Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer time...

and the livin' is easy....

Or at least most of the recipes I am willing to tackle this time of the year are.
Easy, I mean.

Case in point?  This Strawberry Balsamic Dressing recipe from the Whole Foods recipe website.

Caveat:  I rarely shop at WF, but I do check their site for recipes using seasonal ingredients now and again.  I have a local market I frequent for emergency supplies and do all the rest of my food shopping at Wheatsville Co-op.

Because, that's why.
Whether you have thyme or strawberries either one growing in your garden currently, their flavors in combination hold pride of taste in this particular summertime offering, a no-oil dressing that is supposedly also "delicious as a dip for pear or apple wedges".   I have a pear rolling around here somewhere and will bravely taste test this assertion for you after we get the dressing organized.

But first, let's get our ingredients gathered and make some dressing.

The recipe calls for:
2/3 cups sliced fresh organic strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used whole grain)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients plus 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend until very smooth.
Makes about 1 cup / Serves 8
Store in the refrigerator if not using promptly.

The dressing is a cinch to make.  I'm not sure you need to get too invested in chopping your berries or shallot half since the blender will be doing plenty of that on your behalf.

The dressing's flavor is predominantly thyme, though I imagine that might vary according to how fresh your thyme leaves are. I picked my thyme sprigs right before making the dressing.  The final flavor balance will also reflect how ripe your strawberries are.  I used berries from the store, which means they were not nearly as sweet or juicy as home grown.  Still, delicious over all.

I put together a quick lunch salad of arugula and romaine, sprinkled with more sliced berries, crumbled goat cheese, toasted pecans and a little bit of left over grilled chicken.  See how pretty?  It tasted every bit as good as it looked.  (Did I lean over and not-so-daintily nibble a bite off the top while marching back into the house with my lunch after I snapped this shot?  Perhaps.....)
A final tasting note.  I tried the dressing as a dip for a ripe pear slice and honestly?  As much as I like the dressing AS dressing, I wasn't so crazy about it as a dip for fruit.  To me, ripe fruit is good enough all by its lonesome.  Maybe that disqualifies me as arbiter so feel free to dip away if that is what floats yer personal boat.

UPDATE:  After a couple of days in the refrigerator my dressing got a little thick.  I simply stirred it well and it was fine to use.  I'd even say the flavors were a bit better blended after having hung around together for a while.

1 comment:

Tina said...

That dressing looks like a winner--and easy, too. I agree with you, I've never liked dips for fruit--fruit just doesn't need any help (except, maybe with a scoop of ice cream....