushie” or Italian ice, in strawberry or coffee versions. Yes, many people make it here, but it just ain’t the same. (And trust, me: pure fat ain’t low in the calorie count neither.)

So: what does Joanna do? Come up with a healthy—no less tasty—version of same! (Hey, if it tastes like you’re giving something up, it’s not worth it.) And of course, it’s seriously easy-peasy.

What you’ll need (serves one person):

Fresh strawberries, hulled, or hulled and sliced. (Your choice on how many 😉 )

Roughly equal parts non-fat plain regular and Greek-strained yogurts (1/2-cup each is good, but you can adjust to taste/preference in consistency)

Vanilla (a few drops to taste)

Sugar, sugar substitute (i.e., Splenda, Stevia, etc) or honey (again, you decide how much based on how sweet you like)

Sugar-free non-dairy creamer (French vanilla or hazelnut—optional)

What to do:

Combine the yogurts, vanilla, sweetener (and non-dairy creamer); stir until smooth.

Pour over strawberries or plop them into the mix, as did I.

strawberries n cream Threw this serving together last-minute before taking off to the day job. Worked for me. 🙂

Eat and watch Wimbledon!

Mixing the yogurts creates a consistency pretty similar to that of panna and most likely, double cream. It also cuts the tartness and thickness of the Greek yogurt, while thickening up the regular yogurt. Try it and let me know what you think. Feel free to substitute blueberries, peaches—whatever your favorites are!

I also keep thinking about freezing myself some yogurt pops using this mix. Again, it’s all about consistency with NO FAT (or sugar, should you go that route).

So, what do you think? Ready to give it a try?

*You can also use pre-flavored vanillas of each or one. (Doesn’t matter which one). I stick to plain yogurts b/c the ready-made tend to be very high in sugar, and the sugar-free version is a bit too sweet for my taste.

Happy rest of Wimbledon–and the week, of course!

Joanna

To Seed or Not to Seed: Wimbledon 2013

Hi all. Hope all of you are doing well.

My apologies for having gone missing these past weeks. The 2012-13 school year should have been done, but we earned the better part of an extra week in to make up for Superstorm Sandy lost days. (She will haunt us for a very long time, on many levels.)

Not that I’m off for the summer. Extended school year (a.k.a. “summer program”) starts June 30th  and runs through July. What can I say? It helps cover August and September bills when cash flow is definitely “out” with very little “in”. Then again, one needs a whole lot of $$$ to buy time.

Anyway…

Wimbledon, considered the most prestigious of professional tennis’ Grand Slam Championships, starts today.

The seeds are seeded. (Translation for non-tennis fans: Based on their world ranking and likelihood to win a particular tournament, professional players are “seeded.” At the grand slams, 32 spots in each of the women’s and men’s draws are considered.

So: The draw has been drawn. (Translation: This would be the line-up of who will be playing whom for the first round, which of course, will impact to some degree, who will play whom in subsequent rounds).

Maybe—just maybe—the powers that be who seed the players ought to take another look at the system. And I, who like to believe the best about anyone and everyone, wonder if there wasn’t some inside fan of a particular top male player who wanted to make that player’s road a little easier. Seems as though three of the other top names have a much harder road to the final based on the seeding and the draw.

But what do I know? I am merely a fan. The articles I’ve read though, bring out my cynical side.

Fine. I AM BIASED.  In the words of Michael Baisden, “I said it. Yes I did.” And because this is my blog and I can grump if I want to, I will. 0:-)

My favorite, Rafael Nadal got seeded 5th, partly because he went out in the 2nd round last year. That means he’ll go head-to-head with a higher seed (most likely Roger Federer, who is seeded third) in the quarterfinals. This will result in a major fan favorite top player eliminated one round shy of the semis, and with no chance at the final. Andy Murray won at Wimbledon at the Olympics, but has technically never won this tournament, yet he’s seeded ahead of Fed (who only won 7 measly Wimbledons, let’s get real, people). David Ferrar is 4th, which is fair enough given he’s been fairly consistent, but he’s NEVER won ANY slam, let alone the one considered most prestigious among the men’s and women’s game.

Truth is, no matter the seeding, whoever plays his game and possibly has a bit of luck on his side will come through.

But…

Who is the ONLY guy besides Fed and Novak Djokovic (current World Number One who has only won it once, thank you very much) who’s won it in the past ten years???? Oh yeah! (Slaps self in head.) Rafa! The number five seed, who, BTW, is currently ranked NUMBER ONE for this year in finals and titles (9 and 7, respectively) and the first to qualify for the Barclays ATP Men’s Tour Finals, despite being ranked Number 5 in the Emirates/ATP rankings.

Just sayin’.

Have a great week and happy Wimbledon to those of you who love the slams as much as I do! Special thanks too, to ESPN and Tennis Channel, for awesome coverage! Beats how it was once-upon-a-time when coverage was kind of limited to weekends and quarterfinal-and-on action.

Joanna

Does Andy Murray’s Olympic Gold Count?

The 2012 Olympics are complete, flame’s out, flag’s been passed and the athletes gone.

Hi all. Just beginning to catch up after a week away and a very busy weekend. Hope all is well and that y’all missed me terribly while I was ‘out.’ 😉

Okay, I had to go here. This one wouldn’t leave me, and I’m sorry, but it’s a bit of a rant. (Besides, US Tennis Open qualifying action starts in a few hours. I’ve got tennis on the brain, lol.)

Until Wimbledon 2012, Andy Murray was, simply put, a top-five player. I respected his game—you have to have some skill to be the world’s Number Four—but he didn’t excite me as a fan. The tennis world didn’t seem to consider him a major contender either. Recent slam wins were reserved for Rafael Nadal (Rafa), Novak Djokovic (Nole or Djoker) and “the great” Roger Federer (The Fed).

Well, go figure. Andy signs on former champion (and very stoic) Ivan Lendl as coach and is now hanging in much tougher at the big venues. He made it to this year’s Wimbledon’s final and held his own big-time against The Fed, who’s earned many a trophy there. Murray played a great match, took second place and gained a tremendous amount of respect and fans that day.

Fast forward to one month later: Centre Court, Wimbledon, London 2012 Olympic gold medal tennis match. Andy vs. Roger, in a rematch of four weeks before. This time, Andy emerges with the title.

And what do the commentators say?! “Does this count?” (As in, is this title big enough to be the equivalent of a slam?)

REALLY?!

I mean:

REALLY??!!

Andy Murray wins his first REALLY big tournament at a venue that takes place ONCE every FOUR years. He claimed gold at Wimbledon, in his home court of London, representing Great Britain as he has since he joined the circuit. The addition of pros to Olympic competition—especially in tennis—kind of makes it REALLY hard for any non-pro to medal at all, let alone take gold.

So, essentially, Andy Murray won the gold Olympic medal against his peers, the elite of the elite when it comes to tennis. (BTW, let’s not forget Roger walking away with silver and Juan Martin DelPotro taking the bronze from—OMG!—the world’s Number One player, Djoker! You think DelPo’s not proud of THAT achievement? And while we’re at it, let’s recall that DelPo beat Rafa in the semis to beat The Fed in the 2009 US Open Tennis Championships. Nuff said.)

Unfortunately, since the days of Nancy Kerrigan taking silver (God-forbid) for her figure-skating grace and poise, anything but a gold medal seems glossed over and almost non-important. (Geez, Louise! I took second place in a writer’s contest and was every bit as excited as if I’d taken the top spot. Soon as I opened that email, I started shouting, “I’m the first loser in the contest!!!” all over the house. That’s hubby’s line, btw.)

Back to tennis: I do not pretend to understand pro rankings, but I do know playing in the Olympics “counts” toward rankings. Guess what: the commentators know that too. Perhaps they were being facetious and I heard the words and missed the tone? I suppose anything is possible. But, uh, commentator guys—you know who you are—let’s not downplay Olympic gold. No one’s forgotten Rafa’s (garnered in Beijing). I’m thinking most tennis fans—and especially Murray’s—are all going to remember well Andy’s first ‘BIG’ win.

Whew. Done. Thanks for letting me vent.

Here’s a link to a great photo of Andy sporting his gold medal! (No fun not being able to post a picture in the blog, what with copyright nightmares another blogger is dealing with.)

If you please, SHARE via one of the buttons. I do so thank you!

Have a great day and TTFN,

Joanna