Tag Archives: summer

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.

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: Strawberries (mid May – mid June)

2 Jun

Strawberries! Everyone gets excited about strawberries! They’re the first sign of spring, The Beatles love them, cartoon has-beens love them… everyone loves them! Everyone except me. I don’t love strawberries. I never did much — I prefer super sweet fruit like pineapple and watermelon rather than tart fruit, so I never ate plain strawberries. And as a kid, I basically would only eat chocolate desserts, nothing else. But now, I have an appreciation for strawberries. I enjoy many strawberry desserts and have occasionally been known to eat a plain strawberry or two.

But I still don’t love them. You know why? Because I don’t like liars or fakers. And I found out that strawberries aren’t real berries. They’ve been posing all this time. Imposters!

Posers.

Well, other than my weirdness about berry fakers, I really don’t have much to say about strawberries. We’re all pretty familiar with them. They taste good, they’re good in salads, they’re good in desserts, they’re good with chocolate, blah blah blah. I can sit here and think up a few different strawberry desserts in my head right now, but it’s a little more  a difficult to think up a meal. I’ll have to do some research and plotting, and hopefully I’ll get a few recipes posted before strawberry season ends.

Oh, and don’t forget! The strawberry is one of the dirty dozen, so buy organic!