Monday, July 18, 2011

tarragon-roasted strawberries with caramel cream


This weekend, I said hello to two old friends: Vancouver and the flu. Isn't that always the way? You get some time off work, you travel for hours, then you wake up the next day with an unwelcome viral stowaway and he's beginning to let himself show. I yo-yoed for the entire day, culminating in a spectacular crash while out for dinner at Tavola. Fun, feverish times.

Despite the fact that I had to postpone my trip-within-a-trip to Vancouver Island today to visit family there, today has actually been okay. Is it possible that Cold FX isn't just voodoo? I've felt totally normal since I woke up - completely bizarre, given that last night I felt like death. My new, fresh energy was to the point where I got that other bug I get on a regular basis. The bug to COOK. And how could I not create something with my stepmom's spectacular cookbook library at hand?

After thumbing through several cookbooks, I landed on Lucy Waverman's recipe for tarragon-roasted strawberries with caramel cream and I knew I had found the one. It was simple, light and fairly inexpensive to make due to a sale on organic strawberries at Donald's Market on Commercial Drive (hipster much?). I had also spied my dad's guilty pleasure, Rogers golden syrup, in the cupboard. Next time I make this, I would reduce the sugar a bit. Adding a full 1/4 cup made me nervous, especially given that the whipped cream was to be sweetened as well. Also, do attempt to wait until your berries are nice and cool before topping them with the cream. If you are impatient and curiously excited like me (or desperate to catch natural light for a photo - yeah, that's my excuse), your whipped cream will melt in an instant. Still delicious, but not ideal.

tarragon-roasted strawberries with caramel cream

6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, depending on size
1/4 cup granulated sugar (next time I would start with 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 4-inch sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves picked

1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp golden syrup

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and tarragon. Toss to coat well, then let sit for about fifteen minutes while the flavours mingle and the berries get nice and juicy.

Line a baking sheet with foil (do it) or use a ceramic baking dish big enough to spread your strawberries out in a single layer.  Roast for 15 minutes, or until the berries have softened to your liking (the original recipe calls for 10 minutes - I wanted them in a little longer). Cool in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, add golden syrup to whipping cream and beat until soft peaks form.

Serve berries in a bowl with the cookie of your choice and topped with the caramel cream. A little sprig of tarragon doesn't look half bad either!

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