• 73°

Bless Your Spoon: Fresh berries liven up recipes

The day finally arrived – one which I’d anticipated.

With baskets in hand, writers of Renegade Writers Guild gathered around blueberry bushes. The small, tasty berries were now ready for picking.   

Each year, a guild member extends hospitality – sharing bounty from bushes and beauty from there yard. Surrounded by gardens and rows of colorful zinnias and smiling sunflowers, writers dreamed.  Morning’s whisper inspired creative minds – calling forth new, delicious ways to enjoy sweet, delicate fruits.

With berry-filled baskets loaded to the brim, writers took breaks from sun’s rays. A refreshing dip in the cool, saltwater pool followed – then lunch and fellowship among friends.

That’s undoubtedly the best kind of day.   

If you ask me about best blueberry recipes – I’d say there are as many as berries on a shrub.

However, one thing, I know for sure. The best way to eat that sweet fruit – is right off the bush.

But fellowship with one another – now that’s even sweeter.

APPLE-BLUEBERRY-SEED SLAW

1 shredded, green head cabbage (8 cups)

1 cup fresh blueberries

3 peeled, cored, chopped Granny Smith apples

2 ½ cups peeled, grated carrots (3)

4 thinly sliced green onions

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

½ cup premium mayonnaise

2/3 cup sour cream

¼ cup thawed/frozen apple juice concentrate

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, mix cabbage, blueberries, apples, carrots, and onions. Toss to coat with vinegar. In a mixer bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, apple juice, and poppy seeds. Mix well. Add slaw mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Toss before serving.

FAVORITE FRUIT PIZZA

8 oz. refrigerated sugar cookie dough roll

7 oz. marshmallow creme

8 oz. softened cream cheese

Whole blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

Sliced apple, strawberries, kiwi, bananas, pineapple

Cut dough roll crosswise into 1/3-inch slices. Arrange on a butter greased and floured 12-inch pizza pan. Press dough into pan to form a pizza crust. Bake crust in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to rack and cool completely.  In a mixer bowl, beat marshmallow crème and cream cheese. Spread mixture over crust like a pizza, leaving a border. Top with a combo of whole and sliced favorite fruits. Drizzle with homemade or store-bought caramel or chocolate sauce.

JULIE CARTNER’S LEMON-BERRY BREAD

1/3 cup melted, salted butter

1 cup sugar

1 juiced lemon (4 tablespoons)

2 eggs

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

½ c. whole milk

2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 ½ cup blueberries

Glaze:

2/3 cup confectioners sugar

4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp.  vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, juice, and eggs. In a bowl, toss blueberries with 2 Tbsp. flour and set aside. Add flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk, thoroughly mixing after each addition. Fold in zest, nuts, and blueberries in flour. Bake in a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until tests done. Cool. For the glaze, combine sugar, lemon juice, and extract to form a glaze. Add more sugar or less for desired thickness, if necessary. While warm, remove cake from pan. Spoon glaze over, allowing it to run down all sides.

TOMATO-BLUEBERRY BREAD SALAD

4 halved large tomatoes

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 ¾-inch country bread slices

1 cup blueberries

½ chopped red onion

1 tsp. adobo sauce (chipotle)

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro

Brush tomatoes all over with oil. Grill for 2 minutes on each side on medium-high heated grill. Remove from heat, cool, and set aside. Brush both sides of bread slices with oil. Grill (or roast in oven) for 2 minutes on each side. Cut tomatoes and bread into ¾-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, bread, blueberries, and onion. Gently mix. Allow to stand 30 minutes to let bread absorb tomato juice. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk vinegar, adobo sauce, and garlic together. When ready to serve, add vinegar mixture and cilantro to salad mixture and toss to blend. Salt and pepper to taste.

BERRY, PEPPER, AND PORK FAJITA SALAD

2/3 cup bottled citrus dressing

1 ¼ lbs. cooked, thin-sliced, pork loin chops

Chili powder and salt

1 quartered green, red, and yellow pepper (3)

1 ½-inch sliced onion

8 cups thinly sliced Romaine hearts

1/3 cup of bottled citrus dressing

1 cup blueberries

2 cups broken tortilla pieces

Sprinkle chops with chili powder and salt on both sides. Place in a dish and pour vinaigrette over meat. Meanwhile place quartered peppers and sliced onions on a baking sheet and brush well with vinaigrette. Grill until tender for 4 minutes on each side. Separate onions into rings and peppers into strips. Remove pork from vinaigrette and cook 2 minutes per side. Thinly slice meat across grain. In a large bowl, toss lettuce, vinaigrette, and blueberries. Divide among plates and top with pork, onions, and peppers. Sprinkle tortilla chips on top.

STEPH’S BUTTERMILK-BERRY GINGERBREAD

1 beaten egg

1 cup sugar

½ cup cooking oil

3 Tbsp. molasses

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp. large granule sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add sugar and mix well. Add oil and molasses, and mix well. Dredge blueberries in flour and set aside. Add flour, soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg while alternating with buttermilk, thoroughly beating after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Pour into a greased and floured baking dish and sprinkle sugar over top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until tests done. Cut into squares and serve warm with butter or topped with whipped cream for dessert.

STEPH’S BUTTERMILK – BERRY MUFFIN

1 beaten egg

1 cup sugar

½ cup Wesson vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add sugar and Wesson oil. Mix well. Add flour, soda, and salt while alternating with buttermilk. Mix well. Fold in blueberries until well combined. Bake in a greased baking pan in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until tests done. You can alternate a cup of grated carrots, mandarin oranges, or nuts. Cooking times will vary depending on moisture of fruit used.

NANCY TUCKER’S LEMON-BERRY SCONES

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 zested lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup butter (frozen, grated)

1 cup fresh blueberries

½ cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Lemon Glaze

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Grate very cold or frozen butter and add to dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries to be sure they are coated with the dry ingredients. Beat ½ cup heavy cream, egg, and lemon juice together and mix until slightly moistened. Do not over mix. Turn dough onto a well-floured counter. Gather dough in a circle using floured hands, knead very lightly to include dry ingredients. Flatten dough into a 9-inch round disc; cut disc into 8 triangles. Transfer scones (use a large, flat spatula) to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Brush scones with 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven until light brown — 20-23 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely for 30 minutes. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to create the lemon glaze, then put glaze in a resealable plastic bag. Snip the corner of the bag and drizzle scones with glaze.

MIXED GREENS AND FRUIT SALAD

1 lb. hulled, halved strawberries

1 cup blueberries

5 oz. mixed baby greens

7 oz. crumbled goat cheese

½ cup toasted walnuts

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

4-5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, mash 1/3 cup full of strawberries and set aside. In a bowl, combine remainder of halved strawberries, blueberries, greens, goat cheese, and nuts. For the dressing, in another bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, and mashed strawberries together. Add salt and pepper to season. Pour dressing over salad mixture using only enough to coat thoroughly.

MARIE CRAIG’S BERRY MOUSSE MERINGUES

Meringues

4 large egg whites, at room temp

4 tsp. cold water

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup sugar

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper – no grocery bags. Draw six 3-inch circles about 2 inches apart on each sheet. In a mixer, beat egg whites, water, and flavoring together until foamy. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoonful at a time, until egg whites are glossy and form very stiff peaks. Spoon mixture into circles or pipe through pastry bag with large fluted tip. Hollow out center of mounds with back of spoon. leaving bottom intact. Bake in preheated 200-degree oven for 20 minutes. Leave oven door closed, turn oven off, and allow meringues to remain in oven for 12 hours. (Do not open door). Remove from oven and remove from paper. Store in airtight container.

Two Berry Mousse

4 cups strawberries

½ cup sugar

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

½ cup cold water

1 cup boiling water

2 cups whipping cream

½ cup sifted powdered sugar

Whipped cream

Whole fruits

In a blender, puree strawberries. Add sugar and process until blended. Set aside. In a bowl, soften gelatin in cold water. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool completely. Stir strawberry mixture into gelatin. Chill until consistency of unbeaten egg white. In mixer bowl, beat whipping cream until foamy. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream mixture into strawberry mixture. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into lightly oiled 2-quart mold. Refrigerate until set. For serving, spoon portions of mousse into shells. Top with fresh whipped cream and whole strawberries, and blueberries.

TOMATO BASIL-BLUEBERRY GRILLED CHEESE

1 French bread baguette

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 chopped garlic cloves

½ cup chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary

¾ cup herbed goat cheese

4 thinly sliced plum tomatoes

1 cup blueberries

Cut bread loaf crosswise in half. Cut each half lengthwise. In a bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, and rosemary. Brush each side of bread pieces with oil mixture. With cut side down, grill bread for 1 minute or until toasted. Remove and spread cut sides with goat cheese. Top with 2 Tbsp. blueberries and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with oil mixture and salt and pepper. Cook on grill for 4 minutes, open-faced, or until bottoms are toasted and cheese is melted. Cut each in half and serve.