My (new!) husband Travis used to live in historic Annapolis, MD, just a few blocks from the adorably charming City Dock area. He lived in the bottom half of a house, and living in the top half was Brad. The first Christmas that I knew Brad, he met the love of his life, Sondra, at the now-defunct Christmas Light Run (campaign is ongoing to bring it back). A handful of months later, Brad and Travis both moved from Annapolis to Washington, DC at the same time to move in with their lady-friends. They even shared a moving truck (I know, so cute you want to barf, right?). And not surprisingly, some time after that, everyone got engaged.
The four of us dragged our feet, weighed down with the angry-monster thoughts of expenses and guest lists and trying to make sure your seventeenth cousin twice removed is going to be happy. B&S dragged their feet a wee bit longer than T and me. It was about five weeks before our nuptials that Brad mentioned they still hadn’t made any decisions about a wedding. A week later, I got an invite to a bridal shower for Sondra. Had I not read the invitation very carefully, I would have missed the fact that the bridal shower was to precede a wedding scheduled for TWO WEEKS LATER. Surprise! That’s right folks, these two went from zero to married in just a few weeks (me, as I glued the 478th paper bird to a program: $%*#*@% jealous). Their wedding was perfect and they both agree that it couldn’t have been done any other way.
We only just were able to have Brad and Sondra over for dinner since their surprise wedding. To cap off the evening, I served individual strawberry crumbles. The surprise in this dish is the addition of raspberry balsamic vinegar, which gives the cooked strawberries a lively little tang. Because the crumble is relatively light on sugar, it’s a perfect dish to play up the sweet and sour flavor of berries (any blend of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries would do here).
Surprise Strawberry Crumble
1.5 qts. strawberries, cut into quarters (if using frozen, thawed and drained)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs. raspberry balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix berries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Divide evenly among four ramekins or pour into a single loaf pan. This dish is just as tasty using frozen strawberries, but you must thaw and drain the berries. Otherwise you'll end up with strawberry soup (which may not be altogether bad, but not what we're going for here). I used my own fresh berries that we had frozen. If you use store bought frozen berries, make sure they don't have any sauce or added sugars.
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup quick cook oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Mix dry ingredients together. Incorporate butter with your hands. Spread topping over the strawberry mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Filling should be bubbly. Top these babies off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of fresh whipped cream with vanilla extract.