Berries Galore/kosher recipes

I was recently chastised by one of my readers for not writing about strawberries and blueberries and blackberries this year. I emailed her back saying I’d get right on that and  she then replied saying that every year when they get really cheap she likes to load up on whatever berry is on sale that week and use them as much as she can and then freeze the leftovers to use later when they’re not so cheap. In my response to her response I asked her what she was looking for in the way of recipes and her reply was, and I quote “anything that isn’t the same “old boring spinach and strawberry salad  or blueberry muffin recipe you see in every newspaper or magazine for the past 30 years”.

I pondered her challenge for about 30 seconds and dove right into my treasure trove of “gotta try this someday” recipes and came up with quite a few different, unusual and downright spectacular non run of the mill recipes. So ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, grab whatever kind of berry you like (and for the most part they are interchangeable in the following recipes) and start your ovens, mix masters and blenders and let the creating begin.

1 cup = 6 or 7 strawberries

1 (16 oz.) pkg.  strawberries equals approximately approx 3 cups sliced or chopped

1 (16 oz.) pkg. strawberries equals approximately approx 1 3/4 cups

BAKED FRENCH TOAST WITH BLUEBERRY SAUCE (dairy)

1 loaf French or Italian Bread or challah, sliced

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

5 cups blueberries (approx 1 1/2 pounds fresh or 2 (12-ounce) bags frozen)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Powdered sugar

Place the bread slices in an ungreased 9X13 pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine the eggs, milk, baking powder, and vanilla together and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, turning to coat the bread completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 450. Grease another 9×13-inch baking pan. In a bowl combine the blueberries (don’t defrost if frozen), chopped nuts (these are optional), cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch and then spread it over the bottom of the prepared pan. Gently place the pieces of bread that have been soaking on top of the berry mixture (it’s best if the wettest side is placed face up). Make sure that the pieces fit together so that there are no gaps, they should be snug, so cut to fit if necessary. Brush tops of the bread with melted butter. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling around the sides. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

NOTE: I’ve made this dish using with raspberries, peaches, strawberries and a mixture of a few fruits.  Serves 6 to 8.

Modified from a Woman’s World article, date unknown.

A CLASSIC ZABAGLIONE OR SABAYONE (dairy)

A Zabaglione is the Italian version of the French Sabayon custard like dessert (or visa versa). It is typically served with sliced berries.

5 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup semi dry or sweet wine or orange liqueur

1 cup whipping cream (whipping cream), whipped until stiff

5 1/4 cups fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, quartered strawberries, and/or raspberries)

Set up a double boiler or a medium-size stainless-steel bowl over a pot of simmering water.  With a hand held electric mixer or thin wire whip, beat the egg yolks and sugar together approximately 3 minutes or until pale yellow.  Slowly whisk in the wine and set the bowl over the barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl).

Continue to beat constantly, approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggs triple in volume, thicken, and reach a temperature of 140, as registered on an instant thermometer. The eggs will first become frothy, and then as they cook, they will slightly stiffen but still hold the air. If you stop whipping or the water boils you might scramble the eggs. Be sure to move the beater or whip around the bowl so the eggs cook evenly. NOTE: If the eggs begin to curdle pull the insert away from the water for a few seconds to cool it (keep whisking constantly). Remove from heat and cool the mixture completely in the refrigerator. When the mixture is cool, gently fold in prepared whipped cream using a rubber spatula.

NOTE: Zabaglione can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. Bring the sauce to room temperature before serving with your favorite berries.

In a serving dish (a large martini or wine glass makes a nice presentation), dollop some of the zabaglione. Add fresh berries. Finish by adding another good-side dollop of zabaglione and top with mint sprig and a few more berries. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Modified from epicurious.com

WHOLE WHEAT BERRY BANANA BREAD

3 large over-ripe bananas
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or a mix

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non stick spray or oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas and add the sour cream and sugar. Mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and stir just until combined.  Fold in the berries.

Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serving. Serves 8 to 10

 

CORN CAKES WITH BLACKBERRY OR BLUEBERRY SYRUP

Syrup:

1 pint blackberries or blueberries

1 1/2 cups maple syrup

Corncakes:

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen or canned

1 1/2 cups milk

2 large eggs

Oil for oiling the griddle

1 cup berries for garnish

To make the blackberry syrup, combine the berries and syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer until the berries have broken down and combined with the syrup, about 5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and keep it warm.

To make the pancakes, preheat the oven to 200. In a bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 cup of the corn kernels and the milk and process until smooth. Add the eggs and process to combine. Pour the corn mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until smooth. Fold in the remaining corn.

Heat a griddle over high heat until the griddle is very hot and then lightly grease the griddle. Using a ladle use spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the top of the pancake is covered in bubbles. Flip the pancakes and cook for an additional 1 minute or 2. When cooked place the corn cakes on a cookie sheet and keep warm until the rest of the corn cakes are done. Serve hot with the berry sauce and extra berries. Serves 4 to 6

BLACKEBERRY CHICKEN

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut in half

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup of chopped onions

3 tablespoons of raspberry jelly

1/2 to 1 cup fresh blackberries

3 tablespoons of apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup whipping cream or non dairy substitute

In a skillet melt the butter or margarine and saute the chicken breasts on one side for about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and add the onion to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Add the jelly, blackberries, and vinegar to the pan and cook, scraping the bottom to remove the pieces that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes over a high heat to slightly reduce liquid. Reduce the heat, add the cream and whisk to combine. Place the chicken on a serving platter and pour the sauce over chicken and serve. Serves: 4.

BLACKBERRY LIMEADE

3 cups fresh blackberries

7 cups cold water

1 cup sugar

1 cup fresh lime juice

Ice,

In a blender, puree the blackberries with 1 cup of the water. Strain through a fine sieve. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 cup of the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes; let cool. In a pitcher, combine the blackberry puree with the sugar syrup, lime juice and the remaining 5 cups of cold water and refrigerate until chilled. Serve in tall glasses over ice. Makes 2 quarts

Note: you can use raspberries or blueberries in place of the blackberries

Modified from a recipe by Martha McGinnis

1 GLASS BLACK AND BLUE SANGRIA

5 blackberries

5 blueberries

1 oz Creme de Cassis (black currants liqueur)

1 glass semi sweet red wine

Crushed ice

Put the ice, blackberries and blueberries into a glass. Add in the Creme de Cassis and red wine.  Mix to combine and serve. Makes 1 glass. This can be doubled or quadrupled.

DELIGHTFULLY STRAWBERRY BUTTER CREAM

You have to use cooked or frozen strawberries for this recipe

8 oz frozen strawberries, defrosted

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups Crisco (10 ounces)

2 pounds of powdered sugar

*Optional 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Strawberry extract for more intense flavor.

In the bowl of an electric mixer mix the butter and the Crisco together until it is totally combines. While the mixer is on low slowly add in the powdered sugar, strawberries, and the extract until everything is combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using. If the frosting is too liquidly add more powdered sugar. Too stiff add more strawberries. Makes 2 1/2 cups. .

WATERMELON AND STRAWBERRY LIMEADE

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 pint fresh strawberries, pureed

3 cups watermelon, puréed

1 to 2 liters cold club soda

ice

6 to 10 sliced strawberries for garnish

In a sauce pan combine the sugar, lime zest and water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Strain the zest out and let cool for about 15 minutes. Pour the sugar water into a pitcher. Add the ice, lime juice, puréed strawberries, watermelon. Add the, club soda and mix to combine. Add the sliced strawberries and serve. Serves 8 to 12 depending on how much club soda you add.

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