Tag Archives: blueberry

Blueberry Cupcakes

19 Aug

I made these scrumptious blueberry cupcakes ages ago and forgot to post them, so hopefully I’ll remember everything. I have the recipe written down, so maybe that will jog my memory. These came about as the perfect solution to knocking out two birds with one stone: I wanted one more recipe for in-season blueberries (they were in season at the time, anyway) and I needed a treat for my dad for Father’s Day (I said it was ages ago).

Usually blueberries are found in more pastry-like desserts — pies, crumbles, cobblers, etc. I was intrigued by blueberries in cupcakes and thought it would be great to try out.

I started with 2 pints of blueberries. I’ll go ahead and say it now — I personally thought the blueberry-to-sugar ratio was excellent, but I would guess that a lot of blueberry fans would want way more blueberry flavor than this, maybe even double the amount. Your call. Anyway, for the batter…

I preheated the oven to 350 F and lined my cupcake tin. I thought a monochromatic look would be nice, so I used blue paper liners. In a food processor, I pureed a pint plus a little more of the blueberries, and set it aside.

I sing that to the tune of Raspberry Beret.

I sifted 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a small bowl and set it aside.

Dry Ingredients

In another small bowl, I whisked together 2 T milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and the prepared blueberry puree.

Batter IngredientsNow that I had my dry and wet mixes ready, I pulled out a large mixing bowl. I mixed 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter on low, and added 1/2 cup sugar. I beat it for a few minutes, until it was light and fluffy. Then I added one eggand mixed on low until just combined.Batter UpI added half the flour mixture, mixed briefly, added the milk mixture, mixed briefly, and then scraped down the bowl and added the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Then I poured the batter into the prepared cupcake tins.

Cupcake Batter

I baked them for about 20-22 minutes, until they passed the toothpick test. I let them cool a bit in the pan, and then transferred them out to cool completely.

I went ahead and got to work on the frosting because pureeing and straining the rest of the blueberries took some time. This time, I pureed the rest of the blueberries in the food processor, and then I pushed them through a fine mesh strainer. This took quite some time, but it took even longer to clean the damn thing afterward. I just used the back of a spoon to push the blueberry puree through. The result was a purple goo that was much smoother than the chunky mess that came out of the food processor. This worked out great because the cupcakes had a great speckled look to them, where you could see tiny blueberry chunks baked in, but the frosting had the ideal smooth frosting texture in a pretty light blue color.

Ignore the red polka dots and you can see a little blueberry goop down there.

In a large bowl, I beat 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla with my hand mixer on medium-low.

Adding Blueberry Puree

I added the blueberry puree a little at a time until I achieved the desired flavor and consistency — for me, that was all of it. Once the frosting was smooth and blue, it was ready! I spread it on top of the cupcakes and topped each one with a single fresh blueberry. Perfect!

Blueberry Cupcakes

Blueberry Cupcake, in all its monochromatic glory.

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Blueberry Burgers with Nectarine Salsa

3 Jul

Sounds weird, huh? I thought so. And honestly, they’ve got blueberries in them — of course they taste a little weird. But weird isn’t always bad. Weird can be good. Like keytars. And blueberry burgers. These don’t taste like normal burgers, but they do taste good. I prepared them two ways, so you can take your pick. There’s 3 different recipes in this 1 post — get excited.

 

Blueberry Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a seed, but it’s used more like a grain. It’s also super duper healthy, so hipsters love the stuff. It’s a complete protein source, which is unusual for plants, so it’s a great staple in a vegetarian diet. It’s also high in fiber and amino acids. You cook is basically like rice, and it reminds me a lot of couscous.

I thought a veggie burger would be great with blueberries, and I decided to use quinoa to give it that extra protein that is sometimes lacking in vegetarian meals. I started the burgers by cooking the quinoa: I boiled 3/4 cup water and then added 1/2 cup quinoa. I cooked it until the water was absorbed, about 12-14 minutes, and set it aside.

Quinoa

I set up my food processor and added in the burger ingredients: 1 can great northern beans (drained and rinsed), 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (if you use regular breadcrumbs instead, use about 1/4 cup), 1 egg, 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, a dash of salt, and a  dash of pepper

Quinoa Burger IngredientsI pulsed everything until it was combined but still a little chunky. I divided the mixture into four and formed four patties. They were a little soft and mushy, so I put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerated them until I was ready to cook them. (At this point, I prepared the other burgers, but I’ll continue with this recipe for the sake of clarity.)

Quinoa Patty

In a large skillet, I heated some olive oil over medium heat. I cooked the blueberry quinoa burgers until browned, about 8-10 minutes per side.

You can dress up your burger however you like, but I added spinach and mozarella to my burger and served it with a side of chips.

Blueberry Quinoa Burger

 

Blueberry Burger

I wiped out my food processor and started over with the meat burgers. I put two slices of bread in the food processor, processed it to crumbs, and set that aside.

Next, I put the ingredients in the food processor: 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard,  1 tsp oyster sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. I processed it until it was pureed and then dumped it all into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. I added 1/2 pound ground meat (I used turkey, but you could use beef or whatever you prefer) and mixed everything together. I didn’t have a potato masher, so I used the mixing attachment from my hand mixer. 

Turkey Burger IngredientsOnce it was all mixed up, I divided it into 4 portions and shaped them into patties. I sent the BF out to the electric grill with them, and he grilled them over medium-low heat until done, about 7-8 minutes per side.

Meat Patty

Again, you can dress up your burgers however you like. I added a scoop of nectarine salsa on this one and served it with tortilla chips and more salsa.

Blueberry Burger with Nectarine Salsa

 

Nectarine Salsa

Honestly, this may have been the best part of the entire meal. I thought it was so good. If peaches are in better shape when you go to the store, by all means, use them instead. I went with nectarines because they were a little more ripe.

First I chopped everything up — not too finely since they go for a stint in the food processor, but just enough for the processor to find them manageable. I used 2 ripe (but firm) nectarines with the skin on, 1 shallot,  and 1 jalapeno (I threw out the stems, seeds, and ribs, which are the spiciest parts).

After I got those chopped up and put in the food processor, I added in the juice of half a lemon, 1 T grated ginger, 1 tsp sugar, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. I pulsed it just a couple times to get most of the pieces small, but not liquified. It’s salsa, not soup.

Nectarine Salsa

This was great on a blueberry burger — it really made the whole thing nice and sweet an fruity. It was also good with tortilla chips, both that night and the next day — it didn’t last any longer than that.

 

Notes:

  • If you make the salsa, I suggest doing that first so that the flavors have time to sit and meld while you make the rest of the meal.
  • Feel free to flavor your burgers however you like. You can always substitute other flavors and sauces to get the right burger consistency with a different flavor.
  • These would be so fun to serve with a toppings bar that guests can use to dress their burger themselves. Maybe a red, white, and blue summer cookout?
  • Both of these burgers made great leftovers. The next day, I had the turkey burger with more nectarine salsa, and the day after that, I had the quinoa burger with pita and Greek yogurt.

Seasonal Ingredient: Blueberries (mid May – mid July)

26 Jun

Of any one food, blueberries may be the quintessence of summer. With these 95 degree days and Independence Day just around the corner, blueberries and strawberries are where it’s at. All the home magazines profile blueberries for their July issues, and people just go blueberry crazy. I’m not a huge fan of just eating plain blueberries, but I do appreciate a good blueberry cobbler or some such.

And, blueberries are super healthy for you. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, this superfood has a huge amount of antioxidants, which “help to neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules linked to the development of a number of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s.” And they’re low-fat and have a lot of vitamin C and fiber. (The Council website has a bunch of health tips, and even better, tons of blueberry recipes. Check it out!)

Blueberries!And now, so you can impress everyone at your next cocktail party, Blueberry Trivia!

  • While Maine is the leader of lowbush blueberry production in the United States, (and possibly the world, but Wikipedia didn’t seem to be very clear on that), Michigan is the leader of highbush production.
  • Different species of blueberries are found all over the world. North Carolina has pretty good ones.
  • My dad loves blueberries! He has a huge blueberry bush in the backyard, but they’ve already ripened and been picked.
  • Although blueberries are not among the most contaminated and therefore aren’t officially part of the Dirty Dozen, there’s still a lot of question about them. It’s probably best to just buy organic.
  • Sorry, you missed the North Carolina Blueberry Festival, which is held annually in Pender County every June. Don’t worry, more are still to come! The Blueberry Council keeps a list of upcoming blueberry festivals. And if I have any readers up north, happily for you, blueberries and their attendant festivals are still in season for a couple more months.
  • Color layering technology was just being developed when Denise Nickerson, the actress who portrayed Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, needed to be blown up like a blueberry. They were able to turn her face blue, but not her hair.
    • Trivia Bonus: Where Is She Now? Denise Nickerson is an accountant and single mom in Denver, Colorado.

North Carolina’s blueberry season lasts only a couple more weeks. If you can find any left, try out these recipes:

Simple Blueberry Cobbler

21 Nov

For my Dad’s surprise 50th birthday party, we threw together a super-easy blueberry cobbler. We actually ordered 30 gourmet cupcakes for the birthday bash, but fruity baked desserts are my dad’s favorite, and as my family knows and won’t ever let me forget, I’m a Daddy’s girl. So blueberry cobbler was added to the menu.

I dumped 3 cups of fresh blueberries, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/3 cup of orange juice in a 9″x9″ baking pan and mixed it all together. While I mixed up the insides, Betsy mixed up the dough. First she mixed up the dry ingredients in a small bowl: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt. She set that aside. She put 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large bowl and beat it with the hand mixer till it was kind of fluffy. The dough was pretty thick. Then she beat in an egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Okay, probably more like a teaspoon — a little extra vanilla is always a good thing. Then she gradually added in the flour mixture until it was just combined.

Blueberries + Dough = Blueberry Cobbler

Now that the dough was ready, she just dropped it on globs on top of the blueberry mixture. We tried to spread it out a bit so that it covered most of the blueberry mixture, but we didn’t want it to be spread out in a complete layer over top of it. It’s supposed to be a little lumpy.

Dropping DoughFinishing the dough

Then we baked it for 35-40 minutes. The topping turned a nice golden brown and the filling was a little bubbly. Unfortunately, I don’t have a final product picture! We were a little busy making the Mini Party Quiches and we forgot to photograph our beautiful Blueberry Cobbler! But according to my dad, it was really good.

How Sue Sees It:
This is a super easy and delicious dessert to whip up. It does bake for a while, but the prep is pretty simple, so wow your next dinner guests with a classic blueberry cobbler. Be sure to have some vanilla ice cream on hand to serve with it!