Austin the former housemate has a patch in his garden that he diligently guards from the local wildlife. Sometimes the deer figure out ways around the netting. Sometimes he gets a nice crop. You can't do better than just-picked, you really can't. Even if it means fighting the deer and the bunnies.
The berries my sweetie and I ate last night were fresh, plump and juicy, though they were not from Austin's garden. While they're delicious just washed and munched on, I like to gild the lily a bit:
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 teaspoon sugar (I used organic. Brown sugar also lovely here, especially with rum)
- 1.5 Tablespoons good dark rum (I used Plantation,which is made in Barbados. The best rums I've ever had have been in the Caribbean)
Hull the the strawberries and slice them into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the sliced berries and stir well with a rubber scraper. Add the rum and stir again. The rubber scraper will help pick up the liquid and spread the flavors around.
Let sit for a bit--I usually make this an hour or two ahead. Stir a few times every fifteen minutes or so. You'll notice liquid beginning to form in the bowl. Not quite syrup, not quite juice, just a luscious marriage of flavors.
Spoon into serving dishes. Add fresh cream if you wish or simply enjoy with a spoon.
I've been making this and variations thereof for at least fifteen years, using several different liqueurs--Chambord, Kahlua, Gran Mariner. The last adds a slightly earthy feel to it that I love. If you like a lighter flavor but still orangey, I recommend Cointreau. If I were to use champagne, I wouldn't add the sugar or cream. I just found a mini-bottle of Limoncello in my gaming bag, so that may be up next, if the berries are still fresh next week.
Questions? Comments? Death threats? I'd love to hear from you!