Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

1
Apr

Cobbler-esque

   Posted by: Livia    in course, dessert, experiments, Food, friendly, gluten free, Recipe, vegetarian

I’ve always refused to look in a cookbook for a recipe for cobbler or crisp or anything that is pretty much baked fruit. It’s so easy, it should just be intuitive.

And I’m sure no one is surprised that my results have usually be disappointing. Well, no one other than me. It’s always a surprise.

So there I was with a package of blueberries from a month ago that wasn’t moldy or rotten, just a bit wrinkled, and nothing to do with it other than some kind of baked fruit joy.

So I got out two ramekins. And a tart green apple.

I diced the apple, and I added half to one ramekin and half to the other. Then I picked through the blueberries and split them evenly between the ramekins, too.

Also, for added complication, I wanted a lot of flavor out of as few calories as possible, so I did not put a pat of butter into each of these. Nor did I add a lot of sugar.

I added to each about half a teaspoon of vanilla sugar from Marx Food*, a healthy dash of Korintje cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

And then that was it for the first one, and it was ready to pop into the oven.

For the second one, I tried a crust.

I mixed together 2 heaping teaspoons of old fashioned rolled oatmeal, roughly the same quantity of leftover cooked brown rice, 1 heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s whole wheat baking mix (think Bisquik), and half a teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Mix together first, then spread over the top of the fruit.

And then I baked it for a while in a 350F oven. I didn’t time it, just kept peeping at it while I was cooking something else. I’ll guess they stayed in for about half an hour.

results – crustless
It was tart!

But I’d spent the cooking time also looking through my Weight Watchers cookbook for light dessert recipes, and I’d come across a beverage with added lime juice and I hadn’t noticed that it was a drink at first. And that just seemed right.

So I tried adding lime juice to the already tart baked fruit. And it was amazing! It was a gooey, bubbly dessert that also felt refreshing. Would make again. Don’t know if my friends would like it – but a lump of ice cream on top would probably mellow it out nicely.

When I took the first one out, the crust still wasn’t looking like a cohesive crust. So, I sliced a thin teaspoon of butter off the stick and lay that on top to melt in. And that worked well.

About 10 minutes later, when I’d finished the first dessert (only took so long because it had needed time to cool down from molten), I pulled out the 2nd cobbler.

results – with crust
I loved this. The rice dried out a little and got crunchy, but I thought that was delicious. The topping was a good mix of crispy and chewy, and it had a lot of the richness I like even it is wasn’t packed full of butter. The exact same fruit ended up tasting not nearly as tart with the starchy topping.

So – FINALLY – I’ve had a random experiment with cobbler turn out as joyous as I’d hoped.

*After I reviewed the Black Garlic the sent me for free, they sent me a mix box (related to a mix tape, I’m sure) of more things to try. Also for free. There was not any expectation of more fun from the first experiment, but there is a bit of a relationship now. And now a review of their vanilla sugar:

I have a friend who regularly orders vanilla beans from Penzey’s and makes her own vanilla sugar from scratch. In most cases, when given a choice between regular sugar and the vanilla, I prefer the plain. In fact, I’d pretty much only use it as a substitute for vanilla extract, which I don’t keep on hand either. No, I don’t do much baking. But this seemed a perfect time for a bit of extra.

They use a fine sugar, which is almost a confectioners sugar. I don’t know if it’s thicker because it’s a different grade or because of the additional vanilla, but it seemed a slightly different texture. Oh, hey – there’s a picture/explanation on their website. I think I like their sugar better for just popping on my tongue… not that I did that a lot. :) But I don’t know that there’s much functional difference in a setting where you can’t enjoy the texture. It would make a lovely dusting for a chocolate bundt cake.

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I had Jury Duty. Only I called the night before and was told they didn’t need me. So did I go to work like a responsible citizen? No! Of course not! I took today off work. Whee!

Plan a: wake up at 6:30am, get on the road by 7:15; get to a pick your own farm in New Jersey by 8am; pick stuff; drive to a pick your own farm in Pennsylvania; pick more stuff (they have late season strawberries!); have lunch with my parents; drive home; pick up two yoga classes that I usually am working during and have never tried these teachers.

How did that work?

Well, I got out of the house more like 8am. Still pretty darn perky.

Got to the PYO farm in New Jersey. I really like this place; it has a huge variety of things to pick. I started off with slips to pick blackberries and blueberries.

blackberries I love blackberries more than any other fruit-type thing. When I was little, we had blackberries growing in our backyard: tight, little fruits full of flavor. And I’m always a bit disappointed by these lush, overflowing things that have been selected as the ideal blackberry. Well, it looks like the breeding of grafting or whatever you need to do to make the big berries, isn’t 100% because I could find more compact berries on the same brambles as the juicier ones. \o/! So I went down a row and back up and had filled my two containers-worth of blackberries. (and then there was a moment of ick, when my feet, wet with the lingering dew of the humid summer morning, hit the sandy driveway… and there was unexpected sandiness of unpleasantness.)

blueberries I caught the trailing end of the blueberry crop, but I’ve always had a fondness for smaller berries, here, too. So it just took a bit more patience to pull a berry here and there until … well, the container wasn’t full, but I was done.

(side note: that’s twice now this week that I have seemed to be overheated without feeling hot at all. I’m a little worried by this development, but I figure summer won’t last too much longer and my body can figure out its issues if I give it time)

So I decided not to pick peaches or white grapes or anything else on offer, but I did buy some peach and nectarine seconds. (and, yes, a doughnut – they were making them on site)

And then I drove straight to my parents’. We went out for lunch. I suggested the little Mexican shack that had opening up fairly close to their place, but my mother said there was a place in town that was better… turned out to be Qdoba (WTF parents?). Apparently, they’ve started doing their regularly because it is right next to the social security office. (awww… old parents) But they were paying, so I only hassled them a little about it.

Gave them some blackberries and drove home and took a nap.

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9
Aug

3 salads in 36 hours!

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, salad

I’ve been thinking about BLTs ever since I ran across this BLT on a food blog.

And while I did stop by the supermarket and feel up the avocados, none of them were ripe enough to use tonight.

BLT inspired.

hot bit (part 1)
made bacon (I only had one slice thawed, so that’s all of the bacon. Just set it off to drain on paper towels for a bit)

cold bits
spring mix
2 scallions
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion, sliced very thinly
2 small tomatoes (from my mother’s garden), quartered and sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre

hot bit (part 2)
2 ounces leftover chicken breast, sliced (I ended up heating this under the broiler since I was also roasting veggies, but it could be cooked in residual bacon fat, if some were drained and wiped out)

Dressing
Grey Poupon
balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Manischewitz
1/4 tsp soy sauce

~*~

So there was bacon in that salad. And there are breakfast burritos. And so I was thinking, “Hey – there could be a breakfast salad.”

Breakfast Salad

hot bit (part 1)
boil 1 potato and 1 egg

hot bit (part 2)
make bacon (1.5 slices)

cold bit
spring mix
finely sliced onion
finely sliced tomato
finely sliced hot pepper

hot bit (unification)
slice potato & toss with 1 tsp olive oil and some salt
slice hard boiled egg
crumble bacon over top right before eating

dressing
leftover from the BLT salad

verdict – both the potato and the egg was a bit much. Either one could have been left off with no ill effect. But, hey, I’ve never made a breakfast salad before. :)

~*~

I’d been cobbling together odds and ends of my mismatched collection of condiments, and I spied my jar of blueberry jelly – as yet unmolested in my salad making adventures. So I started planning a blueberry salad. Now this one is weird, but trust me, it was tasty. I wasn’t even starving when I ate it, and it was still tasty.

Blueberry Salas

I started with the
dressing
3 Tablespoons of blueberry preserves
1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp chinese mustard
3/4 tsp coriander chutney
1/2″ finely minced fresh ginger
a generous amount of ground cinnamon

and then I sliced
1 bosc pear into the dressing because I figured that blueberries wouldn’t provide enough body on their own, but I was worried about them softening/discoloring, so I let them sit in the vinegary dressing for a bit before adding them to the salad

cold bits
spring mix
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, and then into thin slices
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre
about 1/2 a cup of blueberries

Add dressing

hot bit
dry toasted 1/3 cup of walnut pieces on the stove
Once they were all warm and toasty, I tossed them in a jar with some cinnamon
And then sprinkled most of them on the salad

All in all, it was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped.

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