Tag Archives: strawberries

Strawberries with Reduced Balsamic Syrup – Crazy-Easy, Tasty, Healthy Dessert

Wow, have you tried the spring strawberries yet? They’re positively bursting with juicy, sweet flavor! If you want to try an insanely simple and super quick dessert recipe that’s elegant, unique, healthy and moan-worthy delicious, you’ve got to try this dish: Strawberries with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar Syrup. I know it sounds like an odd combo, but trust me, the flavors create a harmonious symphony that’s both luscious and vibrant. It may even remind you of the deep, rich flavor of a berrylicious zinfandel.

I came up with this recipe while trying to figure out a quick and tasty sugar-free dessert that John and our friends might like.  I decided that it was pretty necessary to develop a sugar-free recipe after I had the wits scared out of me when I read a bunch of recent scientific studies about sugar and how bad it is for our bodies. The studies go so far as to call sugar “toxic” and “poison” since it’s been proven to fuel the growth of cancer, cause high blood pressure, prematurely age skin, create man-eating mutant sharks with laser beams on their heads, hasten the apocalypse, etc. But all of the studies said that the naturally occurring sugars in fruits are totally fine when you eat them in the whole fruit (as opposed to juicing fruits or separating the sugar from the flesh of the fruit and concentrating it).

This recipe features the naturally sweet, delicious flavor of ripe strawberries and the deep, dark, silky-smooth, tangy and slightly tannic flavor of reduced/concentrated balsamic vinegar to create a remarkable dessert. When you reduce the balsamic, it really deepens the flavor and takes away its sharp bite while creating a thick syrup, which is divine. So if you choose to banish sugar from your diet, you won’t feel the least bit deprived when you eat this dessert. You won’t even miss the sugar…but watch out for those mutant sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Strawberries with Reduced Balsamic Syrup

Serves: 6
From fridge to table: 5-10 minutes

– 1 pint fresh, ripe organic strawberries *
– 1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar **

* Choose organic strawberries if you can afford it. Strawberries absorb chemicals through their skin and right into the flesh of the fruit, so if you buy a conventionally grown strawberry, even if you wash off a berry, you may still be eating pesticides. Plus, organic berries just taste better!

** Flavored balsamics, like fig or strawberry balsamic, work even better in this recipe

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Boil it down until it’s reduced by a little more than half, occasionally swirling the vinegar in your saucepan. Once it’s reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, which will thicken it into a syrup consistency. Arrange berries in a single layer on a plate, drizzle balsamic over them and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Once reduced and cooled, the reduced balsamic vinegar takes on a syrupy consistence. If you tip your finger in it, it should stick to your finger and slowly slide off.

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Spectacular Sangria

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the rough translation of sangria is: “awesome dinner party.” Is it a coincidence that John and I seem to have the most fantastic dinners with friends whenever we serve this spectacular sangria? Or that the food tastes extra delicious when accompanied by a big glass of this luscious, subtly sweet, ruby-colored nectar of the gods? I think not. And if you’re wondering what this has to do with Operation Carnivore Conversion, well, let’s just say that when John has a glass or three of this divine elixir, he’s far more willing to try new vegan dishes that he might otherwise deem as “suspect foods” when he’s not so well lubricated.

Whenever I make this, it disappears in a flash and everyone begs me for my secret recipe, and now I’m finally sharing it. Make some tonight and bring on the smiles!

Cimeron’s Spectacular Sangria

Serves: 6

– 1 bottle dry red wine – I’ve found that Italian sangiovese works best
– 1 bottle dry white wine – my favorite for this recipe is sauvignon blanc from New Zealand
– The juice of one lemon, preferably a meyer lemon
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 lemon, thinly sliced into circles or half moons and seeded
– 1 seedless orange, sliced into half moons
– A large handful of sliced strawberries, pineapple or nectarines

In a large pitcher, pour in the wines, sugar and lemon juice. Stir well until all the sugar has dissolved. Toss in the sliced lemon and orange. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. An hour or so before serving, add the other sliced fruit (strawberries, pineapple or nectarines). When you’re ready to serve it, toss in some ice cubes. Enjoy!