What a whirlwind summer this has been.
A couple weeks ago, C and I took a road trip down to LA to visit my younger brother and celebrate his younger brother’s 40th birthday. It was a rowdy bash, full of Mai Tais, Margaritas and blaring music. We also saw my sister-in-law who recently finished treatment for breast cancer. Her golden curls are slowly growing back and her spirits are quite high.
During this time, one of my closest high school friends called with exciting news that she’s pregnant after trying to conceive for quite time, and we quietly celebrated the 40th birthday of my older brother who passed away three years ago in April.
Among all this, some really great opportunities have come my way, including a contributor gig at Gojee, a brilliant search site that matches you with recipes from “the world’s most passionate food writers”. And, there will be an upcoming feature on Shape.com for my Curried Corn and Coconut Soup with Lobster, Tomato + Tarragon Salad recipe.
This summer has been a reminder to relish the sweet among the struggle. And this recipe is the epitome of that dichotomy: tart Greek yogurt infused with subtly sweet rosewater and a ruby pluot, strawberry and star anise compote.
Needing a little break from it all, I packed mine in small jars, gathered my husband and a blanket and enjoyed them as a perfect ending to a late summer picnic at our favorite spot to unwind – the beach.
3 cups Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons rosewater
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 pluots, pitted and finely diced
¼ cup strawberries, hulled and finely diced
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
In a medium glass bowl, whip together the yogurt and rosewater. Cover and set aside (may be refrigerated for up to a week if your yogurt is fresh).
To make the compote, add everything from the honey to the sea salt to a non-reactive saucepan and combine over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly for about 5-7 minutes, or until the fruit breaks down and the mixture is a bright ruby color.
Remove from the heat and let cool before serving with the yogurt (curdled yogurt is not pretty). When ready to serve, pluck out the star anise pods and drizzle over the top of the rosewater yogurt. Enjoy!