Bodacious Blueberries

 The Blueberry is one of my favorite fruits. Since it’s one of North America’s few native fruits I thought that it was wholly appropriate that we celebrate, glorify, and eat as much of them as we can on.

Since it’s a native plant it’s not surprising that North America is the world’s leading blueberry producer. While harvesting runs from mid-April through early October its harvest peaks in July. So, it’s no surprise that in our drive to create bigger and better holidays July is now designated as National Blueberry Month (I can’t wait to see the Hallmark cards).

Blueberries are incredibly good for you. They provide about 5 grams of fiber per cup- (more than most fresh fruits) and I cup of fresh blueberries contain about 15% of our recommended Daily Value of vitamin C.

It’s pretty easy to pick “good” blueberries if you’re lucky enough to have a farm that has a U PICK feature in close proximity to where you live or are vacationing. You should look berries that are firm and dry. The skin should be smooth and deep purple-blue, with a silvery-white bloom. Storing fresh blueberries is simple. They should be covered while stored in the refrigerator and used within 10 days of being purchase. They should be washed just before you serve them.

Everyone seems to be blue berry crazy these days. Lots of communities have festivals and the Internet abounds with sites that offer everything from recipes to on line ordering of anything blueberry (preserves, dried and wild). So  if you have the opportunity (at any time) to revel in (and eat) the fruit that is the blueberry, go for it.

 BLUEBERRY CAKE

This is a classic recipe that no self-respecting chef should be without

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 stick margarine or butter

2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3 cup flour

1 teaspoon (rounded) baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy; add the eggs and beat well. Add the vanilla, milk, and flour and mix well. Add baking powder and stir until blended. Gently fold in blueberries. Bake in a tube pan (angel food or bunt cake pan) for 1 hour. Cool in pan on a cake rack; invert onto rack while warm (but not hot). When cool, drizzle with a glaze made of softened butter, powdered sugar and milk (play with quantities until you achieve ‘drizzle’ consistency). Serves 8 to 10

BLUEBERRY SOUP

This simple start to a summer meal is very easy to make. You can keep pareve or add a little cream or milk to jazz it up.

3 cups water

4 cups fresh or dry-packed frozen blueberries, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch or potato flour

2 tablespoons cream or milk (optional)

dash of cinnamon (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the berries and sugar and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl mix the potato flour with a small amount of cold water. Stir into berry mixture and bring again to boiling point. Cool, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. A dash of cinnamon over the top just before serving is a nice touch. You can stir in the cream or milk just before serving if you like and can serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream as a garnish if you like. 4 to 6 servings.

CHEATERS BLUEBERRY BANANA BREAD

2 cups Bisquick

2/3 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Milk

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, (drained if frozen)

 3/4 cup Quick-Cooking Oats

1 cup ripe banana, mashed

 2 eggs

 Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of a 9X5 loaf pan. In a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except blueberries and stir until mixed very well about 1 minute. Gently fold in the blueberries and pour the batter into the pan. Bake 44-55 minutes. (toothpick test it to see if it’s done)  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then run a knife around the sides to loosen. Remove from loaf pan and cool completely before slicing. Serves 6

BLUEBERRY SPINACH SALAD

Dressing:

3 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Salad:

20 Oz fresh spinach

1 cup fresh blueberries

3 oranges

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Combine the sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, salt and oil in a small mixing bowl. Set

aside. Trim the stems on the spinach leaves then wash and drain them in a colander.  Dry on paper towels. Tear the spinach into bite-sized pieces and place them in a salad bowl. Wash blueberries; drain on paper towels. Peel the oranges; separate them into sections and cut into thirds. Add the oranges, blueberries, and nuts to the spinach. Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss lightly to mix. Serves 6.

BLUEBERRY CINNAMON ROLLS

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

 3 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Pkg. dry yeast

1/4 c warm water (105-115 degrees)

2 1/4 cup flour — divided

1 egg

2 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar — firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup blueberries — fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon butter or margarine — melted

1 cup powdered sugar — sifted

2 tablespoon milk

Combine 1/4-cup milk, sugar, salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; heat until butter melts and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Cool to 105 degrees to 115 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes and then add to the milk mixture. Stir the following into the milk mixture, 1-1/2 cups flour, and egg. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Stir in remaining 3/4 cup flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes).  Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour  (dough will not quite double in bulk).

 Punch dough down; turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle; spread with 2 tablespoons butter.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle mixture over rectangle.  Sprinkle with blueberries.  Roll dough jellyroll fashion, starting at long side.  Pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends).  Cut roll into 1-inch slices; place slices, cut side down, in greased 8-inch square pan.  Brush tops with 1 tablespoon-melted butter.  Using a fork, gently lift center of rolls to form a peak. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, about 40 minutes (rolls will not double in bulk).  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk, stirring well.

  Drizzle over warm rolls.  Makes 12.

BLUEBERRY OATMEAL BREAD

2 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon peel — grated

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups skim milk

1/3 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs — slightly beaten

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan.  In large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, lemon peel, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, combine milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs; mix well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in blueberries. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes; remove from pan.  Cool completely.  Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Serves 8

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BLUEBERRIES

1 lb. chicken breasts, skinned and boned

1 tablespoon salad oil – or use spray oil

1/2 cup apricot jam

1 to 2  tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. In small bowl combine the jam and mustard, mix well. Spread the jam mixture over browned chicken in the pan and sprinkle the chicken with blueberries. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook till the chicken is no longer pink in thickest part approx. 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, take out the chicken and blueberries – keep warm. Add the vinegar to the pan, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and is reduced by a third (about 5 min.) Pour sauce over chicken. Serve.  Serves 4.

TURKEY BREAST WITH BLUEBERRY CITRUS SAUCE

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

6 tablespoon orange juice

6 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon vermouth

2 teaspoon grated orange peel

2 Teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 Teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

3 Teaspoon margarine

1 lb turkey breast medallions

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, orange juice, lemon juice, vermouth, orange peel, lemon peel and ginger. Stir to blend and set aside. Melt margarine in a large, heavy skillet and saute turkey until brown and just cooked through. Transfer turkey to platter and keep warm. Add blueberry mixture to skillet and cook until mixture thickens, scraping up any browned bits (about 2 minutes). Spoon blueberry mixture over turkey and serve.  Serves 4

WHITE CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY SCONES
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces on floured surface. Add to dry mixture and mix with pastry cutter until crumbly. Add white chocolate and berries and toss with flour mixture. Add buttermilk and mix until ingredients hold together. Place dough mixture on floured surface and pat into a 9 X 9 square. Cut into thirds. Cut each third into three triangles and place on cookie sheet. Lightly dust each scone with powdered sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Makes 9 scones.

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH BLUEBERRY BBQ SAUCE

Making your own BBQ sauce, especially one with a unique flavor such as this one, immediately establishes you as a serious grilling aficionado.

6 bone in chicken breasts

2 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoon honey

3 tbsp ketchup

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

In a sauce pan combine the blueberries, vinegar, honey, ketchup, garlic powder and ginger. Bring the mixture to a low boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. Pour the BBQ sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. Put the chicken breasts and a 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce into a zip top bag and coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving. Grill the chicken over medium high until cooked, 7-8 minutes per side. Top the chicken with the BBQ sauce and serve. Serves 6.

 

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