The Saucy Scholar

Archive for the tag “blueberries”

Blueberry Bonanza

I finally finished my first qualifying exam last week! If you’ve noticed a dearth of posts, it’s partially because I was frantically typing away, and, if it weren’t for The Boyfriend making me coffee, tea, and TGIFridays Potato Skins every few hours, I probably would have forgotten to eat.

A trip out of the city was just what the Dr. ordered. We drove out to Mattituck, Long Island with some friends, and I had my very first berry-picking experience at Patty’s Berries and Bunches. It being late July, it was prime time for blueberries, and there were even some blackberries ripe for the picking. Of course, I couldn’t resist sampling a few of each as we went along. The blackberries were some of the sweetest I’ve had, and some of the blueberries were downright huge, not to mention juicy.

They were so good, in fact, that I picked extra so that I would have enough to make Blueberry Cobbler and Blueberry Muffins, neither of which I had attempted before, but how could you go wrong with fresh blueberries picked right from the bush?

Once we got home, I began an intense online recipe search, though I really should have looked no further than Mark Bittman’s book, How To Cook Everything. (By the way, if you are serious about learning to cook, you absolutely need this!) His recipes for both cobbler and muffins are classic and simple, and can be made with any and all kinds of fruit. Fortunately, he happened to post both of these recipes on his website, and so here they are for anyone who is interested in trying these out for themselves:

Blueberry Cobbler: 

I was especially pleased with the Blueberry Cobbler. The berries were tart and sweet, and went nicely with the buttery crust. (Jeff asked me what the “filling” was made of–ha! Just fresh fruit and some sugar, plain and simple.) A scoop of vanilla ice cream was the perfect finishing touch for this classic summer dessert. Definitely serve warm, or immediately after baking if possible.

Muffins, Infinite Ways (see his suggestion for Blueberry Muffins)

The muffins turned out well too, and, as you might predict, the fresh blueberries were the stars of that show too. These came out moist and a little hearty (probably on account of the substitution of cornmeal for some of the flour), making these muffins ideal for a light breakfast.

I still have some blueberries (and quite a few blackberries) left over, so I may try to make something else, but something tells me I might need to go back to Patty’s for a refill.

What’s your favorite blueberry treat? Feel free to sound off in the comments!

Happy summer, The Saucy Scholar

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Recipe: Plum & Blueberry Upside Down-Cake

One of the most valuable pieces of advice that I have for fellow novice cooks is this: Unless you are working in the sparkly, magical kitchens in cooking-show land, things will inevitably go wrong. Your eggs could go bad. You could run out of spices. You could mistake baking powder for baking soda, or vice versa. Or, you could use a springform pan instead of a regular cake pan, almost set your apartment on fire, stub your toe, and scare your cat into hiding for three days.

That’s what happened the first time I tried to make this Plum & Blueberry, Upside-Down Cake from the September 2011 issue of Everyday Food. It smelled so good while it was baking–until the kitchen filled up with smoke. Watching the cake literally deflate after being rescued from the gaping maw that was my oven made me even more determined to try this recipe again–with the right cake pan. A good 8 inch cake pan that is also 2 inches deep is hard to find, but it is absolutely worth it. (You can also use them to make layer cakes!) Anyway, I was a bit more successful the second time around:

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Click here for the original recipe and the full list of ingredients–below is my shortened version, including photos:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line the bottom of your buttered 8 BY 2 INCH CAKE PAN (figure I couldn’t emphasize it enough!) with parchment paper. Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter into the pan, and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of packed, light brown sugar over the butter. Finally, add the plum slices, and use the blueberries to fill in the gaps–I may have overdone it with the blueberries myself, but the top came out tart and sweet, almost like an old fashioned jam.

Transfer your batter (butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg whites, orange zest, flour, poppy seeds [I omitted these], baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk [I found reduced fat in my supermarket!], vanilla extract) to the cake pan. Smooth the top and make sure there are no air bubbles. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and passes the toothpick test. Watch this one like a hawk–burned fruit is not a good look, trust me.

Wait until after it cools to invert, and then serve warm or at room temperature.

And that’s all there is to it!

–Stay cool and eat your fruit, The Saucy Scholar

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