Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Macerated Strawberries & Blueberry-Jalapeno Mojitos

Fruit is an all too easy summer fallback dessert. While the heat beats us down, time spent in a kitchen presents itself as a not too pleasant option. And now, while fruit begin their turn to the sweetest, is the perfect time to jazz up an already perfect food into superstardom. These two fruity dishes; one beverage, one dessert, allows you more time where you belong in the summer: outside.

The dessert is one that tastes far more complicated and time consuming than it is, a plus for any entertainer. The beverage, originally presented to me by fellow food-lover RF, is a surprisingly sweet compliment to a typically hot notion: jalapeno peppers.

D and I enjoyed these with company. We paired them together at the close of our meal. While the strawberries were a pleasingly sweet and luxurious dish, the blueberry mojitos were refreshingly smooth. Both offer a fabulous cool down in the intense heat of the upcoming season.

Head on over to Sweetnick's for more ARF friendly items!

Serving size= 4 people. Active time= 8 minutes. Inactive time= 2 hours
* 1 quart strawberries, devined and quartered
* ½ cup + 2 Tbl sugar
* 1 cup orange liqueur (Cointreau)
* juice of 1 lemon
* 1 Tbl lemon zest
* 8 pieces chocolate biscotti
* 12 ounces mascarpone cheese
* 1 pint heavy cream

1) In a medium bowl, mix strawberries, ½ cup sugar, orange liqueur, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
2) Just before serving, make the whipped cream: In a chilled bowl with cold ingredients, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream and 2 Tbl sugar until soft peaks form.
3) Assemble: layer on a plate or deep glass (for example wine glass) biscotti, then divide strawberries and liquid over biscotti. Top with whipped mascarpone-cream mixture. Coco powder can be dusted on top or mint sprig placed over.

Serving size= 4 people. Active time= 8 minutes
* 6 ounces white rum
* 1 bunch fresh mint
* 1 pint blueberries
* 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
* juice of 2 limes + 1 for garnish
* 1 liter club soda
* 4 Tbl sugar
* crushed ice

1) Place ½ pint blueberries, 1 diced jalapeno, mint, sugar and lime juice in a pitcher or divide amongst glasses. Muddle (crush) to extract aromas and flavors.
2) Add remaining blueberries and jalapeno peppers, crushed ice, rum, and top with club soda; stir to incorporate.
3) Garnish with lime wedges and serve.

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