Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Versatile Strawberry

5 flavors that compliment strawberries in a tasty way
When paired with complementary flavors, strawberries add incentives to salads, natural sweeteners to desserts and texture to breads. Don't let the season pass you by.
Balsamic Vinegar: Recipes incorporating both balsamic vinegar and strawberries abound, and they don’t meet up exclusively in salads either.  Combine strawberries with a little sugar and pepper as a side dish when an abundance of extra-sweet berries have come in. Basically, the vinegar (especially when nuanced with a little black pepper), steps into the background, making the strawberries even sweeter. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar also mix well in toasted breads, flatbread, scones and more. And let’s not forget desserts a role strawberries were born for. 
Rosemary:Introduce the smoky flavor of rosemary, however, and strawberries take on a new, unique spirit, giving cooks lots of ways to use them up. A rosemary sprig makes homemade strawberry iced tea, jams and ice cream more three-dimensional.

Basil: A basil chiffonade blends well with salads, adding surprising flavor when paired with balsamic strawberries and candied almonds.

Spinach:Sliced strawberries blend well with spinach, red onions, feta and walnuts. But spinach and strawberries shouldn’t always be laid out on a plate. Blending spinach with strawberries, yogurt, bananas and more creates one of the highest nutrient-per-calorie smoothies one can make. 
Chocolate Put a little Nutella or chocolate sauce on a plate with the strawberries and watch it all disappear. 
Strawberry Avocado Spinach and Kale Salad  with Strawberry Basil Balsamic Dressing
Cook's notes: This recipe makes 2 large salads
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups baby kale and spinach mixed together 
  • 1/3 cup diced red onions
  • 1-1/2 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, sliced thin and quartered
  • 1/3 cup halved pecans, toasted
  • 4 TB. feta cheese, crumbled
Directions:
  • Toss baby kale and spinach together. Add in all other ingredients.
  • Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of creamy strawberry basil balsamic dressing.
Strawberry Basil Balsamic Dressing
Ingredients:

  • 10 small-medium fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 small-med basil leaves
  • 2 TB. red onion, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in a air-tight jar or container in the fridge and stir/shake before each use.

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
This is a unique, gourmet way to serve this fantastic summer fruit! The balsamic vinegar brings out the berries' beautiful color and truly enhances their flavor. Great served with a simple pound cake, over vanilla ice cream, or simply by themselves. The pepper really works to enhance flavor and gives the fruit a little zing. Chocolate balsamic paired with strawberries is amazing. 
Ingredients:
16 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and large berries cut in half
2 TB. balsamic vinegar or Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Directions:
  • Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over strawberries, sprinkle with sugar and stir gently to combine. 
  • Cover, and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour but not more than 4 hours. Just before serving, grind pepper over berries.

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