ModernHostess: Dinner Party Desserts
I don’t know about you, but when I host a dinner party, I usually serve way too much food, which means my guests are often too full to even contemplate dessert. That, or I spend so much time focusing on the main course and appetizer that I don’t give dessert the attention it deserves. The truth is, I’m just not that big on sweets. Don’t get me wrong… sweets have their place, and that being said, I’ve never been faced with a cheesecake or chocolate souffle that didn’t make my mouth water. Or tiramisu. Or creme brulee. Yum…
But I digress. Even though I’m generally not someone who thrives on dessert, I still think it provides the perfect ending to a night of home-cooked fine dining. I like to keep dessert simple and light… that’s why I often opt for fruit, especially berries. But as you can probably guess, I’m not satisfied with plain old fruit when I’m entertaining. It needs to be special… which is why I choose to take strawberries to a whole new level by marinating them in balsamic vinegar.
I absolutely love balsamic vinegar… it’s simultaneously sweet and sour, and it has such a rich, distinct flavour. We all know balsamic vinegar tastes great with veggies… but I think it tastes exceptional when combined with fruit, especially strawberries. And all that acid from the vinegar makes the berries release all their natural sugars, thus making them taste sweeter and juicier. Don’t like balsamic vinegar? You can get almost the same effect by squeezing some fresh lemon juice on strawberries.
Can you think of something better to serve with marinated strawberries than vanilla ice cream?
I can…vanilla frozen yogurt, which can be just as delicious as ice cream, and is dramatically lower in calories and fat. But if you don’t like frozen yogurt, go ahead and serve these strawberries with ice cream… I doubt you’ll hear any complaints. To make this dish extra special, drizzle some balsamic glaze over the top, which you can easily make yourself by pouring some balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and heating it on high, stirring constantly, until it reduces by half and becomes like a syrup. Or, you can buy balsamic glaze, like I do, at most grocery stores.
If you’re wanting to serve a light dessert at your next dinner party, or if you’re simply looking for a cool new way to serve fruit, try this fabulous recipe. Enjoy!!
-1 cup strawberries, quartered or sliced.
-2-3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
-Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
-Balsamic glaze (either home-made [see above] or purchased)
-Fresh basil or mint leaves, for garnish
Combine strawberries and vinegar in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Spoon marinated berries over scoops of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Garnish with fresh herbs. As an alternative, you can also chop the fresh herbs and combine them with the strawberries and vinegar.