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Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberries…this tiny purple berry has quite a bit of flavor for something so small. They taste sweet, yet are also tart, it doesn’t have a lot of juice, but just enough. Some think they are pretty bland, but I disagree. This little berry does has some punch to me. For this recipe in particular, I would like to suggest using fresh blueberries and remember to select firm dark berries. Frozen blueberries may get mushy after defrosting and you certainly want a bit of bite to the cobbler once baked!

Photography by Heaven on Hearth

For the filling:
2 pints (4 cups) blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, I like to use a Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract, it has such a rich and delicious flavor
2 teaspoons orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice, Navel oranges are my favorite because the juice is nice and sweet, but any other will do just as well
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted

I like to wash my blueberries before using them. Drain them in a colander if you have, if not, a sieve will do the trick, just so that you get off the excess water. In the meantime, while the blueberries are being drained, start melting the butter.

Place the blueberries in a big bowl so that you can mix the filling easily. I add each ingredient and mix thoroughly, then add the next and so forth, it is just better incorporated that way. Now be careful not to crush the berries while mixing. Add sugar, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract and then butter. Once you add the butter, you will notice that it gets a bit hard on the blueberries, don’t worry. Finally I add the flour and let it just sit until I have finished the biscuits for the filling. Now, leave that spoon in the bowl, you will need it again to mix one last time before putting into the baking dish.

This would be the perfect time to start preheating the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.

Filling with biscuit topping before baking

Now for the biscuit topping:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons white sugar
5 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup of whole milk with 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, I used the same vanilla extract as in the filling
2 teaspoons of white sugar with a pinch of cinnamon to be sprinkled on the biscuits before baking

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Once well blended, add softened butter then add milk with vanilla extract slowly. The mixture will be a bit soft in consistency, but I don’t like a hard topping when it’s baked.

At this point, butter a shallow baking dish well and give the blueberries one last good mix before putting the filling into the baking dish. Take two tablespoons and make an egg shaped biscuit with the dough and gently place on top of the filling. Have fun placing the biscuits in an attractive pattern, but it’s okay if you want to drop the biscuits any way you want.

Once the dough is complete, mix two teaspoons of white sugar with a pinch of cinnamon in a dish and sprinkle over the biscuits before placing the dish into the oven.

Bake for about 45 -50 minutes. Voilà! Here is a comforting dessert with just the right amount of sweetness, at least for me.

I found that using Navel oranges instead of lemons gave the filling a fresh sweet taste and mellowed the tartness of the blueberries.
Now, go forth, add some vanilla ice cream into the mix and enjoy!


Baby Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Pancetta Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Baby arugula, tossed with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, crispy bits of pancetta and lemony vinaigrette. I like to call it a sunny, summery salad with a composition of textures and flavors…
Baby arugula has a tiny peppery bite, not as sharp as the regular arugula, the juicy tangy taste of the cherry tomatoes when they burst on your tongue and the creamy, buttery, lightly toasted pine-nuts, the salty but crisp pancetta bits, then a bang of summer hits you with the lemon vinaigrette. Place the golden brown slices of goat cheese on top of the baby arugula salad and there is an elegant yet simple meal. Why not grill a nice piece of snapper or salmon and serve along side the salad? Throw in a crusty piece of french bread and a glass of white wine...hmmm, now that’s a good meal!
Photography by Heaven on Hearth
Baby Arugula, Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad
4-ounce bag of baby arugula
¼ cup (2 ounces) pine nuts, toasted over low heat for about 2 ½ minutes. The heat brings out the buttery, creamy, nutty flavor and smell.
¼ cup breadcrumbs with finely chopped parsley, to give the coating a bit of color and texture.
2 slices (4 ounces), ¼ inch thick each of pancetta, diced, then sautéed until nice and crispy in the frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. No oil is required as the pancetta has enough fat. Once done, place on a paper towel so that the excess oil is absorbed. If pancetta is not available, bacon can do the trick just as well.
16 cherry tomatoes or ¾ cup, halved.

For the vinaigrette
1 garlic clove, finely grated
½ teaspoon of lemon zest
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
a pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper together first, then add the olive oil until you have an emulsion.
I have to admit, I love my dressing more on the tangy and sour side.

4-ounce roll of chèvre (soft goat cheese) cut in ¾ inch slices
1 egg, slightly beaten
a pinch of salt for the egg
1 cup of bread crumbs, I like a lot to work with, and a handful of parsley, which you need to chop finely or chunky if you wish, that a personal preference
3 tablespoons of olive oil

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg, adding a pinch of salt. In another bowl, pour the breadcrumbs and mix in the parsley. Set the bowls side by side so it’s easier to work with. Dip the pieces of chèvre into the beaten egg, then coat liberally with the breadcrumb mixture. In a heated nonstick skillet, pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, fry gently for about 1-½ minutes, about 30 – 40 seconds on each side or until golden brown.

Once done, toss all the salad ingredients together, vinaigrette being the last, then serve on a plate and put 1 to 2 slices of the golden chèvre on top. Voila! How easy was that?

Don’t be afraid of using a variety of leaves and experimenting with anything that’s in your fridge or pantry. Bring a beautiful summer day into your home everyday with an easy salad.

Have fun with your scrumptious salads and remember, always try to make them your own!

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