despite my recent love affair with wild blueberries, i don't think the kids or i are planning on giving up cultivated blueberries or raspberries any time soon.
my daughter can eat an entire $5 pack of raspberries in one sitting if allowed. of course, mandatorily placing them on her tiny freshly 2-year old fingertips prior to eating each one. because we are wired at birth to know that's how raspberries are to be eaten.
recently i spotted this martha cake. maybe it was the berries. or the cornmeal. or the cake part. maybe i am trying to hang on to summer with all my might. who knows. but it grabbed my attention and didn't let go. (of course i changed it around a bit.)
it does taste like summer. and a great way to use some of those extra fresh summer berries.
winter will be here soon enough.
Cornmeal Almond Berry Sheet Cake
140 grams (1 cup) cornmeal
140 grams (1 cup) almond meal
2 tablespoons golden flaxmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 pound blueberries and raspberries
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
garnish: extra berries, honey
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang the sides of pan and spray with cooking spray.
Combine cornmeal, almond meal, flaxmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream together butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Stir in vanilla paste. Add half of cornmeal mixture and stir well. Stir in half of buttermilk. Add remainder of cornmeal and buttermilk; mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Sprinkle berries evenly over the top of batter. Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown.
Cool completely. Remove parchment with overhangs and cut cake into pieces. Top with berries and honey, if desired.
Yield: 9-12 servings.
there's something about the bright hit of that citrus that i love. lemon squares (have you tried these? holy moses, they are good.) lemon meringue. lemon pancakes (stay tuned for those). lemonades. even loads of lemon water.
truth be told, i'm not a zucchini lover. it's okay and all as a side dish, but definitely not a favorite. however, i had an extra zucch in the fridge though after making these zucchini-chocolate chip oat balls last week, so i was even more thrilled to be conscientious enough to not put it to waste.
this pretty quickbread was super easy and wonderfully lemon-y! i couldn't help myself... i bumped up the lemon quotient just slightly from the original. i hope you enjoy, kristie... :)
and you, too, dear reader. if there's a certain recipe calling your name that needs a little gluten-free facelift, please feel free to let me know. you might hit me at just the right time, too!
1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed dry between paper towels
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated rind of organic lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour, flaxmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, lemon rind, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl; stir well with a wire whisk to combine. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir well with a wire whisk to combine.
Pour mixture into a 9-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to rack and cool completely.
Stir together powdered sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice. Spread over cooled loaf. Yield: 1 (9-inch) loaf.
this was my first, ever time in maine. and what a time and place to go. it was so lovely... and the wbana folks pulled out all of the stops to house us in the lovely bar harbor inn and take us to the very best restaurants (proven by the fact that martha stewart herself coincidentally arrived and ate dinner next to us not once, but both nights out... and martha only goes to the best, we know.) we also had the very best in wild blueberry researchers to lead and teach us as we learned about this amazing berry.
wild blueberries are very different from their cultivated blueberry cousins. cultivated (tame?) blueberries are the larger berries we typically find in the produce section of our grocery stores. they are grown all over the country on high-bush plants. wild blueberries come from a low-bush plant, whose stems grow below the ground. they are quite particular about the kind of soil they thrive in, which makes them harder to grow just anywhere. not to mention 75% of the plant is grown underground, so it takes years to have a large, healthy crop of wild blueberries.
maine is the home to 60,000 acres of naturally growing wild blueberries. these tiny, brave berries love the rocky, acidic soil left behind after the glaciers of the ice age melted away and have been growing here for over 10,000 years! the low bush plants are perfect for the climate, too, because as the snow falls in maine the plants are insulated by the few feet of snow and take cues from the changing temperatures for ideal growth.
over the years, the berries have produced several million variations that all grow together within the same field. each variation of plants produce berries with different colors, sizes and flavors. because they are all harvested together, no handful or bite of wild blueberries is ever the same!
we had the privilege of visiting several barrens and processing facilities, seeing how the berries are harvested by both hand rakes and machine harvesters, and how they were miraculously cleaned and frozen within 48 hours of being picked! because of their tender skins, fresh blueberries are mostly only available to the very lucky ones who live locally near the barrens. the vast majority of these healthy berries are frozen to make them available to everyone. yet, freezing is "nature's pause button" which means they're just as healthy when you pull them from your freezer as when they were frozen 24-48 hours after being picked, maybe even more-so!?
we've all heard about antioxidants and their importance in protecting us from diseases and age-related health risks. here's where wild blueberries blow all of their fruit counterparts out of the water. they have twice the antioxidants as cultivated blueberries, and even more than the esteemed cranberry! growing research shows that wild blueberries may be beneficial in fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and alzheimer's disease.
the one that caught my attention most was the research showing wild blueberries to be beneficial in gut health, acting as a prebiotic to promote good gut bacteria and improving overall gut health. that's certainly of enormous value when healing your gut from the damages of gluten, whether celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitive. and because overall health starts in the gut, it is in everyone's best interest to maintain the healthiest gastrointestinal environment we can!
as a result of the harsh, distinct climates, these little brave berries produce a higher concentration of anthocyanins, the pigments that give the berries their dark color and the source of their antioxidant power, which we benefit from as well when we eat them. clearly, this berry is a special one. quoting a colleague, dr. david yarborough said these wild blueberries are "stressed for success!"
this trip was also a welcomed escape from mommy responsibilities, and i couldn't have picked a more interesting spot to visit or more incredible people to share it with. and i would be completely remiss if i didn't send a shout of thanks to my mother-in-law for standing in the gap for me with the kiddos. an emergency appendectomy only 4 days before coming to watch my kids didn't keep her from helping make this trip happen! yes, indeed... mother-in-law of the year, for sure!
Wild Blueberry & Caramel Galettes
70 grams (about 1/2 cup) superfine brown rice flour
70 grams (about 1/2 cup) millet flour
18 grams (about 1/4 cup) unflavored whey protein
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4-1/3 cup ice cold water
4 cups frozen wild blueberries, unthawed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
rind of 1 organic lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
gluten-free caramel topping
Mix flour and salt in the container of a food processor. Add butter;
pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually blend in enough ice
water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into a ball. Flatten into a disc, a about 5-inches wide and 3-inches thick. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Remove dough from fridge. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine wild blueberries and next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll one piece of dough to a
7-inch circle between two pieces of parchment paper. Carefully peel off
parchment and place dough circle on parchment on baking sheet. Place 1/4 of wild blueberry mixture in center of dough circle, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of
dough inward toward center, pressing gently to seal; pinch together any cracks
in dough. Dough will only partially cover wild blueberries. Repeat with remaining dough
and wild blueberries.
Brush dough with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with
Place pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°. Bake at 425` for 20 minutes or until pastry is cooked and
lightly browned, placing a pan on the rack under baking sheet of galettes. Oozing berries is expected! Drizzle galettes with caramel topping. Yield: 4 mini-galettes.
about now is when i join the chorus singing "i can't believe it's time for school to start!"
really, though, i can't. school ended late here. i've never known independence day to follow so quickly after the end of school parties wrapped up. the up-side is we are still celebrating summer vacation here. but not much longer.
my big boy will be in 1st grade. his preschool and kindergarten years were spent in two schools each. that's four schools in two years. suffice it to say, i'm so grateful he'll be spending the whole entire year in the same school, and the one he spent the last half of his kindergarten year. hallelujah for familiar halls, familiar faces, and good friends as the year starts. he is an incredibly brave little trooper, but i know that not being the new kid (again and again and again) will help tremendously with those first days of the year.
it's also time now for this month's recipe redux challenge. because those ladies in charge are all mommas themselves, they know well the challenges of healthy breakfast and lunch options for kiddos headed to school. they have, therefore, challenged us to come up with a healthy small bite. something easy to pack away in a brown bag or carry easily in a lunch box.
truth be told, i've been eating these for breakfast. the oats provide a healthy dose of fiber. the almond butter adds stick-to-your-ribs protein. naturally sweetened with honey and a hit of omega-3 fats from the flaxmeal. zucchini... who can't use a bit of veggies in the morning. and a few chocolate chips, because why not.
whether you're popping them in the cooler bag for lunch or grabbing a couple on the way out the door, you may want to make a few batches to have on hand!
Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Oat Balls
1/2 cup packed shredded zucchini (about 1/2 a zucchini)
1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
3 tablespoons golden flaxmeal
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup semi-sweet mini-chips
Squeeze zucchini in several layers of paper towels until very dry.
Combine with remaining ingredients. Using a mini-scoop, roll a scoop of mixture between oiled hands (or sprayed with cooking spray) into a ball (about 1 1/2-inches in diameter). Repeat with remaining ingredients. Stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Yield: 18 balls.
*to view the other recipes from this month's challenge, click the button below
i drink coffee all day. i come from two parents who also have consumed a lot coffee for as long as i remember. i married a man who would likely ingest coffee intravenously if it were possible. instead he drinks more coffee than anyone i know. my kids already steal sips from our cups.
see... we like coffee.
the winds here are growing colder. it honestly feels like fall lately. i'd like to think coffee doesn't hold such a soft spot in my heart during the hot months, but i'd be lying. however, there's something about savoring a perfectly spiced flavored coffee when it's cooler outside.
we do sometimes consume bags of flavored coffee, but we're strong jet-fuel bold coffee drinkers here. so if i want a flavored coffee, i usually like to add my own real spices than consume beans coated in "natural flavorings".
this moroccan coffee combines a blend of delicious spices that not only taste heavenly, but also bring serious health benefits to the table.
speaking of doing things that are better for you, there's actually a coffee company that's better for the earth. puro fairtrade coffee is a company i admire. in addition to being fairtrade and grown by small farmers, they also use a percentage of the money made from coffee sales to purchase and save portions of the rainforests in south america. so if you're like me and you want to feel good about all of that coffee you're drinking, check out their coffees.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients. Prepare coffee for a 10-cup coffee pot. Sprinkle spice mixture over coffee grounds and turn on pot. Serve black or with milk.
*disclosure: puro fairtrade coffee sent me sample of coffee to try. they did not compensate me for this post. all opinions are my own.
archaic. (interjection) - used to express gratitude or surprise
i believe strongly in the power of gratitude. of being thankful for what we have. of expressing appreciation.
it keeps our souls healthy and it brings joy to the front.
on mondays, the dreaded return to the grind day, i plan to begin with
an attitude of gratitude. not always
food-related, but sometimes. maybe a product i love. possibly a place i
miss... always gramercy!
one of my favorite parts of being a military wife and moving around the world every handful of years is having the opportunity to dive deep into the regionally loved foods.
the dampfnudels and doner kabaps of germany (to name a few). macadamia nuts and delicious fishes of hawaii (not so much the poi, sorry). the orchards and vineyards of charlottesville. barbecue, of course, in kansas city.
it's only taken me a few months to find a local favorite here in northern new york...
till now the bulk of my experience with cheese curds has been the little miss muffet poem. and hearing of the canadian specialty, poutine, where a plate of french fries is topped with the cheese curds and doused in brown gravy.
cheese curd is also called "squeaky cheese", as it squeaks between your teeth when it's fresh. it has a mild flavor and an awesome chew, reminiscent to me of a mozzarella stick. apparently the curds are best when they're super fresh, which may be why i've not seen them much in other parts of the country.
though i haven't had the privilege of burying my face in a plate of poutine because of the gluten-filled gravy, i have managed to devour several bags of cheese curd. we like them straight out of the bag. (the horseradish flavor is to die for.) and i've thrown them on top of homemade pizza too.
so if you have the grand opportunity to come across a bunch of fresh cheese curd, then do yourself a favor and enjoy some squeaky cheese.
*1000 islands "river rat' cheese gave me no compensation or products. all opinions are my own.
disclosure: blog brûlée is being partially funded by the generosity
of brands mentioned in this post. i was not compensated to write this
post. all opinions expressed are my own.
three plus years ago, when i started this little blog, i had no idea that i was opening a window wide to let the breeze blow into my life some experiences beyond my wildest dreams.
today i get to announce one of the bigger opportunities this space has allowed me.
i am planning, alongside three remarkably incredible women, a super exciting food blogger's conference that we will hold in september.
blog brûlée will be an amazing weekend in the mountains of vermont, surrounded by like-minded registered dietitian and healthy food bloggers. we will be visiting vineyards, eating delicious food, and talking shop. and by shop i mean learning the ins and outs of blogging... photography, writing, community, brand promotion and so much more... from some of the very best.
speaking of some of the very best... three of them have graciously involved me in these plans. it has truly been a joy and a pleasure working together with these ladies. and the remarkable thing is i've only ever been in the physical presence of one of them!
regan jones is the mastermind behind so much, including healthy aperture, the recipe redux and RDs for disclosure. we go way, way back to my days at oxmoor house, when she was a food editor and i was a test kitchen staff/food stylist. all young and green on the RD foodie scene... and we've interwoven our lives in the real and virtual world ever since. deanna seagrave-daly and robin plotkin are the two other no-lie brilliant ladies working their magic to make this thing happen. even though we've not ever met in person, i feel like we're old friends and can't wait for the event if not to just hang out with them!
i'm thrilled to see all of the pieces falling into place... the speakers, the sponsors, the attendees, the activites. it truly is beyond my wildest dreams...
we are so grateful for the sponsors that have jumped on board with us. it is true that without them this wouldn't be happening. here are the generous folks who have joined us:
stay tuned here for more reports on the big event... and be sure to follow #blogbrulee on twitter for updates and info too!
i couldn't very well share the news of blog brûlée without including a recipe for a brûlée! this one is dairy-free and delicious...
Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pint So Delicious french vanilla coconut milk coffee creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla paste*
Combine cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan; stir with a wire whisk until well combined. Stir in coffee creamer with a wire whisk until well combined. Heat mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture simmers, thickens and glugs with bubbles.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla paste. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl; discard any solids in the sieve. Pour strained mixture into ramekins. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, sprinkle an even layer of sugar over surface of custard. Melt and slightly burn sugar with a kitchen torch or under a carefully watched broiler. Yield: 5-6 servings.
*If you have no vanilla paste, feel free to scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean into the mixture before cooking.
you know, i've never been much of an alcohol drinker. probably because beer always hurt my stomach back when my gluten issues weren't on my radar. my husband on the other hand could throw back the beers gaston-style (you know... beauty and the beast-roughly the size of a barge-gaston) in his gluten-drinking days.
i've never had "my" drink. the one you always order when you go out. that your husband or friends order for you in advance cause they know what you drink.
...until i found the dark & stormy.
lime and ginger and rum. how could that not be someone's drink.
i was reading garden & gun this month, my totally favorite magazine in the whole wide world. they were laying out A-Z the big food trends right now. "I" was infused ice. bars and restaurants across the south and across the nation as a whole are freezing all sorts of delicious things to add to drinks. i was inspired.
it makes sense... why dilute our delicious beverages with cold, melty water if you can cool them with flavor.
so here is a dark & stormy, deconstructed. as the cubes melt on the hot afternoon, this beverage is simply infused with more fantastic lime, vanilla, and ginger flavor.
this. this can be "my" drink.
Deconstructed Vanilla Dark & Stormy
For ice cubes:
1/2 cup ginger beer
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract (paste adds delicious and lovely seeds!)
For each drink:
2 ginger beer ice cubes
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup ginger beer
lime slices to garnish
To make ice cubes:
Combine ginger beer, lime juice and vanilla paste in a small measuring cup. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze for 8 hours or until frozen.
To make each drink:
Add 2 ginger beer ice cubes to a small glass. Top with dark rum and additional ginger beer. Garnish with lime slices, if desired.