Blueberry Banana Bread with Sugared Pecans

20160305_131608 (1600x1060)Yum!  This is the recipe we were going to make the other day but had to substitute raspberries for the blueberries.20160305_110638 (1600x1060)We colored the icing on the raspberry bread but left the icing plain on this one.  Mrs J vetoed a contrasting blue drizzle atop the white.20160305_131157 (1600x1060)

Friday Recipe Exchange: Sweet Tart

Blueberry Lemon Pie

Since lemons were on sale, I was planning on this recipe last week, but I never found time. This week I made time because I really wanted some lemony-blueberry goodness. It was very, very simple. Though I did manage to unnecessarily dirty quite a few dishes in the process.

The basis for the custard pie is my Key Lime Pie recipe, found here.

Key Lime Coconut Bars and Key Lime Gelato recipes are here and here.  I LOVE Key Lime.

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JeffreyW made Cabbage Rolls this week, pictured above – recipe, instructions and more photos are here

That’s it for this week. I’ve been busy with many new clients and switching everything over to a new computer. I’m really looking forward to a relaxing weekend. What’s on your plate this weekend. What’s cookin’ in your kitchen?

Tonight’s featured recipe, pictured at top, satisfied a craving for a sweet-tart dessert. Starting with my standard custard pie recipe and adding blueberry filling turned out to be just what I wanted.

Blueberry Lemon Pie

Blueberry filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups wild blueberries (I use frozen, thawed)
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar

saucepan

Add ingredients to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil and immediately reduce heat to low and let simmer until thickened. Stirring occasionally. Let cool completely.

Lemon pie:

  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust

 

Preheat oven to 250°

Combine milk & yolks with mixer until well blended. Add lemon juice and zest, mix well. Add enough blueberry filling to thinly coat the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the lemon mixture into pie shell – try to pour it in evenly, because you don’t want to spread it with a spatula and disturb the blueberries. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely and top with remaining blueberries. Refrigerate before serving, and any leftovers.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: A Little of This and a Little of That

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JeffreyW’s delicious blueberry bars

For tonight’s recipe exchange, I put together the recipes based on what’s been cooking in our kitchens this week.

Missing my fresh fruits, I make do with flash-frozen berries:

Love the full-on strawberry flavor in my Strawberry Bread (recipe here)

Blueberries, I could make stuff with blueberries everyday. Including JeffreyW’s Blueberry Bars (recipe and photos here) and his Lemon-Blueberry Bread (click here for photos and recipe)

My afternoon pick-me-up of late probably isn’t for everyone, but really works for me. Hit of energy and curbs my sweet cravings. I blend a pound of frozen strawberries, a pound of frozen blueberries and about a cup of frozen raspberries in my Vita-Mix, which creates a very smooth mixture (if you ignore the raspberry seeds) which unlike juicing, retains all the fiber. I add it and an equal amount of water to a big pitcher, mix well. I have a glass of this in the afternoon and a pitcher lasts a good two weeks in the refrigerator.  YMMV.

My pressure cooker has been getting a real work out lately.  A couple of meals to continue on the one-pot theme from last week:

In this Pressure Cooker Pot Roast (click here), I pushed the limits and began with a frozen roast, just to see what would happen. It turned out great and the booze made up for some of the flavors lost by not being able to brown the beef first.

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Seriously, don’t all JeffreyW’s meals look delicious? Above is his yummy pot roast and below is his Pork Mole

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Playing with his new Electric Pressure Cooker, JeffreyW tackles Pork Mole (click here) with much success.

I would have a Bixby update, but he’s been so crazy today, I haven’t had time to download the photos and video from our play date this week. Crazy-assed dog.

For tonight’s featured recipe, thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, these are a fun, elegant treat. I’m actually making them for a birthday get-together.

Pretty and tasty, they were inspired by a novel I was reading. If you want to read the full Food in Fiction post, click here.

Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcakes

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Moist Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup chopped raspberries

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dry cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Grease and flour muffin tins. Cream together oil, butter and sugar. Mix in remaining moist ingredients, one at a time, until well mixed. Sift together dry ingredients. Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture and beat for 2 minutes at high-speed. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they bounce back when pressed lightly.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz heavy cream

Double boiler (I use a metal bowl over a saucepan with about an 1 inch of water)

Place chocolate and cream in top of boiler, bring water in bottom half to a boil, reduce heat to med-high and let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, remove from heat and stir until cream and chocolate are completely mixed. Let cool and dollop over cooled cupcakes

Raspberry Sauce:

  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

saucepan

Puree raspberries until smooth, add raspberries and sugar to saucepan and heat to a low boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until thickened, remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let cool and spoon over frosted cupcakes.

Note:  For a layer cake, take 1/2 of the ganache, let it cool, mix with 1 cup crushed raspberries and spread between layers.  Keep the other 1/2 of the ganache warm and pour over cake to make a beautiful and smooth coating.  Serve with warm raspberry sauce.

That’s it for this week. Have a fun and safe weekend and say a little prayer for tornado damaged area of Florida, as they are expecting more rain and stormy weather. If you didn’t see it, here is my brother’s house, or what’s left of it. – TaMara

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Blueberry Bars

DSC_0829 (1600x1060)We spend more time than I’d like to admit just looking at Google images of prepared foods.  It’s a good way to discover recipes and to learn how other people arrange things for useful ideas on food photography.  That’s how we came across this recipe for blueberry bars. We did question the addition of basil in the recipe and so we did a search.  It’s really a thing – who knew!  We didn’t have any peaches so we went straight blueberry.DSC_0814 (1600x1060)It’s easy to make creme fraiche at home!  I started this one the other day when we decided to go with this recipe, it has a pint of heavy cream and one of those little cups of plain Greek yogurt along with the seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean.  It set out overnight so the magic could work, I let it go 24 hours at room temp before refrigerating.  This is good stuff all by its own self!DSC_0815 (1600x1060)Here it is sans the crumb topping, the bottom layer is as much like a cookie as anything, it was made with half sugar and half sweetener.  Mrs J subbed Splenda for all the sugar in the filling, but she did go with real brown sugar on top so it would brown.DSC_0826 (1600x1060)Fresh from the oven!  We set this into the big freezer so it would firm up nicely for cutting into individual bars.  An hour or two and it was good to go.  I feared it might stick to the pan but it came out easily, be sure to remember to butter the pan!

Friday Recipe Exchange: Ice Cream and Gelato Treats

Key Lime Pie2

I’m swamped with work, trying to catch up after a week away, so tonight in true summer fashion, we’re going to have a repeat. But it’s a delicious repeat. Last year, friends lent me their Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker to test drive, so I spent a week making various frozen treats, testing them on all the neighbors (I was very popular that week) and posted the results. This summer I bought my own Cuisinart, so I thought it was time to pull out the recipes and make some ice cream and gelato. After all, it’s just been too hot to cook. Perfect time for frozen treats.

While Gelato is by far my favorite, I played no favorites and included ice cream and sorbet in the selection. These recipes all make between 1 and 1-1/2 quarts.  Here’s the lineup:

Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream (recipes here)

Blueberry Sorbet (recipe here)

Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato (recipe here)

What’s your recipe for fun this weekend? What delicious things are you cooking up for this final weekend of July (oh, how can that be)?

Now for the recipe that started the whole thing, the reason I borrowed my friends’ ice cream maker. A while back I was searching for gelato recipes and came across one for Key Lime Pie. It sounded awesome. I tucked it away, planning to try it someday. Someday finally came and I put my own twist on it:

Key Lime Pie Gelato

  • Gelato Plain Base (recipe below)
  • 1 graham cracker crust, broken into pieces and frozen (recipe below)
  • 3 tbsps fresh lime juice, preferably Key lime*
  • 2 tsp grated lime zest

Make the Gelato Plain Base and chill as directed. Make the graham cracker crust as directed and freeze.

To make Key Lime Gelato: Gently whisk the limejuice and zest into the base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just after churning quickly stir in the graham cracker crust pieces, reserving some for garnish. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

*after you mix in the lime and zest, give it a taste and add more limejuice as desired. If you’re prefer it a bit more tangy, you can add up to 2 more tbsp without worrying about consistency.

Graham Cracker Crust

Note: You can substitute graham cracker pieces if you don’t want to make an actual crust. I just like the buttery flavor and texture of the actual crust in the gelato.

For the graham cracker crust: Mix 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 cups graham cracker crumbs together. Press firmly onto the bottom of a well buttered 8×8 glass baking dish and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool and remove from the baking dish, break into bite-size pieces and freeze in a covered container.

This recipe is the base for most gelatos, it’s also good frozen by itself:

Gelato di Crema (Gelato Plain Base)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup sugar

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper* the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil.

*The best way to temper is to add a tablespoon at a time until you’ve added about 1/4 cup. Then you can add a full ladle at a time, slowly.

One final note. If you’re wondering what the difference is between Gelato, Sorbet and Ice Cream, click here for a pretty good explanation.

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Buttermilk Pie, A July 4th Favorite

Buttermilk Pie 1

This has become a 4th of July favorite.

Fourth of July Buttermilk Pie Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (half a stick)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust
  • 1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream
  • 8- 15 strawberries, halved
  • A handful of blueberries (opt)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the sugar and lemon zest until well combined. Beat in the flour and melted butter. Beat in the vanilla and buttermilk.

Pour filling batter into an graham pie shell. Bake at 325°F for approximately 50 minutes, or until the center of the custard has just set (can still be a little wiggly). Remove from oven and let cool. The custard may puff up a bit in the oven; it will deflate as it cools.

Whip the chilled cream until it holds stiff peaks. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, spread the whipping cream over the top of the pie. Arrange the raspberries and blueberries in a decorative pattern on top of the whipping cream.
Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Makes 8 serving pieces.

Dinner Menu: Crepes

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I love crepes and friend of blog, Kirk Spencer just did a posting on them, reminding me that I had a pretty decent recipe, too. Check out his link, he has some nice filling ideas. For this menu, we’re sticking with fruit.

Do the idea of crepes scare you?! They did me until I decided to brave the waters for this recipe.  They are unbelievably easy.  The only difference between this and making pancakes is how you manipulate the pan.  Make sure after you’ve lightly greased the pan and heated it, you remove it from the heat before adding the batter.  Then you need to swirl the batter thinly around the pan and up the sides, until it sets.  Return to the heat to let it cook.  Immediately begin to loosen the top edges with a butter knife, so when it’s time to flip, it’s easy to do.  I found flipping it by hand easiest.  Gently loosen the edges completely and gingerly pick up by the edge and flip it over when the bottom is golden.  You may need to loosen the bottom with a spatula before flipping.  If you’re feeling daring…you can try flipping them.  Just remember, they don’t have to look perfect or be paper thin to work!

It looks like we’re going to have another bumpy, rainy, flash flood warning weekend. No grilling. I’ll have to make do with some Buttered Potato Pie and nice Pan-Seared Strip Steaks. And a reminder, there won’t be a recipe exchange this week, but I’ll find something fun for later in the weekend.  Until then….TaMara

On the board tonight: Kids Night Crepes Dinner

  1. Fruit Crepes
  2. Raw Vegetable tray w/dips
  3. Popcorn

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Fruit Crepes

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 oz sliced strawberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • powdered sugar

10-inch skillet with sloped sides or a crepe pan

2 bowls, plate, parchment or wax paper

Whisk together eggs, flour, milk, butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon.  Mix well and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare fruit.

In medium bowl, combine ¼ tsp cinnamon, berries, banana, kiwi, granola and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate

Crepes pan1

Lightly grease skillet and heat over medium heat.  Just before adding batter, remove from heat.  Add ½ cup of batter for each crepe.  Immediately after adding it, swirl pan until batter is spread completely around the pan and up the sides.  Return to heat and cook until golden on the bottom, flip and cook until other side is golden.  About 2 minutes each side, but watch carefully.  Remove to plate.  Repeat for each crepe.  Place parchment paper between crepes.

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To assemble, put ¼ fruit mixture in each crepe and roll up.  Top with garnish of powdered sugar. Makes 8 crepes.

Alternately you can prepare them on a griddle, using a ladle to spread the batter around into a 10” circle.

If this still sounds too difficult, you can always purchase pre-made crepes in your produce section, usually by the fresh berries.  Follow package instructions to heat.

 

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Easy As…Upside Down Cake

Slice of cake3This was better than I even imagined. I was craving something intensely blueberry and I had just made the Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday. I decided if it was good enough for pineapple, it was good enough for blueberries. And boy was it. I had to tweak the recipe a bit to complement the blueberry flavor, adding lemon to the mix and I reduced the flour down so the blueberries were not overwhelmed by cake.

Blueberry Upside Down2Blueberry-Lemon Upside Down Cake

  • 8 oz frozen wild blueberries (or enough to completely cover the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

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  • 1/3 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice + enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid.

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

 Melt 3 tbsp of butter and add to baking dish with sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Mix well.  Spread blueberries evenly over sugar and butter mixture.

In bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add lemon water and zest to batter, mixing well (it will be lumpy) and then pour over blueberries.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick test in the cake center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

ETA: click any photo to enlarge and uncompress.

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