Balsamic Basil Berries

Strawberry season would have been the perfect time to start my blog, however as is my usual style this first post is fashionably late. None the less, strawberries are a great local ingredient to start with because not only can I use one of my most simple tried and true recipes for the base of this week’s installment, but I can also give it a cute name! Get ready for some Strawberry ShortKate! My boyfriend Mike and I are splitting a CSA from Bishop’s Orchard in Guilford, CT with my parents this summer.  The experience is a new one as it will be my first CSA with Bishop’s and Mike and my Parent’s first CSA ever. I was very excited to see a quart of their strawberries in our very first share.  However since I like to be liberal with my berries, Mike and I headed down to bishops to pick a few more of our own.

Bishop’s is near and dear to my heart because I grew up in Madison and their Guilford farm Market is only a few minutes drive from my parent’s house. Probably some of my first experiences with locally grown ingredients came from Bishops. I could go on and on about the abundance of produce Bishop’s produces, but in the interest of keeping it simple will stick to their strawberries for now. You can pick your own or purchase pre-picked pints and quarts at the market.

I want the theme of this blog to be not only about local ingredients, but also about getting to try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I love putting new twists on some of my more traditional recipes. So with that in mind I decided to try macerating my strawberries a few different ways incorporating some locally produced honey and maple syrup as the sweeteners, locally grown herbs, and few different accompanying flavors.

After much hemming and hawing and internal debating I limited myself to five combinations of sweeteners, herbs and spices in which to macerate the lovely red berries. I picked flavors that I enjoy together, but substitutions should be easy and I would love to hear what some of you come up with. So after you check out my offerings, email me at locallykatered@gmail.com.

Seriously you guys, my head was spinning and I started to get a little punch-drunk with the possible concoctions and derivations and we haven’t even gotten to the wine trail. With all the fresh ripe local fruit I should get from the Bishop’s Orchard CSA, I foresee more than one sunny Sunday afternoon spent sipping summer-fruit and herb- infused sangria.

But let’s get to it! I used a honey balsamic basil combination to macerate the first batch of berries.

I made a reduction with 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar and 2 tbs. local honey from Jones Apiaries in Farmington, CT. While that was simmering for about 15 minutes I hulled and sliced a pint of Bishop’s  berries and tossed them with some freshly torn straight off the plant basil also from my first CSA installment. When it cooled down a bit I added about 2 heavy tbs. of the reduction, drizzled a little extra honey on top for good measure, gave it all a stir and let those bad boys macerate.

For the shortkate:

2 2/3 c. AP flour 5 oz. butter
1/3 c. sugar 1 egg
1 tbs. baking powder 1/3 c. heavy cream
1 ½ tsp. salt 1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients out dry ingredients.

Using the food processor, pulse until the butter until it forms pea sized pieces that are more on the smallish side. I like to go a little finer than I would for a pie dough.

Transfer flour/butter mix to a bowl for the electric stand mixer.

Add the eggs, vanilla, cream, and buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Or just use your hands.

I like to just drop dollops of batter in whatever individual size biscuits seem appropriate. Probably a lightly scooped 1/3 cup would make decent vessel for transferring to a lined baking sheet. I prefer the more rustic look, but you can also flatten out the dough a bit on a lightly floured surface and use a biscuit cutter for more consistency. Just make to sure not to handle it too much

Before baking them in a pre-heated oven at 350 for xx  minutes, I like to brush them with either butter or some leftover cream and lightly sprinkle with some coarse sugar.

I like to serve the berries over warm biscuits with a healthy amount of fresh whipped cream.

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3 thoughts on “Balsamic Basil Berries

  1. mmmmmm! These looks so good! I love berry season!! I just picked cherries, blueberries, and raspberries last week! Hoping to get some apricots picked this weekend 🙂

  2. Oh, there is nothing better than strawberries on a summer’s day! They are the best! Especially when put in a blender with some alcohol 😉

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