Saturday, November 30, 2013

 

Blueberry-Coconut Cream Cheese Schmear




So, a few weeks ago, I found myself at a glamorous shin-dig being sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. One of my favorite people of all time, Ms. Erika (a woman I can say has showed me more kindness than I deserve and I will forever adore her for it) of In Erika's Kitchen, designed and cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal that included blueberries in every course. Needless to say, the food was divine, inspired and just plain delicious. 

I was coming from work that day and therefore a bit late. I tried my best not to be disruptive as I sneaked in. I eased myself in to a chair and found myself sitting next to three incredible blogger gals and interestingly, the two representatives from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I like nothing more than having the experts at my elbow and these handsome gentlemen knew their stuff. I asked a zillion questions and they cheerfully indulged me with smart, witty and informative answers. (Go to their site any time. You'll see. Those people aren't just advocating eating blueberries, they are in the know and thrilled you might be as excited as they are.) 

As an avid gardener, consumer and freakishly obsessed blueberry lover, it was heaven. It was then they told me they were asking bloggers to post original recipes using blueberries. It was a no-brainer for me. I had to join in. (And yes, there is a cash prize at stake. What fun, right? Right!)

So, the next few posts include my recipes featuring blueberries, or as anyone in the know calls them Little Blue Dynamos. Super fruit, super delicious. I hope you like all of them. I really, really, really LOVED creating (and yes, eating them), and hope you do too. 




And now...a fun story...when I was in school, my boyfriend bought us a pet iguana that we named Jethro. Turns out that sweet little lizard (who would RUSH across the room to snatch blueberries out of my hand) was a picky eater. His scaly self lived on a diet of mesculun, tofu and blueberries. As a college student on a budget, I loved that I could justify buying quarts and quarts of those dusky blue gems under the auspices I was feeding them to my sweet green pet. Of course he only indulged in two or three a day, but me, I downed them like candy. Still do. Don't you? Yea...you do.

That shared, it's time for an intro to our recipe:

Oy, I do love a good bagel.  I came up with this to top it all off. It's sexy and fun and woweewow. You're gonna love it. Try it my peaches, and enjoy. xoxo


Serves 4 – 6

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup blueberries, slightly mashed
¼ cup sweetened coconut flake

Combine all. Let rest 10 minutes for flavors to meld. Serve on plain bagels, or use as a base for your favorite cheesecake recipe.


Keeps, refrigerated for up to 4 days.

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This recipe was created as part of my tribute to blueberries, and as an entry in the "Blueberries Meet Their Match" contest, sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Check them out, here. I wonder if they would like my slogan ... "Blueberries, better than the best."  #littlebluedynamos

Follow me on twitter @chickswknives

© 2013 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" http://www.freshcatering.blogspot.com


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Blueberry and Corn Salsa with Grilled Chicken




Okay, kids. You wanna jazz up dinner? You want salsa but with a bit of showmanship and some free-radical love (hate? Free radicals confuse me. I just know the blueberries in this dish fight them. Ward them off? Whichever is best. That's what blueberries do. They fight the good fight without you even knowing it.)? You want to impress your friends and family? Look no further.

This is gonna rock your world and leave you wanting more. (We made 4 cups worth tonight. It's gone. Need I say more?) Drench some chicken with it. (Mom and Pops couldn't get enough.) Serve it with chips. (Bro macked it down.) Eat it right from the pan. (Guilty as charged.) Or...try it over Momofuku style corn-flake infused ice-cream. You might think it sounds strange, but it's so good, your head might explode. 

So, I urge you to try this my peaches, and enjoy. xoxo

Serves 4 – 6

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup red pepper, diced
¼ cup corn kernels
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
½ tablespoon white sugar
Coarse ground black pepper, to taste


In a small sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers and corn and sauté until translucent, stirring often. Will take about 4 minutes. Add the blueberries, white balsamic vinegar* and sugar. Stir to combine. Taste and add more sugar as needed. Finish with black pepper. 

Serve with grilled chicken, or as a salsa with chips. For the photo, I pan seared a chicken breast and topped it with the salsa. Gotta say, of the myriad dishes I made with blueberries tonight, this was one of the top contenders. Wow is it tasty.

*white balsamic vinegar is available in most grocery stores, or online. White balsamic blends white grape must with white wine vinegar and is cooked at a low temperature to avoid any darkening. You can always subsitute dark balsamic if needed. 

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This recipe was created as part of my tribute to blueberries, and as an entry in the "Blueberries Meet Their Match" contest, sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Check them out, here. I wonder if they would like my slogan ... "Everyone knows blueberries are the most super-cool of the super fruits." 

Follow me on twitter @chickswknives

© 2013 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" http://www.freshcatering.blogspot.com

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Blueberry Aigre-Doux with Pork Chops

Sweet and Sour Blueberries with Pork Chops


Aigre-Doux means sweet and sour, which is exactly what this is. Or maybe more. Dunno. Do know it's versatile and easy to love. It's a staple in this house. 

Try it my peaches, and enjoy. XOXO


Serves 4 – 6

½ onion, minced
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced rosemary
Black pepper to taste

In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients. Let simmer gently until the blueberries are soft and the liquid has reduced slightly (it should thicken up a bit.) Remove from the heat, taste and add more sugar or vinegar as needed. Add black pepper to taste. 

Serve with grilled or pan-seared pork chops, or on a cheese platter. It pairs especially well with cheddar cheese. You might also use it in a grilled cheese sandwich. Don't be shy!



Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 

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This recipe was created as part of my tribute to blueberries, and as an entry in the "Blueberries Meet Their Match" contest, sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Check them out, here. I wonder if they would like my slogan ... "Blueberries, the little blue dynamos that rock your mouth, and help your health." 

Follow me on twitter @chickswknives

© 2013 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" http://www.freshcatering.blogspot.com

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Blueberry Barbecue Sauce Glazed Ribs





Um...this is an amazing, incredible, mouth watering recipe. It's got pop, pow and pizzazz. It's super tangy and pairs perfectly with rich meat (such as the ribs in the picture, or over a brisket. That would be supreme.). As a food blogger, I always hope wish and pray the pictures really convey how good a recipe is, because this blueberry bbq sauce deserves to be recreated by you, your friends and everyone out there. It's bomb.com. Try it my peaches, and see. XOXO


Makes 2 cups

1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, rough chop
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Pinch each of pepper, allspice and cloves
1 tablespoon molasses
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced fine
Salt as needed


In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil. When softened, add the mustard, horseradish, blueberries, spices, molasses, brown sugar and rosemary.

Let simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be thick and tangy when ready.

Taste and add salt as needed. 

Use as a glaze on beef short ribs, pork or chicken. 



***

For the ribs in the picture, I seasoned the ribs with salt and pepper, then grilled them for 30 minutes. Added a thick layer of the sauce and then put them under the broiler for 5 minutes. Served with more sauce on the side.


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This recipe was created as part of my tribute to blueberries, and as an entry in the "Blueberries Meet Their Match" contest, sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Check them out, here. I wonder if they would like my slogan ... "Blueberries love you, too." 

Follow me on twitter @chickswknives

© 2013 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" http://www.freshcatering.blogspot.com

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Blueberry-Coconut Bread Pudding




Bread pudding is the best. It's cozy and warming and lovely altogether. But have you gone the extra mile and tried adding blueberries? Seriously, yum. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use fresh, frozen OR freeze-dried #littlebluedynamos (aka, blueberries) and it will still taste fab. Heck, you might even dish it up with a side of fresh jam. Try it my peaches, and enjoy.

5 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup white sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
1 loaf sliced white bread, toasted or day old
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons butter

Preheat your oven to 350F. Butter an 8x8 square baking dish and set aside

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, coconut, sugar and nutmeg. Tear up the stale (or toasted) bread and add. Combine gently, so the bread absorbs the milk mixture.

Let that rest for up to 30 minutes.

Layer half the bread in to the prepared dish. On top of that, add a nice thick layer of the blueberries, reserving a few for the topping. Add the rest of the bread and top that with the remaining blueberries. Dot with some butter, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes, or until the top is browned.

Let cool slightly, slice and serve with additional blueberries, whipped cream or (blueberry!) ice cream.

Will keep 3 days in the refrigerator, or 6 weeks, if frozen. Can be served room temperature, hot or cold.

Serves 6.



So, you can also try this with NO sugar, or different types of bread. It's very forgiving, so have fun with it! Add some lemon zest! Top it with cinnamon. The possibilities are endless. 

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This recipe was created as part of my tribute to blueberries, and as an entry in the "Blueberries Meet Their Match" contest, sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Check them out, here. I wonder if they would like my slogan ... "We're blueberries and we're awesome." 

Follow me on twitter @chickswknives

© 2013 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" http://www.freshcatering.blogspot.com

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