This is a much lighter version of the old standby, with all the flavor and beauty.
Strawberries are our first fruit of the season, and we wait all year for these beautiful little gems. Sweet, sometimes with a tart edge, red through and through, there is something magical about the aroma of macerated strawberries when they are local and at the peak of ripeness. They need only a touch of sugar to enhance their flavor, and we use them in everything, beginning with the traditional strawberry shortcake.
Once you leave the strawberry patch
Let’s celebrate Tuesday’s strawberry moon with something special. While the absolute best way to eat them is fresh-picked, warm, in the patch, they will find their way in muffins and pies, crisps and crumbles. They are eaten straight-up, or tossed in the morning smoothie or bowl of cereal. We freeze them for the rest of the year, and preserve them as jam or sauce. Pick your own is absolutely the best; a strawberry does not continue to ripen once picked, so choosing your berries at the perfect state of ripe is important. Also, remember that strawberries are high on the “dirty dozen” list of produce that are most contaminated with pesticides, so always go for the organic here.
An elegant but simple dessert
One of our favorite desserts is the simple Strawberries Romanoff. This elegant dish requires few ingredients – strawberries, sugar, orange liquor, and whipping cream. I used a lovely local non-fat plain yoghurt here rather than the cream. It is naturally very sweet, so I added nothing else to it. However, you can add a touch of sugar to the yoghurt as well if it needs it, or a touch more liquor. You can most certainly use a coconut or soy yoghurt as well if you need to avoid dairy, and it is just as delicious that way.
Oh, the possibilities!
The sugar is to your own taste. I like it barely sweetened unless the strawberries are quite tart, but make this how you like it.
And if you want a non-alcohol version, simply substitute fresh orange juice for the liquor. It will still be delicious, and you can call it healthful breakfast!
No matter how you make it, you’ll be delighted with these clean and refreshing flavors that only June can bring!
A Lighter Strawberries Romanoff
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 to 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
- 1 cup non-fat plain yoghurt, dairy or plant based
- Zest of a small orange
Slice the strawberries and taste them. Add sugar accordingly, along with the liquor. Gently mix this up well, and set aside for at least an hour to macerate, allowing the juices from the berries to flow and everything to meld together beautifully. It will have the aroma of strawberry season!
Layer the strawberries and yoghurt in your favorite dessert glasses, or a variety so folks can choose, then top with a perfect berry and a little orange zest.
A few other strawberry delights
Strawberry and Rose Fool:
Strawberries are the best of late spring offerings and the first fruit in our area. But take care to look for organic, as strawberries conventionally grown are on the “dirty dozen” of produce that is the most highly contaminated.
For more information, go to the Environmental Working Group website which contains valuable information and safety ratings on food, personal care items, and even drinking water.
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