Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strawberries in Orange - Caramel Sauce

I'm going to begin with a little story here...
Once upon a time at the end of last week, (long story short) I received a phone call (from someone I'm working with, not a random stranger) that my social security number is registered under someone else's name. You look up MY number and get someone else. Not an ideal situation.

Social security numbers are like toothbrushes: not to be shared. And I will not share it with you all, either.

Interestingly, this is actually something that came up when I was in grad school. I think it was when I had to get a criminal background check before my clinicals- just to make sure I wasn't abusing the geriatric population and such. Anyway, I think the person who came up was a woman in Louisiana. Maybe it's the same this time around...

I was told that someone probably wrote down this other woman's number incorrectly (or maybe she memorized it incorrectly and this is what she gives out?)- who knows? And isn't there a pattern for numbers depending on the state or area of the country you're in?

I can't remember how we got around it last time, or that it was "fixed" in any way, and I should probably go through my grad school things to see if I can find anything about this.
Strange though... how did I get my passport or drivers' license, how did I take (and pass) my boards, get a license if my number does not belong to me?

In college, our SS numbers were used for our ID (stupid idea if you ask me), but it was changed when I was a senior so that we had random numbers. I changed my drivers' license number to a random number, too (since the SS number needs to stay a little more private than completely public).

And so, as if everyone in general doesn't need somewhat stupid errands to run, I have to go find a social security office. I'm imagining it to be about as much fun as the DMV. Now that is a place where you can tell our friendly American government workers LOVE their jobs. Where do they find these people? They're rarely contestants in the running for Miss Congeniality ("surly" and "total disenchantment" are not award-winning characteristics).

Well, I hope my number doesn't have to be changed. I hope I can keep it- I've had it for many years (and, yes, I do have the original card... an amazing thing since it's printed on flimsy cardboard- how did it survive?). Seriously, I have this number memorized, and I'd rather not have to do it again. I know the topic isn't actually as light at this, but I have to admit that number memorization is not my forte.

While sharing a social security number is not a good thing, these strawberries are.
Sorry, this is the only segue I've thought up at the moment as strawberries and social security really have nothing in common (except that they DO start with the same letter).

The original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine, May 2008, and this is my slight adaptation of it.

The strawberries can be eaten with plain yogurt- actually what I had for breakfast (no intoxication since the alcohol burns off during cooking). They also make a very nice dessert when spooned over vanilla ice cream.

You can use oranges, but the last time I made it there were no orange to be found over here. I used a lemon instead. It was less sweet than the orange (not a bad thing), but it was still wonderful.

Strawberries in Orange - Caramel Sauce
serves 4-6

1/2 c granulated sugar
4 T salted butter
1 navel orange (zest and juice) OR 1 lemon
1/4 c orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier)
1 lb small strawberries (washed, trimmed and cut into halves or quarters depending on size)

Grate orange (or lemon) zest into a bowl and then squeeze juice into the same bowl. Cut butter into 4 pieces and add to the bowl along with the orange liqueur.
Heat sugar in a dry 10 inch nonstick skilled over medium heat, stirring with a fork until it begins to melt. Once the sugar is melted, swirl the pan occasionally so that the sugar caramelizes evenly. Continue until the sugar turns a dark amber (this won't take very long!). Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the juice mixture into the pan. The caramel will sizzle and solidify, but don't worry, it will liquify again. Continue stirring until the caramel melts and the mixture is homogeneous. When the caramel has dissolved and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 2 minutes) add the sliced strawberries and stir until heated through (about 1 minute). Serve immediately.


  1. I can completely attest to Natalie not being good at memorizing numbers, although her sister Marie is REALLY good at it.
    Natalie does pretty well at most everything else!

  2. Who makes these beautiful photos on your blog? They are tasteful and serve the purpose: to instruct and to make us want to try to imitate. And they leave enough of the mystery of cooking, which makes it necessary to read the text (it is well written and allows us this time to have a glance of the different Z-characters ...who cares about numbers anyway?)

  3. They're my photos- I'm (still) getting used to using my camera (this forces me to do that)! Thanks. I agree, numbers are overrated.