Are you tired of hearing me moan and groan about the weather in the Pacific Northwest ? I'm sorry, it's just lately, the grey skies and rain seem to bother me more than they used to and certainly more than I should allow them to. I long for the hot summer sun. Not like Phoenix, but more like Southern California. But I don't want to move to Southern California, I just want that weather here, and now. I think it has something to do with getting older-my bones want more Vitamin D ! I make daily promises to myself to reduce the amount of complaining I do about the Spring rain. I've decided to make an offering of strawberries to the Goddess of Sunshine in hopes that she will send sunshine and hot weather this way.
Last week-end I talked about the incredibly delicious Hood River Strawberries I had at the PSU Farmer's Market-they made me long for sunshine and summertime even more. You could feel the warmth of the sun in them as soon as you bit into their juicy sweetness. I kept remembering that taste all week long and I just knew I had to do something with strawberries to help cure my Springtime Blues . I remembered a wonderful looking recipe I had seen in Donna Hay magazine and when I went back to look it over I knew it was the one. Vanilla roasted strawberries with muesli and yogurt-what better way to start your day than with the taste of juicy berries lingering on your lips. And what better way to remind myself , that while Summer is really just around the corner,I wouldn't have these sweet strawberries without the rains of Spring.
This is a lovely little recipe and simple to prepare, considering the results are incredibly delicious. Find some really sweet and juicy strawberries, mix with some superfine sugar,add a scraped vanilla bean with it's seeds and the peel of one orange-there you have it. If you are really ambitious you can put on your over achiever's apron and make your own muesli and yogurt. I cheated and used store bought for both. I woke up in the morning-took about twenty minutes to prep everything, including hulling the strawberries, popped the tray into the oven and fifteen minutes later added the yogurt and muesli . The kitchen smelled like a strawberry field and breakfast put me into my Summertime state of mind. Bon Appetit !
Vanilla Roasted Strawberries
3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
1 cup superfine sugar
2 vanilla beans-split and seeds scraped (Donna's recipe calls for 1 bean but I'm a vanilla addict)
Peel of a an orange ( peel the entire orange-I recommend cutting the peel into 1 inch pieces as they add a very good flavor to the dish but a large slice of peel can be a little overwhelming)
Toasted muesli and vanilla yogurt to serve
Preheat the oven to 425F . Take 2 sheets of parchment or non stick baking paper (approximately 12 x 18 inches each) and fold the 3 edges in to form an envelope or packet-leaving one of the 12inch wide edges open. Place the berries,sugar,vanilla beans,vanilla seeds and orange peel into a bowl and toss to combine. Place your paper envelope/packet on a half sheet baking tray (9x12inches-approximate-you want it to hold your envelope together) and gently spoon the sugar coated mixture inside. Once everything is inside the packet,seal the open end by folding it tightly. If you have to level out the contents at all don't shake the envelope or your folded edges will open (speaking from experience). Instead just lightly tilt the baking sheet and jiggle the sheet around until the contents of the envelope level out. Roast in your oven for 10-15 minutes or until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the oven,spoon into your bowl,add as much yogurt and muesli that you desire and enjoy !