Monday, October 6, 2014

Macerated Strawberries - It's What's for Dessert!

When I get one of my uncharacteristic urges for something sweet and "desserty," I immediately go to fruit. Delicious and satisfying, slightly macerated strawberries are the perfect healthy dessert, whether you eat them plain, topped with a dollop of whipped cream, or spooned over ice cream, plain Greek yogurt, or angel-food cake (Noah's favorite!).

Actually, this really isn't cooking, as the preparation could not be easier.  Just rinse, trim, and quarter 1 pound of fresh strawberries.

Then drizzle just the tiniest bit of maple syrup over the top (about 1 tablespoon), squeeze in a bit of fresh lemon juice (again, about 1 tablespoon) and garnish with fresh mint.  Most macerated fruit recipes call for significantly more sugar, which makes for a much sweeter, softer, and saucier dessert, but I really like this fresh, more naturally sweet whole fruit version, plus I've never been fond of overly sweet desserts.

I love the strawberries just like this, while Noah adores them over angel-food cake or spooned into breakfast smoothies. 

1 lb. fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
A few sprigs of fresh mint

Clean, trim, and quarter 1 lb. of fresh strawberries.  Add maple syrup and lemon juice, and toss gently. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh mint and serve your favorite way.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Harissa-Glazed Carrots

This is one of those dishes that just came together as I was staring at random ingredients in my refrigerator.  I knew I wanted to use the colorful carrots I had just purchased, and the rest just fell into place.  

Start with 6 to 8 medium carrots.  I love heirlooms, mostly because I'm a color freak, but standard orange carrots will do nicely as well.

Peel the carrots, and then boil (or steam) them until they are fork tender.

In the meantime, finely chop 1 medium white onion like so.

And sauté the chopped onion in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until it becomes soft and slightly caramelized.  Then set the onion aside in a large bowl.

Measure out 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of good vinegar (I'm using Sherry vinegar), 1/4 cup Harissa (found in most Middle Eastern and gourmet markets) and a big handful of fresh arugula.

Add the Harissa, vinegar, salt and spices to the cooked onion.

Slice up the carrots and gently fold them into the onion mixture, coating the carrots well.

Plate the carrots, scatter the top with arugula and serve at room temperature or cold.

This kicked up carrot salad is delicious and lovely.


6-8 Medium Carrots
1 Medium White Onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons good vinegar
1/4 cup Harissa
Big handful fresh arugula

Boil or steam carrots until fork tender, and let them rest.  Sauté chopped onion in olive oil until soft and slightly caramelized.  Set cooked onion aside in large bowl, and add in Harissa, salt, spices and vinegar.  Slice carrots into thin 1/4-inch disks and gently fold into the onion mixture.  Plate the carrots and top with fresh arugula.  Serve at room temperature or cold.