hmm…. I have managed to find a few spare moments where both children are quiet, fed and the house is somewhat in order. But in these precious moments my mind is empty. Here I sit eager to write a new post, (which I know is overdue) I don’t know where to start because apparently four hours of (interrupted) sleep a night is not enough for me. So I guess this is my… what’s that word? … disclaimer. (see what I mean… empty).

Gabe went to the grocery store the other day and came home with an array of strawberries. It is that time of year after all – mid-June. The succulent northwest red gems SHOULD be flooding the stores right about now. But what Gabe came home with wasn’t the intensely flavored northwest-grown beauties I know and love. Instead they were the oversized conventionally California grown, somewhat flavorless duds that manage to be present on the grocery shelves are year round. Now I know that California can create outstanding berries as well… but I think we all know the huge, white-centered variety I am referring to?

Sadly those Cali imposters are all that are available to us right now because of the sad showing of a spring we have had. Just yesterday I was sitting in my home listening to the rain thrash against our windows. The sky was a perilous gray color and the young leaves on the trees were being beaten by the strong winds. Where are the long days filled with nourishing sunshine? The evenings that were made for campfires (perfect for s’mores I might add)? and what about having one day that is not overflowing with the kind of rain that makes you feel as if you just stepped into a shower… a cold shower at that?

I am not typically the kind of person that complains about the weather around here. Don’t get me wrong, I love sunshine but I see the value of the rain in the beautiful green setting that surrounds us. I appreciate the clean air that we breathe and the smog-less sky that hangs above us. But when the weather starts to mess with the seasonal fruits that I look forward to all year round then I start to get a little upset.

I can’t wait to fill dozens of pie shells with the sweet sun-kissed fruits. There is nothing better than standing directly next to the plant and eating a perfectly ripe berry. The kind that nearly falls off in your hand being so heavy from the sweet juices that are inside. Well, if you are like me and are also having weather issues that are hindering you from having the sweets of the summer or you don’t live in the northwest where our berries shine, then I have a little trick that will make even the berry imposters taste like heaven.
There is something magical that happens when a good quality aged Balsamic meets a less-than perfect strawberry. Somehow the vinegar manages to encourage the small amount of sweetness that is hidden deep within the berry to emerge. This combination makes the dull berries sing and when you add a generous amount of lightly whipped cream you have yourself a delicious and ridiculously simple dessert that will make any berry lover shriek with glee.

So as I sit inside my house with the heater on and watch the rain beat up the earth I can still enjoy a small taste of summer with a cup of berries that have had the sweetness persuaded out of them. I hope most of all that wherever you are that the sun is shining but if not then I hope you try this magical combination. It’s a taste of summer when summer is not looking so tasty.
The recipe here is simple. Slice up your strawberries then drizzle on the best quality Balsamic vinegar you can afford. If your berries really need some help coaxing the sweetness out then add a touch of white sugar.