A few weeks ago, Jay, John and I headed out to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia to see the live version of the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. We’ve been making this pilgrimage to hear Garrison Keillor’s words of wisdom and reports from his home town, Lake Wobegon for many years now. Wolf Trap is a fabulous indoor/outdoor amphitheatre which seats approximately 4,000 people under cover and another 3,000 folks on picnic blankets on their sloping lawn out under the hopefully starry skies.
We always opt for the uncovered lawn seats, willing to take our chances with good old Mother Nature in exchange for the ability to feast on a fabulous picnic meal and enjoy whatever refreshing beverages (and you are definitely right – these are usually adult type beverages) we choose to bring along. Drinking…in a National Park?! Unheard of, I assure you! But it happens at Wolf Trap. We always have a great time.
Garrison Keillor has recently announced his retirement which will be taking place tentatively in the Spring of 2013. Oh no! Only one more Prairie Home Companion show after this! At least with our beloved Garrison. He is looking for his replacement now. We are happy for him but very saddened to think our annual ritual will be forever altered. I wanted to make some awesome goodies for this year’s Companion. As I’ve mentioned, Jay loves goat cheese and John shares this sentiment. Since the strawberries have been quite tasty this year, I decided to do fresh strawberries, stuffed with Goat Cheese and drizzled with a Balsamic Vinegar Glaze. And not just any goat cheese, but a favourite of ours, Purple Haze goat cheese from the folks at Cypress Grove Chevre.
This particular goat cheese has lavender and fennel pollen mixed in. It has a wonderful fresh taste, a little sweetness from the lavender and fennel followed with the natural tang of goat cheese. The Balsamic Glaze gives it a wonderful savory, sweet finish. They were just perfect for a summer picnic, but would look appropriately fancy at your next dinner soiree. After just one berry you might find yourself haunted by the following words:
Purple Haze, All in my brain,
Lately things just don’t seem the same..
Purple Haze Stuffed Strawberries
1 pint fresh Strawberries, washed and hulled
4 oz. Purple Haze Goat Cheese
2 Tablespoons Cream, or milk if you prefer
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinegar glaze *
Wash and hull strawberries.
In a small bowl, combine Purple Haze goat cheese, lemon zest and enough cream to make the mixture piping consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place goat cheese mixture in piping bag and fill hollowed out portion of each strawberry. If you don’t have a piping bag, I’m sure you could fill the berries with a spoon.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar glaze over the stuffed strawberries and serve.
*I used a store-bought Balsamic Glaze for these strawberries and waited to drizzle it over them right before they were served. If you don’t have a pre-made Glaze, just take about 1/2 Cup of balsamic vinegar and boil it down until it reduces to a glaze consistency.