Happy Thanksgiving! Some last minute ideas

Its that time of year again! Thanksgiving is when we all slave over a much bigger-than-usual meal, planning and cooking far more food than we really need. Its crazy, its stressful, and I love it. This kind of thing used to scare me, but now, its a fun challenge–all the planning, the timing, and trying to balance the variety of food throughout the entire meal–I can’t quite nail it down, but its a wonderful thing.

Turkey, ravaged on the Thanksgiving table

By the time you’re reading this, I’m abuzz in the kitchen (and I promise you a post to show the fruits of my labors during this holiday, so check back in a few days!), so while I do that, I thought I’d post a mini-roundup of dishes I’ve done before that would do great on your holiday table. This list is by no means exhaustive and I’d love to hear what your plans are for this year, whether they be what you intend to… click to read more…

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Quadruple Berry Crumble

Some desserts are decadent, elaborate, and call for a lot of careful planning and effort. This isn’t one of them. Some times, you just want something quick, simple, and delicious. This rustic-looking treat fits just the bill and is very easily tweaked to whatever fruit you have handy. With a crunchy, nutty, crisp top layer, and a gooey, temptingly sweet mix of red currants, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, this Quadruple Berry Crumble will hit the spot.

The berries are delicious in their own right and I love the balance of sweet and tart achieved by this mix, but I also wanted to add a few other subtle flavors to the mix. I love the mix of strawberries and balsamic vinegar, so the dark, sophisticated sweet flavors of balsamic were in. I also chose to enhance the sweetness with a bit of ground black pepper (it sounds strange, but try it! You won’t taste any pepper–I promise! The… click to read more…

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Lamb Chops with Blueberry Sauce

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed my quiet love for blueberries (unlike my less quiet love for strawberries), and so I thought it would be nice to enjoy them in a savory dish rather than the sweets I usually flock to. In my mind, two proteins go beautifully with fruit: pork and lamb. Based on the randomness of my cravings, lamb it was, and so for this dish, we have Lamb Chops with a Blueberry Sauce.

If you’ve never had a savory application of blueberries like this, you might make a face at the thought of this, but I promise, this is a surprisingly great match. Aside from lamb chops being delicious, the dish as a whole was gamey and rich, the sauce tannic, full-bodied, dark, and lightly spiced with star anise. I was also a big fan of the color: the sauce was vividly dark (oxymoron anyone?)–ok,… click to read more…

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Blueberry Jam

As blueberry season comes to an end, you realize you can only squeeze in some many blueberry-centric recipes before you need a long-term plan. How will you cope without them in the coming months? :o The answer is simple: get out a clean jar or few and preserve some blueberry jam.

I’ve come to appreciate how easy it is to make preserves and that you can make some pretty neat things that you might not find in the grocery store, so why not make home canning and preserving a regular occurrence? If you haven’t tried it yet, go out, buy yourself some mason jars and give this one a try–it is so easy and so enjoyable to have jars of your own home-made jam to dip into throughout the year. Plus, if you ever use jelly or jam at all (usually goes on a bagel on a Saturday morning… click to read more…

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Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Tart

I had originally planned on having this online for July 4th–its seasonal, the flavors are sophisticated and refreshing (perfect way to end a barbecue!), and the colors are vibrant and appropriately patriotic (well, its kind red, white, and blue, right?). Oh well, better late than never, because this one’s a keeper for sure: a blueberry rhubarb cream tart that will have everybody begging for seconds.

Once I finally discovered my love for rhubarb and how wonderfully it pairs with strawberries, I started trying to make up for lost time and work it into whatever I could. But I’d realized how little I’ve really come to appreciate rhubarb–I mean every use of it so far has been with strawberries! So it finally seemed time to let it shine in a different light.

This tart starts with a graham cracker crust and then, a light and delightfully tart rhubarb cream as… click to read more…

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Blueberry Mango Mille Feuille

A Mille Feuille (a.k.a. a Napoleon in some circles) is a classic dessert that comes in all shapes and sizes, but the core of it remains the same: alternating layers of delicate puff pastry and various sweet fillings (fruits, creams, etc). I decided to use some great local produce to flavor my rendition: blueberry, mango, and (of course :-P ) strawberry.

I was inspired to make this by a fantastic entry way back during Strawberry Seduction. This dessert is really quite easy to prepare (assuming you cheat and use store-bought puff pastry like I did….shhh!)–the bulk of the time and effort is actually spent putting it together so that it looks nice. I think I did a pretty decent job, but looking back at the photos, there’s definitely room for improvement (e.g. my layers of cooked pastry aren’t even close to uniformly flat, so things look a little “rustic” click to read more…

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