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Monday, August 22, 2011

A Dessert to Feel Good About

I am a dessert eater.  I love a little something sweet after dinner and by sweet I mean a cookie or a little ice cream.  Being a middle aged woman, a cookie or a little ice cream isn't the most sensible dessert so I often try and fake myself out with a dessert that's a little more, shall we say, sensible.

Macerated strawberries are the perfect dessert.  First of all, you can make them in about 30 seconds.  Second of all, there's no cooking involved, just stirring.  And most importantly, they are pretty much guilt free which means you can have a nice little bowl and not cringe when you get on the scale the next time.

Not only are macerated strawberries easy to make, you can dress them up or down, depending on your mood.  I love them with just sprinkling of lemon zest but they're also absolutely delicious with a chiffonade of fresh basil.  Anyway you do it, they're the perfect end to dinner.

If you want to go wild and make the strawberries into a less virtuous show stopped for guests, try serving them over pound cake or ice cream.  Or, how about making your breakfast a little more gourmet and serving them over a little greek yogurt.  The possibilities are endless and this is still a dish you can feel good about enjoying.

Recipe:  Macerated Strawberries

*  Note:  These strawberries are good with a chiffonade of 8 basil leaves.  If using basil, omit the lemon zest.  They are also delicious mixed with other fruits, especially blueberries.

Use a high quality aged (thick) balsamic vinegar.  I like Fini, available at Williams Sonoma.


4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar, balsamic, and pepper. Let sit at room temperature until the strawberries have released their juices but are not yet mushy, about 30 minutes but not more than 90 minutes.

Just before serving, grate lemon zest over strawberries.

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