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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

Just Five: Blueberry Rum Slush

Thursday, May 11th, 2017



I recently painted myself into a corner. While preparing to teach a cooking class, I added a Blueberry Rum Cocktail to the menu. I hadn’t actually developed the drink yet, but it sounded like something easy to create in five ingredients. And then, well, I forgot about it.

A few weeks before the class, I rushed to create a tasty cocktail. Blueberries. Rum. Three more things – go! I spent a Friday evening, muddling, crushing and pureeing fresh blueberries to get the most out of them. I mixed them with light and dark rum, citrus, lavender, Chambord, soda water, ginger ale, ginger beer… Nothing wowed. The rum overpowered the delicate blueberries. To bring out their intense flavor, they really need to be cooked.

It was time to try something else – blueberry juice. There are a few different blueberry juice blends, but I found a bottle of pure juice (R.W. Knudsen Just Blueberry Juice) at my local grocery, and it packed the blueberry punch I was after. Creme de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, gives the drink a little boost, and throwing everything into the blender makes a refreshing, not overly sweet seasonal cocktail.

This recipe took years off of my life and made me question my skills, but I can proudly say that this is a fine drink, my friends. And be careful: they go down easy!


Blueberry Rum Slush
4 servings

2 cups ice
2 cups blueberry juice
12 oz. ginger ale
1 cup white rum
½ cup creme de cassis
4 sprigs fresh rosemary to garnish

• Place the ice, blueberry juice, ginger ale, rum and creme de cassis in a blender and blitz until frothy. Pour into 4 large serving glasses.
• Slap the fresh rosemary between your palms to release the oils. Garnish each drink with a rosemary sprig and serve with a straw.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

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Baked: Summer Berry Cake

Thursday, June 11th, 2015




This irresistible berry cake is the epitome of summer desserts. I intended to write a blog post about it a few years ago, but it was devoured at a Fourth of July party before I could get a photo. When I found some wonderfully fresh berries at the farmers market last weekend, I was inspired to make it again.

The berry-studded cake can be served without frosting as a simple snack for an everyday treat. It works for any occasion, using in whatever fresh (or even frozen) fruit is available. For special occasions, I stack three of these beautiful cakes and seal them together with a smooth, brown sugar-cream cheese frosting. The cake is best eaten within a couple of days, but that’s never been a problem for us. Enjoy and happy baking!


Summer Berry Cake
Makes 1 9-inch cake
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened, plus more for greasing
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. lemon zest
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups buttermilk
1 cup chopped strawberries, plus more for garnish
1 cup raspberries, plus more for garnish
1 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish
Brown Sugar Frosting (recipe follows)

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans and line each with parchment paper.
• In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub the lemon zest and the sugar together to release the oils. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well until incorporated.
• Reduce the speed to low and beat in one-third of flour mixture, then ½ cup buttermilk. Repeat until all the ingredients are just combined.
• Evenly divide the batter between the cake pans and smooth the tops. Scatter the strawberries evenly atop the first cake, the raspberries evenly atop the second cake, and the blueberries evenly atop the third cake.
• Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 20 minutes, then invert each cake onto a rack and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled.
• Place a 10-inch cardboard circle on a cake stand and place 1 chilled cake layer on the cardboard. Add a one-quarter of the frosting atop the cake and spread in an even layer with an offset spatula. Top with another cake layer and repeat. Add the final cake layer, top with the remaining frosting and spread evenly across the top and down the sides of the cake. Decorate with remaining berries and serve.


Brown Sugar Frosting

12 oz. cream cheese
1 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
Heavy pinch kosher salt
1¼ cup whipping cream

• Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy and there are no lumps remaining. With the mixer running, add the cream and beat until the mixture is firm and fluffy. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before frosting.



By the Book: The Art of Preserving’s Blueberry-Citrus Preserves

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I liked how in The Art of Preserving by Rick Field, Lisa Atwood and Rebecca Courchesne, there were the usual suspects of ingredients like strawberries for strawberry jam as well as some unexpected ingredients like kiwi, pomegranates and kumquats. The book offers ways in which to use the preserve: in crepes, as glazes or in baked goods like muffins. And most of the recipes don’t call for a ton of ingredients; they rely on the strength of flavor of seasonal produce, making them easy on the wallet.

In the August Issue of Sauce, we ran a story called Jam Session that was laden with pretty photos of preserves, including blueberry-lavender jam from Harvest chef-owner Nick Miller. It was lovely, almost black-looking with bright magenta hues where it was spread thin. Maybe that’s why I chose to make the blueberry-citrus preserves out of this book – or maybe it was because this recipe was so simple, I just couldn’t pass it up.

Now, I know it’s almost November and all … it’s probably not the best time to make blueberry preserves. However, I can always find those little gems and, with the help of some sugar and a lot of orange and lemon flavor, I thought it would be enough to brighten those berries up and make them shine. And they do. This preserve is sweet and citrusy with deep berry flavor.

Blueberry-Citrus Preserves
Makes 5 half-pint jars

2 oranges
2 cups (1 lb./500 g.) sugar
8 cups (2 lb./1 kg.) blueberries, stems removed
½ cup (4 fl. oz./125 mL) fresh lemon juice

Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

• Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 of the oranges in strips about 1 inch (2.4 centimeters) wide. Remove as much pith as possible from the strips, and then cut them crosswise into thin strips. Cut both oranges in half and squeeze enough juice to measure 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/ 250 mL).
• In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is bubbling.
• Add the blueberries, lemon juice and zest strips. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture should consist of whole berries floating in a dark, thick syrup.
• Using a slotted spoon, divide the hot berries among the jars. Ladle the syrup over the berries, covering them completely and leaving ¼ inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the head space, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.
• Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Weldon Owens. 

What’s your favorite memory of making jam? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Art of Preserving by Rick Field, Lisa Atwood and Rebecca Courchesne. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Colleen, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won him/her a copy of The Country Cook’s Kitchen. Colleen, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.


Drink This Weekend Edition: Drinking blueberries

Friday, June 1st, 2012

This month, we gave you eight great reasons to pick up a pint of blueberries. This superfruit packs loads of flavor into prepared dishes, but don’t miss out on its drink possibilities. Start with the recipe for blueberry syrup then work that sweet elixir into these cocktails we developed with the assistance of Eclipse bar manager Seth Wahlman. Below, you’ll find recipes using gin, tequila and vodka. (We prefer blueberries with white spirits.) Take your pick.

Blueberry Syrup
Makes 2 cups

1 cup water
2 cups Demerara sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups fresh blueberries

Combine the water and Demerara sugar in a medium-sized pot. Stir well. Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar, then the add lemon juice and blueberries. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down. Double strain into a clean jar, gently pushing the back of a spoon against the blueberries to release any additional juices.

Big Blue Aftermath
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

2 Tbsp. Demerara sugar, for rimming
Freshly ground cinnamon, for rimming
Freshly ground nutmeg, for rimming
1½ oz. Milagro silver tequila
½ oz. The Big O ginger liqueur
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
Juice of half a lemon

For rimming, combine 2 tablespoons of the Demerara sugar in a shallow bowl with a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Dip half the rim of a Collins glass into the sugar mixture and set aside. Next, pour the tequila, ginger liqueur, Cointreau, blueberry syrup and lemon juice into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into the Collins glass filled with fresh ice.

Sage Advice
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

1½ oz. St. George Botanivore gin
6 fresh blueberries
¾ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
¼ oz. lime juice
1 fresh sage leaf, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Muddle the gin and blueberries in a shaker. Add the blueberry syrup and lime juice. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sage leaf and a quarter turn of freshly ground black pepper.

Red, White & Blueberry
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

¼ Red Delicious apple
¼ oz. honey
1½ oz. Mastermind vodka
½ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
¼ oz. lemon juice
3 fresh blueberries, for garnish

Muddle the apple and honey in a shaker. Add the vodka, blueberry syrup and lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a skewer threaded with fresh blueberries.

Stocking Up on the many meals of blueberries

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

062911_blueberriesLast week at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market, we learned that blueberry season is pretty short in Missouri. According to the folks at Centennial Farms, they’re only around for a few weeks here in The Lou. So get moving, buy up all of the little anti-oxidant packed beauties that you can and use them round the clock.

For breakfast, bake them into muffins or toss them into lemon-ricotta pancakes (such as these) at the last minute. Closer to noon, you’ll be able to use blueberries in a chicken salad, sprinkle them on top of mixed greens or into a cool mixture of hearty grains like farro or quinoa. Add pecans to that last one for extra crunch.

When cocktail time rolls around, purée some berries and add them into a simple syrup. Top with a little (or a lot) of vodka and a splash of lemon juice. Later, pour a couple handfuls into a bottle of vodka and let it sit for a few days at room temperature, then pop it into the freezer – almost instant aquavit!

When the dinner bell rings, use the fruit as a natural companion to game meats, particularly duck. After sautéing the breasts, use the pan drippings as a base for a sauce enhanced with blueberries and port.

We couldn’t possibly forget desserts. Blueberries are a natural in tarts and pies, especially when paired with a little nutmeg and lemon. You can also use blueberries in crisps, crumbles, buckles, grunts, slumps and a host of other funny-sounding desserts.

As if their versatility weren’t enough to fall in love with them, blueberries are also a snap to store. After washing and drying them well, just spread the berries out into a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for a couple hours. Pour them into a freezer-safe bag and they’ll last for months, giving your baked goods a dose of summer flavor far into the fall.

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