- Watching my favorite TV shows while sitting on a couch that cradles my body just right - it's one of those soft L-shaped ones, where I can curl up on the bend, stretch out my legs, and feel cozy and comforted, being the lazy @ss that I am.
- Big windows with great views - this one is something that even my Ozzy is grateful for (if cats can ever be grateful! pfffft, Unlikely). Both of us are constantly entertained by the swaying trees, busy squirrels, and do a fair amount of people-watching on a daily basis. No, I don't have a telescope, so I'm not that kind of creepy neighbor, fear not.
- A decent shower - the water pressure is sooooooo good, dear readers. I'd be really annoyed if it wasn't. If we were not on a "conserve the water!" frame of mind, I could happily stand underneath my running, hot shower for hours.
- My oh-so-comfy yet pretty gold sandals - they might be Aerosoles, but they're gorgeous. And because they're Aerosoles they're perfectly cushiony and let me walk for miles when I put them on. I couldn't have made it on my Manhattan adventures without them!
- The GPS in my car. I love it. I can't imagine my life without it. It's opened the world to me. It's helped protect the environment because I no longer have to print sheathes of Mapquest maps for everytime I go somewhere new!
- Strawberries - I love living in a part of the world where I can get strawberries mostly all year round. Sure, they're at their best in summer, but the beautiful thing about strawberries is that even when they're not too sweet, you can do a million things with them to turn them into something amazing. I didn't have too many strawberries growing up, so now I'm gorging on them!
Strawberry Crumble (original Smitten Kitchen recipe using rhubarb can be found here)
Click here for printable recipe
For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (optional - you can replace this vanilla bean)
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
5 cups strawberries, hulled, quartered
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or replace with vanilla extract - I might try that next time)
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix with a spatula, then your hands, until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate.
2. In the meantime, prepare filling: Toss strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, or something similar. (I used an oval dish, because it looks slightly more presentable.)
4. Place pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm with (what else?!) ... ice-cream!
Verdict: I'd never made a "crumble" before, but really liked it. I skimped on the fruit base a bit (which I shouldn't have), but I've corrected that in the recipe. I also used the zest and juice of one whole lemon, which I thought was too much, as it was competing with the taste of the strawberries. But this is a recipe I'll definitely make again, especially when I go pick my own strawberries sometime soon. And I've got to go hunt around from some decent rhubarb in my neighborhood grocery store - I swear, mine must be the only one in this country that doesn't stock rhubarb at this time of year! So frustrating!
If you thought that was an easy dessert, let me throw an even simpler strawberry dessert your way. That's right folks, today you're getting two for the price of one! Per DH (and yes, he's allowed to have a say in these matters from time to time), this is the best way to have them.
Roasted Strawberry Sauce (gorgeous recipe found on Chez Us - go drool on their site for a bit)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved (leave the small ones whole)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar, prefer raw
Method: Preheat oven to 250 F. Toss strawberries with balsamic vinegar and sugar. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet, in an even layer. Slowly roast them in the oven for about 3 hours, checking on them every 45 mins or so, to stir them around. If serving right away, just pour them over ice-cream or pound cake and devour!
If saving them for later, after roasting, put them in an airtight container containing 1/2 cup of simple sugar syrup (1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar, heated together till sugar dissolves). Refrigerate. Just heat up individual portions in the microwave before you use it as a topping.
Verdict: I've used this recipe 3 times already in the past month. It's an easy dessert option, that puts DH into a gleeful, giggling frame of mind! I just adore the smell that wafts through my house as those strawberries are roasting. And they're sooooo luscious and caramelized after. Plus, by now you know that I love the juxtaposition of hot and cold in my desserts. So if roasting your strawberries has never occurred to you, give it a shot sometime and you'll be blown away.