Fresh berries are nature’s candies. Bright and juicy, they are one of the most healthful natural foods. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, whatever the color they are super! If you want to use them for something other than snacking and parfaits, here is a great dessert sauce recipe!
This sauce is a perfect accompaniment to ice cream, or poured over angel food cake, or even by itself with some fresh cream. It would make a great sauce for chicken, duck, or pork as well. You may like it so much you just eat it from the pan with a spoon! Not that I would or did do that…
Frozen berries would work just as well, you would just have to cook it a little longer to evaporate the extra water. The longer you simmer, the thicker and more syrup-like this will become. You could even use it on top of pancakes! I used half blackberries and half raspberries, you could mix however you like.
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
Step 1: In a frying pan, mix berries with sugar, lemon juice and balsamic. Bring to barely a simmer, and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until berries have liquefied and the mixture has become thick and syrupy.
Step 2: Pour over some high quality vanilla or flavored ice cream, and enjoy warm!
This is delicious warm, and has a nice little tang from the vinegar. The lemon juice brightens it, but it is not absolutely required. You could try cherries too, I bet that would be the bomb diggity.
Brussels sprouts tend to be a polarizing vegetable. Love it or hate it.
I love it. Bet you didn’t see that coming. =)
That hasn’t always been the case. Tastes change over time, as most children don’t enjoy the taste of many vegetables, but as we grow and our palates expand, things we once found revolting become favorites.
Brussels sprouts are in the Brassicacea family, along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collard greens. They may have originated in Brussels, Belgium, where they may have earned their name. They contain high levels of vitamin C and K, B vitamins, trace minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. They, along with other brassicas, contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, under study for its effects on DNA repair and apparent ability to block growth of cancer cells.
Boiling used to be the only way brussels sprouts were prepared, and gave these beauties a bad name by boiling all the taste and life out of them . Better options for cooking to maximize texture and taste include steaming, frying, and my personal favorite, oven roasting.
Brussels sprouts are healthy and plentiful in the fall, making them an affordable option for side and main dishes. They tend to feature in Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Umami and salty flavors tend to go well with the slightly bitter taste of these sprouts.
This side dish is simple and quick, as well as healthy for you. It is hearty enough to be a main dish as well if you please.
1 1/2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
Step 1: Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice large ones in half. Thinly slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Step 2: Add the sprouts to the pan, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and red onion, and cover. Let cook 5-7 minutes, until the onion and sprouts are tender.
That’s all there is to it! Serve warm, on its own or as a side dish.
The sprouts are tender yet still with a bit of crunch. The onions add a perfect sweet complement, and the balsamic coats everything in a sweet, slightly salty, and tart flavor.
Summer is meant for salads. Vegetables are fresh, lettuces are crisp, days are warm. Rather than turn on a hot stove or oven, a salad cools and refreshes. The possibilities for greens are endless, from plain Iceberg to hearty kale to spicy arugula to rainbow chard. On top of your crisp base you can build your masterpiece with any number of toppings.
Since I had recently purchased some steaks on sale, a steak salad seemed only natural. I had also recently procured some “Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar” from Trader Joe’s, which I had heard is delightful as a dressing. So I decided to test that claim. (Spoiler: they were right.)
2 thin steaks (1-2 oz)
4 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp Orange vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup spinach
1 cup torn Iceberg lettuce
1 roma tomato
1/2 cucumber, sliced
Handful of banana pepper slices (optional)
Handful of Kalamata olives (optional)
You can of course use whatever greens you prefer for the base of the salad. Just make sure you have a hearty plate full! Gotta get those vitamins and minerals.
Step 1: In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the steaks with the balsamic vinegar for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked but not blackened. Don’t over-cook, you don’t want them tough like shoe leather.
Step 2: Let the drippings in the pan cool, and add to a small bowl. Pour in the Orange vinegar and olive oil, whisk with a fork.
Step 3: Slice the steak into thin strips. Coat a plate with the salad greens, sprinkle on the toppings, and the hot steak strips.
Step 4: Whisk dressing once more, pour over the salad.
And there you have it! A hearty, healthy fresh steak salad. Isn’t it pretty? You know you want one.
You will get a nice tang from the two different vinegars, while the umami of the balsamic and the sweetness from the orange muscat champagne balance each other. Adding the pan drippings creates a depth of meaty flavor. The olive oil provides healthy fat in order to absorb all the delicious nutrients in your salad.
If you aren’t a salad person, or make extra steak and want a different way to eat the leftovers, try the steak strips in a burrito! The balsamic marinade is a perfect way to complement the meatiness of beef. Wrap it up in a tortilla with some beans, cheese, and sour cream (this is actually sour cream substitute, made from coconut milk! Tons less fat with no taste difference!) and enjoy.
Mmmmm beef and beans and cheese… For the I’m-not-worried-about-healthy nights. =)
As always, make it your own. Don’t like balsamic? Use apple cider vinegar or Worchestershire instead. Don’t have orange muscat champagne? Try a tbsp or two of honey to sweeten it up. And top however you please. Have a healthy summer!
This post was developed in association with The Daily Meal and Driscoll’s in honor of National Strawberry Shortcake Day this June 14th! #Driscollsberry @strawshort
As the days grow longer and hotter, we crave fresh, juicy fruits and light, refreshing desserts. Every foodie’s favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh produce rolling in. From farmer’s market kale to home-grown lettuce to ripe berries, summer is a fresh food paradise.
Driscoll’s has been committed to growing strawberries for over 100 years. Each berry is loaded with vitamin C, folate, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Driscoll’s ensures year-round availability by growing strawberries in multiple locations. However, the summertime strawberries carry with them the warmth of the sun and long days to ripen, and are best used at the peak of the season.
Therefore, in celebration of summer, fresh berries, and sweet deliciousness, I decided to make the world’s finest Strawberry Shortcake. This was to be no ordinary biscuit with berries sprinkled on top. I searched the world wide web for inspiration, considered all kinds of crazy flavors, and took apart each element of the classic cake to come up with this recipe.
Dense, moist, and decadent chocolate shortcake. Thinly sliced plump Driscoll strawberries bathed in sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar and local Colorado honey, and the tour-de-force, a homemade French Vanilla whipped cream spiked with Patron Cafe.
If you aren’t salivating by now, just keep scrolling for the pictures…
1 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter (4 tbsp)
1/2 cup milk
For the strawberries:
2 cups strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz French Vanilla coffee creamer
2 oz Patron cafe (or other coffee-flavored liquor)
3 tbsp powdered sugar
This may seem intimidating, but trust me, it takes less than 30 minutes altogether. And the only ingredient I had to specifically go buy was the heavy cream. You can omit the Patron if you don’t like the taste or the alcohol content as well. Let’s jump in.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, sugar. Sift together if you do things that way.
Step 2: Cut in the cold butter or use a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Step 3: Stir as you pour in the milk. Batter should be just wet, and a bit sticky.
Step 4: You can just drop the batter onto a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet, but I chose to bake mine in cupcake pans for shape. Pour about 1/4 cup into each well.
Step 5: Bake at 400 for 15-17 minutes, until beginning to brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool.
Meanwhile, chill a bowl and whisk in the refrigerator or freezer to make the whipped cream.
Step 6: Cut the tops off the strawberries, then stand them on end and cut into thin slices.
I will totally not tell if you sneak a few as you’re cutting. Fresh strawberries are hard to resist! I know I had a few…
Step 7: In a bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and honey. You may need to microwave for 15-20 seconds to get the honey and vinegar to mix well. Dump the sliced berries in, and mix well to coat. Set aside.
Step 8: The home stretch, whipped cream time! Take out your cold bowl and whisk. Pour in 1 cup heavy whipping cream, and then whip the crap outta the cream.
The cream will start to thicken, and form stiff peaks. Add the 2 oz of creamer, powdered sugar, and Patron. Mix well again. Be sure to not over-beat it though, you don’t want alcoholic butter. Or maybe you do…
Step 9: Now you have all three ingredients to assemble your masterpiece. Cut the cooled shortcupcakes in half, and smear on some cafe cream. Add a few slices of berries, and a drizzle of the extra juice.
Put the top layer on, smear on some more cream, and top with berry slices.
And there you have it! A delicious, fresh, unique dessert to wow a crowd or make a summertime picnic extra special. This recipe makes enough for 8 small cakes, you can easily double it to make a larger 9 inch round pan.
The cake is flaky on the outside, yet moist on the inside, with just a hint of cocoa flavor. The whipped cream adds a mysterious bite, with a chocolate-complementing essence of coffee. Likewise, the balsamic vinegar is a unique, yet balancing tang to the coffee-chocolate notes, and the honey is just the right amount of sweet without being overwhelming. The longer you let the berries soak, the more they will take on this amazing flavor combination. You might want to make extra to just eat with a spoon!
Now the next time you have a birthday, office gathering, garden party, or dinner you know where to turn for a uniquely impressive dessert that’s sure to bring compliments for years to come!
.Well, Spring Cleaning finally reached my fridge and freezer today. I like to go through weekly just to look and see what I have, what needs thrown out, but once every few months or so I deep clean it, digging all the way to the back to remember what’s under those 5 bags of frozen corn, and re-organizing. That’s how I found the lamb chops I had forgotten about.My family purchased a lamb whole and had it butchered a few months back, and were nice enough to give me a few chops to take to school. I put the 3 chops on defrost in the microwave while I showered, and loosely based my recipe on one from Allrecipes.com.
Total time in the kitchen, about 20 minutes. Total spent: $0 (because I had the ingredients all on hand. If I’d had to purchase them all, it would probably be ~$25). That’s the way I roll. =)
3 lamb chops
Spice mix (I used dried rosemary, dill, sage, and mint)
1/4 medium onion
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
~4 redskin potatoes
Handful baby carrots
1 tbsp Country Crock
(Also, salad and whatever toppings you like if you want a side dish)
The veggies I wanted to steam, so I got a big pot of water boiling right away, with some salt in the water. I diced up the potatoes into chunks and the baby carrots just threw in whole. Let those steam the whole time I was cooking the lamb.
Then I put about 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, and added the defrosted chops. Cooked a minute or two, turning once. Basically until they were nicely browned but not totally charred. I like a little bit of pink.
This is the salad I made to go with my meal. I happened to have some cucumber, olives, a roma tomato, and 1/4 of an avocado. Threw in a handful of romaine, toppings, and some Italian dressing. YUM.
These are the chops once cooked. They were oozing juice! Tasty.
Then add the onion to the pan. Cook a minute or two, until translucent and soft. Add in the chicken broth and balsamic. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get any lamb drippings mixed in. Let this simmer until about half the liquid boils off.
Once the potatoes were soft when poked with a fork, I took the veggies out and mixed in 1 tbsp Country Crock, sprinkled with Nature’s Seasoning and some sea salt. Holy. Crap. Steamed baby carrots are like candy! And the potatoes with them were a perfect pairing.
Once the balsamic is reduced to your liking, pour it over the chops. It smells SO good!
Then dig in! Such a delish mixture of flavors and textures. I served myself on smaller plates, so the portion sizes were perfect. I also have 2 lunches put away for the week now. A very productive Monday if you ask me. =)
The fusion of food, fun, frugality, and curiosity.