One of the objectives for this website has always been to share recipes I consider special in some way. Some recipes are special by being an integral part of my family history, some because they involve my favorite ingredients (read cherries or blackberries here, but my favorites list is very long), and others just for being simple to prepare and elegant to serve. I particularly enjoy serving foods in this third category. With minimal effort, you can provide your family and guests with delicious, as well as visually appealing, culinary experiences.
Strawberry Soup is at or near the top of my list of simple and elegant dishes. I briefly noted this recipe once before, but it deserves mention again – especially as fresh strawberries are abundant everywhere this time of year. It is a delicious blend of freshly pureed berries, milk, heavy cream, and sour cream. Served cold with a strawberry and mint leaf or two, it is as visually appealing as it is tasty. (It is also special to me because it was originally requested by my three oldest grandchildren!)
Then there is something I call Fruit Salad Greek Style – actually a Grandma Karen specialty. Dice a honeydew melon and a cantaloupe, add some Feta cheese and fresh blackberries, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, and finish with a liberal drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It provides an impressive presentation and is unforgettably delicious.
Simple and fancy desserts are fun, too. I’ve mentioned Roasted Pears before, although again just briefly. Italian cuisine contains myriads of desserts, but many Italians prefer to end their meals simply with fresh fruit, cheese, and red wine. This recipe combines all three. While you and your diners are enjoying the main course, you roast whole pears in Chianti (with sugar added to make a simple syrup). The pears are served warm in a “puddle” of Chianti Sauce with shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
I’ve discovered that the Chianti Sauce used to prepare Roasted Pears works well with other recipes, too, especially when fresh fruit is involved. Consequently, I have added it as a separate recipe.
Panna Cotta with fresh berries and Chianti Sauce.
As always, I hope you will find an opportunity to try one or more of these suggestions. I know you will be pleased if you do.