Saturday, May 14, 2011

Strawberry Time


It’s strawberry season so why do anything to these bright red berries but enjoy?  If your backyard is yielding the naturally sweet and red through-and-through berry, then I would not do more than eat them as is.  Early season and cultivated strawberries, on the other hand, could use a little enhancement to intensify the flavor and remind us what a great strawberry really tastes like.  Simple Strawberry Compote is that enhancement.

The beauty of some store-bought strawberry varieties only goes skin deep.  The perfectly shaped, large berries with pale interiors look picture-perfect but often lack deep strawberry flavor.  Smelling even sub-par strawberries makes us yearn for shortcake or pound cake topped with berries and cream.  Especially if you bake your own dessert, you deserve better strawberries.  

Simple strawberry compote gives you juicy berries with real strawberry flavor and a little sauce to spoon over cakes, ice cream, custards and yogurt. 

Simple Strawberry Compote

Ingredients
2 pints strawberries, hulled and rinsed
juice of 1/2 fresh orange
2-3 drops vanilla extract
1/2- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey

Method
  1. Slice berries about 1/4 inch thick.  Place in a microwavable bowl.  
  2. Squeeze orange juice over strawberries.  Stir in vanilla and sugar.  
  3. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until strawberries “wilt” and juices begin to run into bottom of bowl.  Remove and use at once or cover and cool to dip into at will.
Strawberry compote keeps, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 days.

This is also a great way to transform frozen strawberries.  Microwave them whole with the other ingredients.  Use the back of a fork to lightly crush them into bite-sized pieces. 

Wonderful stirred into cream or an ice cream custard and frozen into strawberry ice cream.  And as always, enjoy them with plain real yogurt.  We have been seduced by Seven Stars plain yogurt with cream on top of late.  It’s made at a dairy outside of Philadelphia.