Posts Tagged blueberry

Slow Cooker Blueberry Plum Butter

Canning in the summertime presents a funny conundrum.

On the one hand, this is the best time of year to preserve fruits and vegetables. We are in the peak of summer and farms and gardens are bursting with an amazing array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The fields are plentiful. My fridge and pantry are full of the goodness of summer. This is a wonderful time of year.

On the other hand, there is the issue of warm weather and the unbearable temperature of my kitchen. My kitchen is, by far, the hottest room in my house. So let me tell you,
the idea of firing up the ole canning pot on a hot August afternoon sounds ludicrous to me.
When it’s sweltering outside, I would rather not hang out with boiling pots of water and jam.

Thankfully, there is good news. There’s always the option of the slow cooker. Granted, you cannot actually can or preserve using a slow cooker. You must process jars in boiling water, which requires a large pot and a stovetop. There’s just no getting around it. However, you can make your jam or preserves in a slow cooker, which drastically cuts down the amount of stove time. This, in turn, drastically reduces the sweltering temperatures in my kitchen. And, for that, I’m thankful.

This recipe is incredibly simple and yet, it is so rewarding. The blueberry butter is smooth, luscious, and full of the flavors of summer. And through the simple act of canning, I can enjoy these summery flavors all year long.

Slow Cooker Blueberry Plum Butter

Ingredients

  • 10 cups fresh blueberries
  • 4 large black plums
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Wash and drain blueberries. Remove any stems, leaves, or debris. Cut the plums in quarters and remove the pits.
  2. Using a food processor, puree the blueberries and plums. Process until smooth. (You should end up with 8 cups or so of puree.)
  3. In a slow cooker, cook the fruit puree on high heat for one hour. After one hour, stir the butter and crack the lid for the remainder of the cooking time. (This allows steam & water to escape so the butter reduces and thickens!).
  4. Cook the butter on low heat for 6 (or more) hours. (Note: slow cookers do vary depending on size, brand, etc.) Stir the butter once an hour.
  5. In the final hour of cooking, add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir well. Turn the heat up to high and continue to cook with the lid slightly ajar.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare your canning jars and lids. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling in hot water for 10 (or more) minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until ready to use.
  7. Once the butter is thick and creamy (similar in thickness and texture to ketchup), it is ready for canning! (Note: I pureed my butter with an immersion blender at this point in the process, because I wanted it to be super smooth. I highly recommend it!)
  8. Remove jars from the canning pot and fill with butter. Wipe the rims with a clean, dry cloth. Seal jars with lids and rings and place back in the canning pot. Bring the water back to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the canning pot and place on a dry towel or rack to cool. After the jars have cooled, check to ensure that all jars sealed properly. If properly sealed, jars may be kept on the shelf or in your pantry for 6-12 months. (If they did not seal properly, the jars can be stored in the fridge and will keep for a week or two.)

Notes

Slightly adapted from Simple Bites

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Sparkling Blueberry Lavender Lemonade Cocktail (with DIY Blueberry Vodka)

Last week, I bought a rather large flat of local blueberries. Since then, I’ve been happily immersed in the wonderful world of blueberries. I canned blueberry plum butter. I froze a few bags of blueberries. I’ve been eating handfuls of blueberries with Greek yogurt and honey.

And, I made a few jars of blueberry vodka. Just because it seemed like a good thing to do.

Let me tell you, it was a great thing to do. Fruit vodkas are ridiculously easy to make and they don’t taste half bad, either. (No, really: Just soak some fruit in some vodka for a few days. Strain out fruit. Simple as that.)

This blueberry vodka is great with soda water or tonic, and is a great base for summer fruit, citrus, or herb cocktails. Give it a try!

Sparkling Bluberry Lavender Lemonade

Sparkling Blueberry Lavender Lemonade Cocktail (with DIY Blueberry Vodka)

Ingredients

  • For the lavender simple syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons dried culinary lavender
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • For the blueberry vodka:
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3-4 cups vodka
  • For the cocktail:
  • 1.5 ounces blueberry vodka
  • 2 teaspoons lavender simple syrup
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • Sparkling water, to taste
  • Blueberries, for garnish
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. To make the lavender simple syrup: Combine water, sugar, and lavender flowers in a small pot. Heat over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and stir, and let the syrup simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain out the lavender and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The simple syrup will keep for one week.
  2. To make the blueberry vodka: Place blueberries and vodka in a large jar or airtight container. Store at room temperature away from sunlight. Shake the jar a few times a day, and allow the vodka to infuse for at least 3 days. When the vodka has a distinct blueberry taste (and color), strain out the blueberries. Store the vodka in a sealed bottle or jar at room temperature.
  3. To make the cocktail: In a large glass (or cocktail shaker), mix together the simple syrup, blueberry vodka, and lemon juice. Taste, and adjust levels if needed. Fill a cocktail glass with ice and pour mixture over ice. Top with a splash of sparkling water and garnish with fresh blueberries. Enjoy responsibly!
  4. Makes one cocktail.
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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Blueberry Syrup

I spent this past weekend in a little cabin on the Umpqua river, cooking up a storm for the Juliet Zulu retreat. My lovely and talented friend Adriana joined me in this cooking adventure, and she was the best cooking partner I could ask for. We worked our tails off, but everything turned out beautifully. It was a blur of cooking, cleaning, laughter, sunshine, and s’mores.

I made these pancakes on the first morning of the retreat, and they were everything I hoped they would be. They were light and lemony, with just the right amount of moisture and density from the ricotta. The blueberry syrup was fresh and warm and was the perfect compliment to the pancakes. (This might be my new favorite breakfast.)

I can’t say this weekend was easy, but it was good. I’m thankful that Juliet Zulu trusted me to feed them for an entire weekend, and I’m extremely thankful that I had such a great cooking companion.

I couldn’t have done it without you, Adriana!

Photo by Natalie Bosteder

Photo by Natalie Bosteder

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Syrup

Serving Size: Makes 10-12 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • For the pancakes:
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • For the blueberry syrup:
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. To make the syrup:
  2. Combine the blueberries, 3/4 cup of sugar, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest in a small pot. Heat over med-low and stir to combine. Allow the blueberry mixture to come to a slow boil and reduce the heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for at least 15 minutes (until it reaches a syrupy consistency). Set aside until use. (Taste and add more sugar if needed.)
  3. To make the pancakes:
  4. If using somewhat watery or runny ricotta, strain the ricotta with cheesecloth (or a mesh strainer) for 30 minutes prior to using. (The ricotta I used was thick & dry, so I skipped this step.)
  5. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, sand salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest.
  6. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  7. Gently combine the dry ingredients with the ricotta mixture. Using a spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter and stir until the mixture is just combined.
  8. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat and brush the surface with butter. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour the batter into small circles on the hot griddle. When bubbles begin to form, flip the pancakes. (About 2-3 minutes per side). Adjust griddle heat if needed.
  9. Serve pancakes warm, with blueberry syrup.
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Recipe Swap: Ice Cream Sandwiches!

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since my last recipe swap post! They say time flies when you’re having fun and I’ve certainly been having a lot of fun this summer.

For those of you who may not know, I’m part of an ever-growing group of foodies from all over the world that participate in a monthly recipe swap. Christianna from (Burwell General Store) is the creator of the swap and every month she emails us with a vintage recipe (from a darling old cookbook called All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground) that she then asks us to reinterpret. We get a few weeks to dream and think up what we’ll make, and then everyone posts their creations on the first Sunday of every month.

This month, Christianna chose an old time recipe for Sorghum Molasses Cookies.

I was glad to see the original recipe was so classic and simple, but at the same time it offered a lot of possibilities for reinterpretation. I thought about making a ginger & molasses BBQ sauce. I thought about making a dark oatmeal and molasses bread. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all I wanted was to eat a really delicious molasses cookie. And then I realized I wanted to eat two delicious molasses cookies with ice cream stuffed in the middle.

Yep, that’s right. I made ice cream sandwiches. It’s August and I was asked to reinterpret a cookie recipe so I went with what my heart told me. In my humble opinion, there is no better summer dessert than the ice cream sandwich.

I will make a quick confession before I get to the recipe. I used store bought ice cream (gasp!). I don’t currently own an ice cream maker, so making homemade ice cream isn’t really a possibility. So, I bought ice cream from the store and dressed it up a bit. This past week, I inherited a bunch of amazing produce from my friends at Working Hands Farm, which included quite a few pints of blueberries. These blueberries were some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and it seemed like a no-brainer to include them in my recipe swap. So thank you, Working Hands Farm, for growing really delicious things and inspiring me to make particularly delicious ice cream sandwiches.

Happy August to all of you, and please do check out what the other lovely swappers have created this month!

Ice Cream Sandwiches: Ginger Molasses Cookies with Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream

Ginger Molasses Cookies
(Idea & recipe from Minimally Invasive, who adapted it from The Pioneer Woman)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup candied ginger, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Coarse grain sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) for rolling the dough in

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar, butter, molasses, vanilla, and egg together until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. All dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix together until a dough forms.

Roll cookie dough into walnut-sized balls (the dough should be very moist & sticky). Roll each ball in sugar to coat.

Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack.

Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool. Before you assemble your ice cream sandwiches, you’ll want to chill the cookies a bit. Put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before assembling to ensure that they are chilled.

Blueberry Compote (for the Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream)
1 cup blueberries, washed
1/2 cup sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or more, if you love ginger as I do)

Method:
Cook all ingredients together over medium heat, until blueberries begin to break down and form a sauce. Using a potato masher (or other such tool), mash blueberry mixture. Continue to heat, allowing the sauce to bubble and thicken until it reaches your desired consistency (15-20 minutes). Set aside and allow to cool before using. Can be refrigerated for at least a week (and tastes great on toast, pancakes, ice cream, etc, etc, etc).

Ice cream sandwiches:
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, be sure to let your ice cream thaw on the counter for a bit. Once the ice cream is soft enough to stir, stir in blueberry compote until a swirl look is achieved. For a 1/4 gallon of ice cream, I used about 4 tablespoons of compote. Remove the chilled cookies from the freezer, place a heaping dollop of blueberry swirl ice cream on top, and place another cookie on top of the ice cream. Eat and be happy. Additionally, you can wrap each ice cream sandwich tightly in aluminum foil and place in the freezer for later eating.