Country Squire station wagon
The year was maybe 1965. My dad’s job involved transforming a Southern California strawberry farm into a housing development. Families were invited to “pick all you want berries” on a festive day prior to plowing the field under.
Our family of seven had a Country Squire Station Wagon. With all the seats down and five little girls stuffed in different corners, we jammed many washtubs of free sticky, red strawberries in there. I’d like to say lots of romantic things about how wonderful the experience was, but it was kind of gross. First, 11 year olds tire of picking berries in a heartbeat. Then, no auto air conditioning. Seatbelts not required, hot day and 50 miles rolling around in the Way Back with fragrant, quickly ripening berries can alter your opinion of the fruit. Once home, not much better. My folks’ fridge was an older model with small freezer, which meant not many got frozen. My mom probably made strawberry shortcakes for a few days until we hit the wall.
But I do like fresh strawberries if not overripe (gee, wonder why). I also like good prices so when Ralphs offered $4.88 for a 4-lb. pack, I bought. Then, of course, déjà vu of ‘65. Mucho ripening berries. Time for creativity.
If you enjoy peppery things, you’ll find this recipe curiously yummy. Let it sit maybe 30 minutes to allow the strangely contrasted flavors to marry. I ate both servings in one sitting, Larry didn’t get any.
During summer, we like the Hollywood Bowl and Greek Theater. That means a picnic dinner because savvy parking expert Larry wants to go early to score a strategic spot. In LA, how to exit anywhere is part of planning an outing. This recipe is a good concert picnic food – light, elegant and surprising. Pack it with a tight lid and gently turn upside down a couple of times to get everything well-mixed before serving.
And thank you WebMD blog for featuring my photo and recipe.
Peppered Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, place strawberries and drizzle with balsamic, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pepper, stir and sit an additional 30 minutes. Stir once before serving. Makes 2 servings.