Monday, August 18, 2014

Blueberry Sauce

This year we went out picking blueberries twice.  Well, to be honest, I think we go out at least twice every year.  For the past 7 years we have made a big even of it.  We would pick berries and then head to the park near by and have a picnic.  There was a little splash area that the kids loved to play in.  Down the street there was even a place for the kids to ride a few kiddie rides.  It was all 25 cents a ride- run by volunteers.  You can read more about it here.

This year, however, my parents are both not feeling up to picking blueberries because of recent health concerns.  My husband could not go because he had to work.  So my kids, my brother and sister in law and I went there on a mission, strictly to pick blueberries.  They would be heading off with their pickings to TN.

My Mother was feeling a little better the following week so we headed back to pick berries.  I actually felt it was a little better the day my Mom and I went alone with the kids.  That was on August 1st.  All the fruits and vegetables were kind of late this year because it was a bit colder here. 

Since my daughter likes blueberry sauce on her pancakes, I made some blueberry syrup. I liked it and she liked it.  I just wish it has more blueberries in it.

Ball is my "go to" source for canned goods.  Though I do follow some others, they are my favorite.  Since everyone has been more into canning they have developed even more recipes to suit todays tastes.

Link to recipe

8 cups blueberries, crushed (about 3-1/2 lb)
6 cups water, divided
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

  1. COMBINE blueberries, 2 cups of the water and lemon zest in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.
  2. TRANSFER to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for at least 2 hours.
  3. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
  4. COMBINE sugar and remaining 4 cups water in a clean large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook until temperature reaches 230°F, adjusting for altitude. Add blueberry juice. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  5. LADLE hot Blueberry Syrup into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
  6. PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
 Pretty aren't they?


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Banana Bread with a Crumb Topping

Change nothing of this recipe- it is super delicious.My husband exclaimed, I think this is the best banana bread you ever made.  I was a tad bit insulted... But I will take the compliment on the other hand of that statement.

Is it the crumb topping.  I don't know.  I do think it adds a lot.  However, I don't think that is the only reason why it stands out from the others I made.  Honestly I think it is the amount of eggs.  This is really light, Its not dense and it has terrific flavor.
Banana Bread with a Crumb Topping

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 to 3 overripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a large loaf pan or two smaller ones.

Beat together the sugar and butter and beat until smooth and the butter is fluffy.  Add in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles

I figured I would get this post written because someone had my pickles last year and asked me this year what I put in them.  I didn't remember so I referred to another recipe and made it myself and it wasn't at all similar.  Then I had to think.  The following is pretty much what I probably did last year to make my pickles.  But honestly I have been known to change things up a bit like maybe put in some sugar or even throw in some juice from some store bought pickles that was leftover in the fridge.  I know, like real scientific being all exact, right? 

The only thing I changed this year is adding the mustard seed.  The jalapeño... last year I did some with and some without.

Refrigerator Pickles

2 quarts of water
1 cup white or cider vinegar
½ cup pickling salt
3 to 4 pounds of cucumbers - small pickling cucumbers are best
2 large heads of dill
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 jalapeno for a spicy pickle (seeds discarded, unless you like it real spicy then by all means throw them in there)

Boil water, vinegar and salt together.  While that is getting ready to boil, in a clean jar combine jalapeños, cucumbers, dill, garlic and mustard seed. Pour the boiling liquid over the cucumbers and all.  Cover, let sit on the counter at room temp for at least 24 hours and up to two days.  Refrigerate.  They will stay preserved for a while unless of course you eat them all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Zucchini Bake

I made this one day early in the day while it was still cooler. We ended up having something else for dinner.  I think some leftovers that needed to be eaten.  However, over the course of two days, bit by bit- breakfast or lunch, my family ate it.  My husband loved it.  He really does not know this but he has a thing for herbs de Provence.  Well, so do I but I know it.
I know people who read my blog will be asking why did I use Bisquick since I tend to make things from scratch.  Yes, I do try and make what I can from scratch, as time allows... My Mother had this of Bisquick and did not want to use it.  She is not feeling all that great and has no desire to bake.  She gave it to me.  I don't like to waste anything.  

Zucchini Bake

5 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup grated Peccorino Romano cheese or Parmesan
2 generous teaspoons herbs de Provence
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cups Bisquick
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini (a quarter inch or less if you can)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, cheese, herbs de Provence, salts,  and garlic powder. Whisk in the onion, and then the Bisquick. Stir in the sliced zucchini. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are kind of old fashioned aren't they?  I remember seeing a recipe for them in my Victoria magazine in the 80's.  I made them and brought them to work. They disappeared.  I dont think I have made them since then.  Geez, has it really been that long since I made them.  I guess so.

This old fashioned dessert pairs nicely with these pics that I am sharing with you.
We have the good fortune of living near the Genesee Valley Country Museum.  It is a Village.  It is filled with all sorts of amazing things.  This past weekend they had Laura Ingalls Wilder days.  That was my favorite show growing up.  I think of all the television shows that are out there or were out there- that one really shaped me. Here are a few pics from our day there.

A guy making pickles- little did he know I was about to make some the very next day.
This one here has sauer kraut on the left.  And it just so happens I chopped mine up today- its in the crock now- three huge heads.
 Freshly churned butter mixed with herbs.  A must do for me.
 The oxen- the one on the left has some attitude.
 Some seeds in an old seed package.
 Some St. Johns Wort and salve.

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 yolks

4 eggs
1½ cups white sugar
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
4-6 lemons, juiced (about ⅔ cup)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat butter and sugar together for a few minutes.  Add in yolks, beat until combined. Add in flour and beat just enough to combine.  If it is crumbly, no worries, just press into your 9 x 13 evenly.  Place in a 350F oven for about 15 to 30 minutes.  The crust should be lightly golden.

Pour the filling directly over the hot crust and place it back into the oven for 20 minutes.  Now, I know it is going to look way to jiggly to remove it after 20 minutes but it is done.  As it cools, it will set perfectly.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Kale Crust Pizza

For all of you people who might think this is one crazy recipe- its not- its amazing.  Yes, a lot of people are going kale crazy.  (Just so you know, I liked kale when kale wasn't cool.)  Now that kale is so cool, lots of kale recipes abound.  I saw this recipe and thought, that's kind of interesting but I highly doubt it's any good.  Maybe kinda good.  I like kale so I decided to give it a try.  OMG!

I really liked it.  My Mom, who is a bit skeptical about crazy recipes, liked it, my daughter liked it (see pic below), my husband liked it.  This recipe will definitely be made more than once in this house.  (Since I wrote this I have made it two more times.)

Try it.  You'll like it.  Really.

Kale Crust Pizza
These measurements are loose.  Meaning that you should make it as saucy, cheesey or garlicy as you like.  Its all up to you.  This is a rough guideline.

2 heads of kale (you should end up with 6 cups cooked kale)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Peccorino Romano or Parmesan or Asiago
a hand full of basil
2 cups tomato sauce or pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sauté garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare Kale
Cook kale until it is tender.  Drain water from kale and cool.  Squeeze the kale in batches to get rid of excess water.

In a bowl whisk eggs and stir in kale, garlic with the olive oil and Asiago.

Arrange in a thin layer on the parchment.  You dont have to get fussy about the shape but you do have to make sure there is not scraggly ends.  These will burn as you bake it.

Place in a preheated 350F oven until the edges are brown.

Remove from oven, spread tomato sauce over top.  Sprinkle with basil chiffonade.  Sprinkle cheese over top.  Return to oven and bake for 10 to fifteen minutes more.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blueberry Tart

We had our annual blueberry picking expedition last week.  And oh the blueberries were amazing.  I froze a good amount of them but definitely left some to eat by the handfuls and a dessert or two. This was a really delicious tart recipe that I found on Joy Of Baking- a great site.  This tart does not disappoint.  The middle layer - you can't really see it- is a baked blueberry filling that ends up tasting a lot like jam.  Once you bring this out of the oven you press the fresh blueberries into it. So you get a creamy middle with the taste of fresh berries in every bite. Brilliant!

Blueberry Tart
Longbotham, Lori. 'Luscious Berry Desserts'. Chronicle Books. San Francisco: 2006.
Recipe found here at Joy of Baking
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
2 tablespoon (25 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons ice water
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

Pastry: In your food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla. Then gradually pour in a steady stream, with the motor running, through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add water, if necessary. Do not process more than about 30 seconds.

Transfer the pastry to an 11 inch (28 cm) fluted tart pan, and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the blueberry topping.

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F (220 degree C).

In a large bowl combine the sugar and flour. Add 2 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and toss to coat. Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and evenly pour in the blueberries and sugar/flour mixture. Place the tart pan on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown (about 30 - 35 minutes). (Halfway through the baking time, stir the berries if there is any flour on them.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Top with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of blueberries (crown side up), pressing them gently into the hot blueberry jam. I like to make concentric circles with the blueberries, starting at the outside edge. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with softly whipped cream or ice cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes one - 11 inch (28 cm) tart.


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