Thursday, June 19, 2008
As summer begins, so too do the barbecues. My first came in May, and with it the intense burning of mosquito bites. I've only recently managed to scratch away the remnants of New York's first sweltering days, and already I fear that while I chow down on ribs and burgers the insect world is chowing down on me. But no amount of creepy crawlies can keep me from a good cookout, and with one later this week I had to start planning my contribution. I tried to offer a trio of delicious dips, but was told that there were already plenty of dip-able treats. After a brief period where I became responsible for the beef empanadas, it was finally settled upon that I bring dessert. Since summer is such a beautiful time for berries and fruits I figured I'd be able to disguise my general inability to produce a decent confection.
Since I recently made some berries with Greek yogurt I figured I'd try and impress with some lovely strawberries and raspberries drizzled with a sweet balsamic vinegar reduction. My first attempt (using a recipe from a very reputable food site) was a failure and led to a balsamic flavored lollipop instead of a sauce. I decided I would try and adjust the recipe to avoid showing up with a tray of fruit and no sauce. I'd like to give the site the benefit of the doubt and assume that there was a typo in the ingredient measurements, because all I had to do was adjust the proportion of the ingredients and it turned out great. I'd also strongly recommend using this balsamic reduction on something like watermelon (which I'll also be bringing to the barbecue) which is juicy and sweet and pairs so well with the sweet and tart sauce. Here's the recipe for the sauce with my tweaks:
Sweet Balsamic Reduction
1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
Combine all three ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until reduced to a syrupy sauce. Serve drizzled over berries, stone fruits, watermelon, or ice cream. Enjoy!