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Strawberries with Balsamic Chardonnay Reduction

Strawberries are in season — well they’re in season somewhere but not here in NJ. We have to wait more than a few sunny weeks before we can pick them at a local strawberry farm. Strawberries straight from the vine are the best and we’re counting the days until they’re ripe enough to pick! Until then we’ll eat the ones from some sunnier climate that make their way to our doorstep. (Update June 1: The strawberries pictured above are organic and freshly picked yesterday right here in the Garden State.)

When I was growing up we ate strawberries one of two ways—cut up with a sprinkling of sugar or soaked in a bold red wine. Wine soaked strawberries are delicious and their memory inspires me to update the family tradition. A wine reduction seems like the right way to go.

Although there are plenty of recipes for wine reductions this one is a bit different because it uses white wine and balsamic vinegar. It is sweeter and more subtle than one made with red wine. The strawberry flavor and the creaminess of the coconut ice cream work exceptionally well with the wine reduction. The final touch—a sprinkling of grated lime zest—complements the dish both in color and flavor. This elegant but homey dessert will be appreciated by your adult family and guests.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot… Thank you Turtle Mountain from all of us who can’t tolerate gluten or dairy and miss ice cream. Purely Decadent Coconut Ice Cream is gluten-free, dairy-free, and delicious. Many thanks given for the simple pleasures in life!

See this and other divine recipes utilizing strawberries on The W.H.O.L.E. Foods Friday Foodie Fix.


Strawberries with Balsamic Chardonnay Reduction

1/2 bottle wine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pint strawberries
1 pint Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (optional)
1 tsp. lime zest (optional)

Pour the wine into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and stir until mixed. Place on a burner set at medium and bring the liquid to a simmer. Lower the heat and keep the mixture at a low simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar. Maintain a low simmer for about an hour or until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 the original amount and is slightly syrupy. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Remove from the heat and cool. The reduction will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Cut the strawberries into slices or wedges. Set all but a 1/4 cup of strawberries aside. Place the 1/4 cup each of strawberries and the Balsamic Chardonnay Reduction in a small food processor and pulse until it becomes a thick puree.

Let the puree sit for an hour or so — while you’re eating dinner.

Scoop vanilla ice cream into dishes and top with the remaining strawberries, the puree, and a pinch or two of lime zest.

Note: You can skip the strawberry and reduction puree if you want. Just make the Balsamic Chardonnay Reduction, cut up the strawberries, and mix them together. Eat as is or over ice cream or pound cake.



Rice & Artichoke Salad

Today was one of those amazingly spectacular days. I’d rate it one of the year’s ten best weather days.

After a long, cold winter it felt good to have clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80’s. My sister, niece and I spent the weekend at the beach. We went for long walks, visited with a cousin we don’t get to see too often, reminisced, shared recipes, soaked in the ocean air & sun, and napped. Perfection.

On my way home I stopped at Whole Foods to get something to put on the grill — a flank steak. I planned to make a quick and simple dinner.

I remembered I’d bought Fully Cooked Organic Brown Rice at Trader Joe’s (and according to their website it’s gluten-free). So, I decided to add a few things and serve that as a side. The good news is it only took about 5 minutes - no kidding!

06.26.09: Revised recipe ever so slightly to provide additional options for those with varied food allergies.

Rice & Artichoke Salad

This recipe soon to be featured in the Easy As Pie recipe database! (Thanks to Amy at the Easy As Pie Test Kitchen.)

1 bowl Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Organic Brown Rice (7.4 oz.)
2 tablespoons chopped marinated artichokes*
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes or roasted peppers
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt & pepper
oil & balsamic vinegar

Prepare the rice according to the package directions (tear back cover slightly and microwave on high for 1 minute).

Spoon the rice into a small bowl. Add the chopped artichokes, sundried tomatoes or roasted peppers, and basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dress with the lemon juice, oil and vinegar. Stir together. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

This makes enough for 3 people so if you have a bigger group you’ll need to double the recipe.


*You can use plain artichoke hearts—canned or thawed frozen ones—if you don’t have marinated artichokes in your pantry or are concerned about possible hidden ingredients in bottled marinated artichokes. Or, make your own marinated artichokes instead. Here’s a recipe from Saveur:

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

1 9-oz. box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Rinse artichoke hearts under cold water. Combine artichokes, oil, salt, thyme, oregano, and chile flakes in a 1-qt. saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, 10 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and stir in lemon juice. Serve or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.