Monday, June 1, 2009

2 Ways to Dress Up a Tarty Strawberry

I really do not like strawberries. I know, right? I'm as perplexed as you are. I want to like them, I really do. They are small, beautifully red, juicy and they smell so damned good. They are SO enticing sitting in their little cartons in the market and they tempt me with their fresh scent. Each time, I get roped into buying a carton and then I get so disappointed when I find they are tart and did not live up to the potential of their vibrant red color. They are such a tease! I do like strawberry jam, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sorbet, and macerated strawberries. I like strawberries as long as there's something else there to cut their natural tartness.

My cousin Lora and her friend Heather put on GREAT brunch buffets. They do such an awesome job they have been asked to cater many events. They always make elegant little finger foods and my favorite is their bowl of fresh strawberries. Wait - there's more. Next to the large bowl of beautiful, whole, tart strawberries is a bowl of sour cream and next to that a bowl of brown sugar. You dip each strawberry in the sour cream and then into the brown sugar. The sugar and the creaminess of the sour cream cut the tartiness of the strawberries and makes for the most perfect, fat and sugar laden bite. And it's really pretty, to boot.

I bought a carton of strawberries for some strawberry-lovin' guests who are visiting but they did not get eaten in time. I took inspiration from Lora and Heather and made a dip for the strawberries. While it didn't have the crunch from the brown sugar, the flavor was all there and we ate up the majority of the strawberries. With the remaining strawberries, I made a filled French toast this morning for breakfast. The French toast was mildly sweet, had just the tiniest hint of sour from the strawberries and lovely texture from the bread. Both these recipes were a good use of tart strawberries in case you end up buying a box of duds or if you're like me and you just don't like strawberries in that way. And by "that way," I mean naked.

Strawberries and Brown Sugar Dip
Serves 2

1 pint of fresh strawberries, cleaned
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbs brown sugar
Mix the sour cream and the brown sugar. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Take the mixture out and stir to mix in the dissolved sugar. Serve with the bowl of strawberries for dipping.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Stuffed French Toast
Serves 2

4 slices of bread
2 tbs white chocolate chips
4 strawberries, cut into thin slices
2 strawberries for garnish
1 egg
1/3 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place half of the strawberry slices on one slice of bread. Spread 1 tablespoon of white chocolate chips over the strawberries and cover with a second slice of bread to make a sandwich. Repeat for the remaining slices of bread. Set aside.

Whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla. Heat 1 tsp of cooking oil or butter in a skillet to medium heat. Dip each sandwich, on both sides, into the egg and milk mixture. Transfer the sandwich to the hot skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the side is golden brown. Flip and do the same for the other side.
Cut the garnish strawberries into thin slices, taking care not to cut all the way to the top. Fan out each strawberry over the French toast.

This dish is very mildly sweet. For us, it was just sweet enough but if you have a sweet tooth, you can dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle some maple syrup or honey ver the top.

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