Bananaberry Smoothie

SmoothieBananaBerry

Bananaberry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1/3 c. light coconut milk

2 T. fresh orange juice

1 medium size frozen banana, peeled and cut into slices (about 3/4 c.)

1 c. mixed fresh berries (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries)

fruit for garnish

Place coconut  milk, orange juice, banana and berries in blender and process until smooth. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with fruit. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

• A mix of red berries and dark berries produces the best color.

• This recipe makes a smoothie that is thin enough to drink. For a thicker smoothie, use frozen berries.

Gluten-free Cornish Hevva Cake

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I recently came across a recipe for Cornish Hevva cake on FrugalFeeding.com and thought that it looked delicious and also that it sounded like it had an interesting history behind it. I loved the image of the fisherman’s housewives starting to bake as soon as the lookout called that their husbands were returning home. So I made a mental note to give “the cake” a try sometime.

I made a gluten-free version which produces a sweet, crumbly biscuit. It reminded me of a very thin version of Scottish shortbread with dried fruit. It went very nicely with a glass of milk  – for my first piece, which I ate before it had any time to cool – and also with a cup of tea later on.

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Ingredients

1 1/3 c. (scant) gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated white sugar + extra for sprinkling

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

pinch salt

7 T. + 1 t. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8.5 oz dried blueberries

3 T. whole milk, approximately

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking sheet.

2. Whisk together flour, 1/4 c. of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

3. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients.

4. Mix in blueberries using a large spoon. Then slowly stir in milk until mixture forms a crumbly, stiff dough. (It holds together like a dough when pinched.)

5. Scrape sides of bowl and transfer the dough to the center of the greased baking sheet. Lightly pat into a disk, then roll out to just under 1/2-inch thick.

6. Using a paring knife, score the top of the dough to resemble a fishing net. Sprinkle with a little more sugar.

7. Bake cake for 25 t0 30 minutes or until there are no raw spots. (Because this is gluten-free, it doesn’t really get golden brown.)

HevvaCakeUnbaked

Notes

I made a few minor changes to Nick’s recipe on Frugal Feeding

• I substituted dried blueberries for currants, because I was out of currants.

• I substituted gluten-free flour (Glutino brand gluten-free all-purpose flour) for the plain flour, because I wanted a gluten-free version.

• Nick’s directions call for rolling the dough out on a floured surface, then transferring the dough to a greased baking sheet. I just rolled it out directly on the greased baking sheet. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to mix in any more flour since I had used a substitution and wasn’t sure how that would affect the recipe.

• I sprinkled the sugar on before baking because I thought that would work fine.

• I forgot to cut the pieces on the diagonal for serving. Old habits. I’ve made a mental note to correct that next time – but the biscuits were still delicious!

• I think that American cooks can probably go ahead and use the whole 8 T. of butter that come in a stick. I weighed ingredients to convert from metric measurements and the butter measure came to 7 T. plus 1 t. For my first time making the recipe I wanted to stick to the original measures. If using 8 whole tablespoons of butter, one could probably also use a full 1 1/3 cup of flour. I’ll try that next time.

Thanks for introducing me to Hevva Cake, Nick!

Bordeaux Cranberry Compote

For as long as I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I have been using the same delicious Cranberry Compote recipe. Obviously, I really, really like the recipe, otherwise I wouldn’t keeping making it. But I recently came across a recipe for Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce from Avery Cooks that inspired me to make a few simple changes to my old standby … just to try something new.  So, I substituted a Bordeaux for the water in my recipe and blueberries for one cup of the cranberries, and made a few minor changes. As I expected, the compote was different, but still delicious. The wine and blueberries added nice, but subtle, background flavor and created a darker colored compote. (For a more pronounced wine flavor, one could cut back some on the spices or on the cranberries which are both still pretty prominent flavors.) This dish is fairly chunky and I like to add fresh fruit right before serving because its crisp texture and flavor provide a pleasing contrast when paired with the sweet and tangy cranberry mixture.

CranberryCompoteBordeaux

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Ingredients

1 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. red Bordeaux wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or similar wine)

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 t. ground mace

1/2 c. dried cranberries

2 T. dried blueberries

1 c. frozen blueberries

2. c fresh cranberries (washed and picked over)

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

zest from 1 fragrant orange

Optional, 1 1/2 c. chopped fresh apples, pears and/or oranges.

Directions

1. Combine sugar, wine and spices in a 2-quart non-stick pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove cloves, allspice and cinnamon. (Count to make sure that you have all of them.)

2. Stir dried fruits into wine mixture. Allow dried fruits to simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in frozen blueberries. When the mixture returns to a simmer, stir in fresh cranberries.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped. Stir in walnuts and orange zest, then remove from heat.

3. Chill in a clean glass jar until serving. If desired, toss cranberry mixture with fresh apple, pear and/or orange chunks first right before serving.

Have fun getting ready for the holidays! I hope that you enjoy the recipe!

View my previous Thanksgiving-related posts:

Blood and Sand Cocktails

Black Tea Sangria (Mocktail)

Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter

Little Apple Manhattan Cocktails

Chocolate Bourbon Pots de Creme with Orange Bourbon Cherries

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

Preparing for Thanksgiving (Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes and the Original Cranberry Compote)

Blueberry Mint Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea Month … perfect timing for warm weather refreshment! Flavored iced teas are easy to make and a are a great way to add personal flair to this summertime beverage for entertaining.

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Blueberry Mint Iced Tea

8 c. cold water

6 bags of good black tea (decaf. ok)

3/4 c. loosely packed fresh mint leaves, washed

3/4 c. raw sugar

7 cups ice cubes

3 c. fresh blueberries (or mixture of blueberries and blackberries), washed and stemmed

Frozen blueberries and ice cubes for serving

Lemon slices for serving

Fresh mint for garnish

 

Directions

1. Bring water to boil in a 4-quart pot. Add tea bags, mint leaves and sugar. Cover pot and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Stir to make sure that sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Place 7 c. ice cubes into a 1-gallon pitcher. Strain tea into pitcher.

3. Place berries in a food processor and pulse until puréed. Press puree through sieve into tea. Stir until ice is completely dissolved and  purée is incorporated into the tea.

4. To serve, fill glasses with ice cubes, frozen blueberries and lemon slices. Pour tea over ice. Garnish with mint.

Enjoy!

More iced tea recipes …

Black Tea “Sangria recipe.

Iced Minted Orange Juice recipe.

Mint Simple Syrup recipe for adding to iced tea.

Plum & Blueberry Crumbles

I bought some amazing plums at Eastside Market over the weekend and so decided to make Plum & Blueberry Crumbles for breakfast yesterday. Yum!Plums

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Plum & Blueberry Crumbles

makes 4 servings

3 T. + 2 t. unsalted butter, divided

2 lg. ripe black plums, halved and pitted

1/2 c. blueberries

1/4 c. quick cooking rolled oats

1/4 c. all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour

3 T. coarsely chopped hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pecans

2 1/2 T. light brown sugar

3/4 t. Vietnamese cinnamon

1/4 t. ground aniseed

1/4 t. ground allspice

1/4 t. ground ginger

1/8 t. ground cardamom

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using 1 T. of the butter, grease 4 four-inch glass tartlet pans.

2. Cut each plum half into 6 slices. Arrange slices in bottom of pans. Sprinkle blueberries over plums.

3. In a small food processor, pulse together remaining ingredients until crumbly and sticking together. Sprinkle crumb mixture over fruit.

4. Place tartlet pans on baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Two Little Chefettes Monthly Cooking Challenge: Strawberries

Thank you to Bebe and Ridha from Two Little Chefettes for suggesting this month’s cooking challenge. My entry is a Strawberry Watermelon Soup with Blueberries swirled with Blueberry Honey Sauce. (These recipes are from my first cookbook A Taste of Morning after which I named this blog). I serve the soup as a fruit course for special occasions or as a light summer dessert paired with a sweet wine. It is easy to make and very refreshing.

Strawberry Watermelon Soup with Blueberries

Serves 4

Except for the sugar, use chilled ingredients.

3 c. sliced fresh strawberries

2 c. seedless watermelon chunks

1/2 c. fresh orange juice

1/3 c. granulated white sugar

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Blueberry Honey Sauce for garnish (recipe below)

Place strawberries, watermelon, orange juice, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until fruits are puréed. Divide blueberries between four dessert bowls. Top with soup.  Swirl 1 T. Blueberry Honey Sauce through each bowl of soup, being careful not to blend it in.

Blueberry Honey Sauce

2 c. frozen blueberries

1/4 c. cold water

1/3 c. honey

1 t. fresh lemon juice

In a medium non-stick pan, bring blueberries, water and honey to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until blueberries begin to pop. Stir in lemon juice. Push berries and liquid through a sieve to remove skins. Use right away or pour into a glass jar, cover and refrigerate. (Yields about 1 cup.)

Getting Ready for the 4th: Wild Blueberry Cupcakes

I have very fond memories of the 4th of July from growing up. Every year the town – think very small town, here – would have a parade, followed by a variety show on the town beach, then fireworks over the lake. It was really something to look forward to. Even though I now live 1,800 miles from where I grew up, I still try to make the holiday special.

Wild Blueberry Cupcakes

makes 24

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (stir before measuring)

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 c. granulated white sugar

4 lg. eggs

1 1/2 t. lemon extract

1 c. whole milk

3/4 c. dried wild blueberries*

* If the blueberries seem hard, then place them in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over berries. Cover bowl with a plate. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain well. Liquid can be reserved for another use.

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with muffin papers or foils.

(2) Place flour in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder and salt. Set aside.

(3) Beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and then lemon extract. Scrape down sides as needed.

(4) Gradually beat 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, then the remaining 1/3 of the flour into butter mixture.  Fold in berries.

(5) Carefully scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Once done, place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups and allow to cool completely before frosting. Decorate with your favorite lemon, almond, vanilla or cream cheese frosting recipe or with Nicole’s 2-Step Buttercream.

Nicole’s 2-Step Buttercream

requires a large food processor and a stand mixer

1 lb. unsalted butter, completely softened

5 c. confectioner’s sugar

3 c. heavy whipping cream

2 t. vanilla extract

1 t. almond extract

(1) Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a large food processor. Start to combine. While food processor is running, add cream and extracts. Process until completely smooth. You may need to pause your food processor now and then.

(2) Once completely smooth, transfer to a large stand mixer and beat until fluffy and white.

Thanks, Nicole, for letting me share your recipe!