Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Strawberry Topping: For Parties and Such

Hey everybody - before we get into today's recipe, I'd like to announce the premiere of a new feature. Today around 3pm, CHG reader Jaime will be debuting the bi-weekly City Kitchen Chronicles, a diary of sorts documenting her quest to eat well and be frugal here in Metropolis. Like Leigh's new Veggie Might columns on Thursday, Jaime's posts will be full of exciting recipes and information, along with a healthy dab of day-to-day living. So c'mon back soon and share in the wonder, joy, and copious beanery.

But first, something completely different...

The beauty of having skatey-eight million people over for a barbecue is A) better karaoke, B) more noise drowning out the neighboring construction site, and C) 40 pounds of leftovers. Regrettably, the problem with C is that none of those leftovers necessarily fit together. Before The Boyfriend and I scarfed down dinner last night, our fridge contained 16 red onion rings, three bottles of white wine, one half-congealed swiss burger, 64 ounces of ketchup, and at least four quart-sized bags of green salad, among other things. (Six vegetarians and nobody went for the salad. Go figure.) What’s more, we’ll be eating lemon bars and vegan shortbread cookies for at least two weeks, and have enough Brooklyn Lager to keep us vaguely tipsy until our forties. (Which? Is not so bad.)

In the midst of all the half-consumed grill debris was a pound of borderline-edible strawberries. I had to swallow, cook, or decorate with these things fast, lest they rot and form some sort of fruity, decomposing Voltron of evil on our bottom shelf. Since honestly, I was pooped, I went for something easy, but rewarding. In other words, All Recipes’ Strawberry Topping.

Fortunately, it worked on the first try - I really liked this stuff. It’s sweet, low-calorie, and versatile enough to be slapped on pancakes, waffles, cheesecake, angel food cake, ice cream, pizza, gruel, car engines … whatever. You name it, the sauce will probably make it taste better. In fact, I accidentally dipped my hoodie sleeve into the mixture while I was stirring. I’m not ashamed to say that I licked it off, and my hoodie has never been more flavorful.

Three super-quick notes, should you decide to go forth and puree:

1) The original directions didn’t make much sense, so I read a bunch of reviewers’ methods and improvised. My instructions are below, but you can cook/puree the topping just about any way you want and still have pretty good results.

2) I like my strawberries sweet, so the sugar was fine for me. For those who wish to avoid the lulling caress of a glucose coma, I’d definitely cut it a bit.

3) Some All Recipe commentors were morally opposed to the vanilla. I liked it. So there.

Now that the strawberries have been taken care of, it’s on to the rest of the leftovers. What we’ll do is still a mystery (well, except for the wine), but I’m excited to find out. (Er … check back in three days when I’m on my fourth Garden Salad/Swiss Burger Milkshake. It’ll be a different tune.)

Strawberry Topping
Should make about 1-1/4 cups, or 5 single ¼-cup servings
Adapted from All Recipes.

1 lb. strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Chop the strawberries into quarters. Then, in a saucepan combine sugar, vanilla, and 2/3rds of the strawberries. Cook over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens to the consistency of your liking. Stir occasionally. When done, remove from heat.

2) In a blender or food processor, puree the mixture. (Or, just use an immersion blender if you have one.) Add back to saucepan, and add remaining 1/3rd strawberries to mixture. Cook on medium-high for an additional 3 minutes. Store covered in refrigerator.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
81 g fat, 0.3 g fat, $0.33

1 lb. strawberries: 145 calories, 1.4 g fat, $1.44
1/3 cup white sugar: 258 calories, 0 g fat, $0.11
1 teaspoon vanilla: 2 calories, 0 g fat, $0.12
TOTAL: 403 calories, 1.4 g fat, $1.67
PER SERVING: 81 g fat, 0.3 g fat, $0.33


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