Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

A couple years ago, I read this recipe for roasted strawberries and thought, “why would one want to alter a perfect summer strawberry?” Then I bought two pounds of strawberries at Costco – admittedly not perfect summer strawberries – and decided to try it. WOW. wow. The beauty of roasting strawberries is that it coaxes this deep, rich flavor out of even mediocre strawberries. I’m still not sure I would roast those little bright red beauties from the farmer’s market – those just taste too good on their own – but for every other strawberry in the world, this will now be my go-to preparation.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

This was also my first stab at a frozen dessert, and I must say… again… wow. The key here is to consistently churn and stir the yogurt as it’s freezing. If you have an ice cream maker, that works as well, but you can still get pretty nice results by just pulling the bowl out of the freezer every 30 minutes to an hour to stir the mixture around. The more frequently you pull it out and stir it, the creamier the result. As an experiment, I just let a bowl of yogurt freeze without any stirring. I ended up with a bowl of ice, essentially.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt (2)

I don’t really like big frozen strawberry chunks in my ice cream or frozen yogurt, so I just used the balsamic strawberry sauce that results from the roasting to flavor the yogurt and then poured the fruit over the top for serving. Much better than giant frozen chunks of strawberries mixed in. You might also notice some raspberries in these pictures. I had a few of those and therefore tossed them in as well.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt (7)

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1 pound fresh strawberries, leaves removed, halved
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch or two of salt

1 quart full-fat plain yogurt
4 tablespoons maple syrup

finely shredded mint, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. On a deep baking tray, scattered the strawberries and cover with a bit of salt and the vinegar. Toss around to coat all the berries, then spread the berries into a single layer in the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. When done roasting, pour the strawberries and all the juices into a bowl and set aside.

In a metal bowl, combine the yogurt, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of the liquid that results from roasting the strawberries. Have a taste here… the yogurt should taste just slightly too sweet. When it freezes, that sweetness will dull a bit and be perfect. Put the bowl in the freezer. Every 30 minutes to one hour, pull the bowl out and stir the mixture, being sure to scrape down the sides and incorporate any icy parts. Continue to do this until it reaches the consistency you like, between 4 and 6 hours.

When ready to serve, scoop the frozen yogurt into a bowl, top with roasted strawberries and a bit more sauce, and garish with fresh mint.

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes with Maple Creme Fraiche and Strawberries

I’ve been making pancakes on weekends lately. I’m a bit obsessed with buckwheat right now, and these buckwheat pancakes are a result of that. For the pancakes, I used yet another recipe from 101 Cookbooks – Heidi’s white whole wheat pancakes – I just substituted buckwheat flour in for the white whole wheat flour. Plus, I had fresh strawberries and creme fraiche on hand, so it all sounded like a perfect three-way marriage.


Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup natural granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together. Then add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Mix together – Heidi says the mixture can be a bit lumpy, and indeed, mine was. Heat a skillet and melt a bit more butter in the skillet. Glop the batter in the pan. When the batter starts to bubble and you can easily slip a spatula underneath, flip the pancake and cook for another minute or two, until the pancake is cooked through. Due to a leveling problem with my stove, all my pancakes come out in large oval shapes, but hey, they work!

Maple Crème Fraiche

Start with the creme fraiche recipe found here. Take approximately 1 cup of the creme fraiche and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of quality maple syrup to taste. (do not buy that cheap stuff made with high fructose corn syrup – it’s not worth it!). Serve atop the pancakes.

Berries & Cream

Is there anything better than a fresh summer strawberry at the peak of ripeness? Our farmer’s market is bursting with fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (mostly from Michigan, though plenty from Illinois as well). You can also tell when berries are in season – you can buy a pound of strawberries from Stanley’s for less than $2. They’re not locally sourced, but they certainly are cheap.


I made this rather large berry dessert the same day I made gazpacho. It’s plenty healthy, too, unlike a more traditional berries and cream recipe. Greek yogurt replaces the cream – and while Greek yogurt can be very fatty also, it is still healthier than regular cream due to the presence of the active cultures. And cats love it too!

To boost the health factor, I ground some flax seeds and used Agave Nectar instead of sugar. It turned out to be light, refreshing, and perfect for a very hot day in July.

Berries & Cream
1 box strawberries
1 box blueberries
1 small cup plain Greek yogurt – Fage is my favorite
1/8 cup flax seeds, ground in mortar & pestle
handful of sliced almonds
drizzle of agave nectar

Wash the berries and chop strawberries into bite-sized chunks. Layer them on a plate, then top with yogurt, almonds, and ground flax. Drizzle with agave to taste.