Since being back from our Europe trip I’ve realized the solace of one’s home is often forsaken.  We seldom take the time to appreciate the commonplace of our lives, the comfort, security  the simplicity that comes along.  Instead I often find myself dreaming of traveling to a far away land and touching foot in every corner of this world.  I dream of colors, sounds, smells; I imagine the people, their faces, their clothes, their language.  Yet at the end of the day, I realize all my heart truly wants is some sense of peace.

I find in my (late) twenties I’ve fallen into a period of confusion.  A seemingly backwards evolution from my cheeky and egotistical adolescent years.  What had happened??  How is it that the older I become, the more I begin to realize how little I actually know?  The more answers I get the more follow up questions I have.  Everything is suddenly backwards where I actually beg my parents to lecture me, because YES I am finally ready after all these years to receive their wisdom. It’s hard to find and maintain the perfect balance between love, work and self preservation.

Recent influx of work has taken time away from the kitchen.  It’s been fun, exciting and exhilarating, yet at the end of the day I felt like something was missing.    It wasn’t until I got back from our vacation that I realized how deeply rooted I am with food.  As much as I enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant, I can’t help but be that control freak when preparing my meals. Since being back I’ve done nothing but cook in the kitchen — getting back to the rhythm, feeling my food, enjoying the beauty of self preservation. I relish in working directly with the ingredients I cook with — feeling them, smelling them, tasting them — it’s become this deep connection between my heart and the earth and the result?  A beautiful recipe.

I bought these organic strawberries last Friday and then left town for the weekend, completely forgot about them and come around Tuesday they were not at their best.  What to do with these slightly wilted beauties?  They only have a few wrinkles after all.  I could’ve easily tossed them in the trash but I managed to salvage the little life they had left and transformed it into something blissful.  The best way to salvage old fruit?  Roast them.

Roast them with a little cinnamon and sugar or I tossed mine in some Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Italy (available through Artizone) and brown sugar.  The sugar, vinegar and juices from the berries caramelize into a luxurious fruity and tangy reduction — perfect over some rich and creamy creme fraiche ice cream.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Joy Zhang
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream adapted from Epicurious
  • 2 pint baskets strawberries, stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
  1. Rinse the strawberries in cool water, place in a strainer or colander, and shake off most of the water. Slice the strawberries about 1/8 inch thick, place them in a large bowl, and sprinkle them with the sugar.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar, and put the strawberries and all of their juices into a large saute pan or a large ovenproof dish. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the strawberries are hot but not mushy. Divide among individual dishes and serve with a scoop of Creme Fraiche Ice Cream (1/2 cup per serving). Serve immediately.


  1. Sylvie@GITK says: 26 May ’11 • 06:19:13

    Isn’t that funny the way it’s only when we ourselves are adults that we are ready to receive what our parents have to teach us openly. Why do we waste so many years convincing ourselves that we know everything? I guess that’s the folly of youth, and we all experience it.


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:41:08

      I’m pretty sure when I was 15 I was fully convinced I knew 1000 times more than my parents. Now that confidence has diminished into nothing hahaha

  2. Celia says: 26 May ’11 • 12:22:25

    As another late-20-something food blogger…I totally feel you. I’m so happy you made time and caught these berries just before spoilage, though…I always love strawberry-balsamic combos, and this looks like such a lovely, grown-up, not-too-sweet dessert.


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:44:45

      Thank you Celia — it is good to meet you. How much more confusing can our 20s be? Haha but I have to admit it’s been a fun ride figuring out life all over again. Thanks again for your lovely words

    • Celia says: 26 May ’11 • 19:51:51

      Good to meet you too! PS – I wound up using a variation on these berries (minus the sugar) in a salad with grilled chicken and rhubarb vinaigrette today. Awesome!

  3. Junia says: 26 May ’11 • 13:59:22

    wow, never thought about using balsamic with strawberries! beautiful dish, joy!


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:41:20

      Thank you sweet Junia

  4. Cooking with Michele says: 26 May ’11 • 14:07:44

    I almost always macerate my berries in balsamic, but never thought to roast them. And the idea of pairing them with creme fraiche ice cream has me running to the kitchen to make a new flavor of ice cream!


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:41:44

      Haha thank you Michele! it was my first time trying it too, results were definitely amazing :)

  5. Artizone says: 26 May ’11 • 14:32:47

    Roasting sounds like a great way to save overripened berries! It’s easy to forget that balsamic vinegar has more uses than for salad dressings, especially the good quality balsamics like the Modena one you used. Thank you for including us in your blog!


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:43:55

      Artizone rocks :)

  6. The Cilantropist says: 26 May ’11 • 15:09:38

    Joy this was just a thoughtful and well written post, and I can agree with your sentiments about being home, finding peace, and ‘growing up’ completely. I am also most at home in the kitchen, and it is becoming more and more apparent to me everyday. I love this recipe, and have been thinking about roasting berries for awhile! Beautiful photos!


    • Joy says: 26 May ’11 • 15:43:38

      It’s amazing how almost meditative cooking can be it’s something I dont think I will ever let go of. Thank you for your sweet words!

  7. Heather says: 26 May ’11 • 15:54:48

    That just looks insanely wonderful.


  8. Melissa says: 26 May ’11 • 16:12:07

    I am in my late 20s and I know just how you feel! When I moved away and went to college and suddenly found out what a selfish, bratty know-it-all I was as a teen. I didn’t know crap, the world will eat me alive if I let it. My parents were no longer there to protect me, pick up the pieces, and help fix my bad choices. I had to learn to do that myself. I think thats what our 20s are for. Just figuring out who we are as adults. Who we want to be and what we want out of life. The trouble is we cant seem to figure those things out without making a bunch of mistakes first.
    My step dad always used to ask me, “Do you know more now then you did 5 years ago? Yes, well then perhaps I might have learned something in the past 50 years that could help you out.” Boy was he right! Now I am often coming to my parents to ask their advice. Just keep in mind, something I learned the hard way, your parents are not always right. They mean well but, sometimes they are very wrong so always get several opinions and make decisions based on your “research”.
    On another note, this recipe look delicious. I keep seeing recipes for roasted strawberries but havent tried them yet. Going to have to change that.


  9. Dishing the Divine says: 26 May ’11 • 16:45:13

    I love the idea of roasting strawberries! I would *never* have thought of this. And with ice cream? Sounds divine. :)


  10. lululu says: 26 May ’11 • 17:46:55

    I was skeptical to use balsamic vinegar for dessert until I tried it with making olive oil muffin. It was like surprisingly good. Since then, I’ve been looking for same good recipes. THIS is one, Joy!


  11. Rachel says: 26 May ’11 • 18:23:54

    I’m the same as you. I like to eat out at restaurants, but I really enjoy cooking at home that much more! I wasn’t able to cook for about 3 weeks because we were moving and the night after we moved in to our new place, I dug out all my kitchen stuff and made dinner. It’s the one thing (other than skiing) that keeps me grounded. Thanks for sharing!


  12. RavieNomNoms says: 26 May ’11 • 19:55:28

    Wow you pictures are gorgeous!! This is so sensational too. YUM


  13. BigFatBaker says: 27 May ’11 • 03:32:07

    Sounds great! I bet it smelled amazing in your kitchen.


  14. Apron Appeal says: 27 May ’11 • 09:52:55

    I have some blackberries approaching the “too old” stage. I think I may roast them first, and then make them into blackberry syrup. I want to see if roasting them will bring out a more robust flavor. Thanks for the tip.

    Also, I feel similar about knowing less and wanting parents to lecture. The funny part…now that I want to listen to my parents, they no longer want to lecture.


  15. Rochelle says: 27 May ’11 • 16:11:03

    Beautiful idea to roast these strawberries! Most people would do what you thought about doing, toss ‘em out, but this is a great way to save them and make something fantastic too :D


  16. Mikaela Cowles says: 27 May ’11 • 23:57:22

    I couldn’t agree more. Being at home makes you get so wrapped up in the business of living and suddenly you miss all of the wonderful things around you. Why is it that going away, no matter how far, makes you open your eyes. I’m so glad you came home with your vision wide open and went straight to the kitchen.


  17. Isabelle says: 28 May ’11 • 02:17:01

    This recipe makes me desperate for strawberry season to hurry up and start already. We’ve had a really cool wet spring, though, so it’ll probably be another month (at least) before that happens. :(
    Love the idea of combining the berries with a creme fraiche ice cream.. that creamy tanginess sounds perfect for sweet-tart strawberries.


  18. Quay Po Cooks says: 29 May ’11 • 11:07:26

    I remember when I was a teenager, I thought I was right about everything. If only I have listened to my mum, I would not have bled through my mistakes. Now I see “me” in my son….perhaps that’s part of growing up for most young people. I will never thought of roasting strawberry, what an interesting recipe!


  19. Jean says: 31 May ’11 • 23:50:05

    I completely agree. Often, I don’t appreciate how good it is being home until after I’ve been gone a while. Cooking seems such a treat then, among all the other luxuries I take for granted. Wanderlust strikes eventually, of course, but the cycle is one to be enjoyed.
    This is such an inspired recipe, Joy. I can’t wait to try it. I bought a few too many berries this weekend–if my husband and I don’t enjoy all of them, I know what they’ll become. :-)


  20. Betty Pham says: 1 Jun ’11 • 10:55:40

    yummy! and i love your gorgeous photography!!


  21. Kulsum at JourneyKit says: 19 Jun ’11 • 06:16:39

    Being a 20 something I totally relate to the ‘confusion’ you talk about. All through out my exams and work which I do enjoy, the thing that makes me at peace is being in my kitchen. There sure is something about the aromas and textures of food that makes me belong. Beautiful post my friend as always!


  22. Maureen says: 29 Jun ’11 • 05:02:06

    I love balsamic vinegar with strawberries over ice cream but I’ve never roasted them. This is going to be a definite dessert this week.


  23. betty says: 1 Jul ’11 • 00:01:09

    hi joy what beautiful pictures i hope you’ve been well :)


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