Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

by Caitlin Saniga

So, the story behind this dessert’s nickname is that I brought it to a recent get-together with some friends, and when people started asking what it was, another friend was quick to call it “Jello salad.” Only everyone else heard “jungle salad.” So I’m not sure what everyone was expecting when I cut into it … wild berries, plantain leaves, tropical edible flowers? Nope, this is red, white and blue pretzel salad: sweet, salty, creamy and light. And I’m naming it my signature dessert of the season!

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels (I used stale ones, and popped them in the oven for about 8 minutes before crushing them. I like the new flavor a lot.)
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 ounces strawberry gelatin dessert mix
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small pan, melt the butter slowly, and add the pretzel crumbs. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, then transfer the mixture in a 7″x7″ glass baking pan. Use a piece of wax paper to pat down the pretzel mixture into a flat layer at the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge so it can cool quickly.

Meanwhile, use the whisk attachment of an upright mixer or use an electric hand mixer on high to whip the whipping cream and 1 teaspoon sugar. When the cream has stiffened some, after about 1 1/2 minutes, transfer the whipped cream to another bowl. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of the mixer and beat until it softens, about 1 minute on high. Add the whipping cream, and beat to combine, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate.

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Pour the boiling water into a medium glass bowl, and add the gelatin mix. Stir with a whisk for 1 minute, or until the gelatin mix dissolves completely. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

When the gelatin has just started to set, it’s time to assemble the layers of this dessert. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the pretzel crust, and use a spatula to carefully spread the mixture over the crust. (Try to work from the center of the mound of cream cheese mixture out. It’s easy for crumbs to surface as you spread.) Next, arrange the blueberries in a single layer over the cream cheese mixture. Pour the gelatin over top, and refrigerate for 1-4 hours before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

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by Caitlin Saniga

I’ve made this French toast recipe a million times. Mom taught me how to make it when I was young, and I’ve been making it ever since. I got the idea for the syrup from her, too. Any time we had fresh berries on hand, mom would make a syrup on the stove so we could have it with breakfast, whether it was pancakes, waffles or my favorite, French toast. And this syrup is awesome. I served the French toast and syrup recently as an afternoon meal for me and Eddie, and when he was done with his French toast, he went back to the stove for the pan of sauce and ladled a few more scoops onto his clean plate.

For syrup:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For French toast:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 slices bread, halved
  • butter for greasing the pan

To make the syrup, combine the the blueberries, 1/2 cup water, lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, stir together the 1/4 cup cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the boiling blueberry mixture and stir gently. Let the sauce cook until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove the syrup from heat and add the almond extract and cinnamon. Stir gently to combine, and reserve.

To make the French toast, whisk together the eggs, milk and cinnamon in a deep, medium-size dish. One piece at a time, dip the bread in the egg mixture to coat, flipping if necessary. Add a small pat of butter to a large pan over medium-low heat, and add a few slices of bread to the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes on one side, or until the underside turns a speckled golden-brown, then flip to cook the other side about 1 minute longer. Continue this process until all the bread has been cooked. Serve immediately with the warm blueberry sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Syrup recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

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The traditional Memorial Day picnic spread is great – it’s hard to argue with tradition. This year, however, we decided to keep the menu but ditch the recipes. Remember our Thanksgiving Twist guide from 2010? This is the summer version. We’re taking four traditional picnic menu items — fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers — and adding a new spin.

Although trying all of these new variations at a single party may upset a few people, you could just try one or two. Go ahead — shake things up a bit over the Tupperware this season.

Three-berry fruit salad with basil-mint syrup

by Caitlin Saniga

I love the idea that some of these ingredients can likely come from your very own garden. For me, I just had mint this time of year. But give it a couple of weeks, and I might have been able to use my basil and wild raspberries from the yard. I thought about using the mulberries from behind the house, too. This dish is very flexible. Use berries that are in season.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries or blackberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Whisk together the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the fruit, basil and mint. Pour the syrup over the mixture, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Gal Time


Layered citrus-apple salad with honey-ginger syrup

by Sarah Steimer

A little sweet and very sour – thanks to those grapefruit. If you’d rather people not have to pull the grapefruit rinds off themselves, be sure to slice those off before serving.

  • 1 grapefruit, sliced horizontally
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced horizontally
  • 2 clementines, peeled and separated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1/4 cup water

Layer with alternating grapefruit and apple slices. Add the clementine sections throughout.

Whisk together the minced ginger, honey and water. Sprinkle the syrup over the fruit. Refrigerate for at least one hour so the syrup has time to soak into the fruit.

Serve drizzled with additional honey, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Alfresco Refreshed is our spin on four traditional picnic staples: fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers. You can find all the recipes here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Just to note: I used a darker quinoa for my cookies. Using a lighter quinoa may result in lighter-colored cookies.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dried blueberries or other dried fruit such as raisins
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, large flaked coconut
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and honey using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, giving the dough enough time to incorporate the first egg before adding the second.  Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon and mix to combine.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour, mixing just until incorporated.  Hand-stir in the quinoa, oats, blueberries, nuts and coconut.

Spoon the dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto two baking sheets, spacing them about an inch apart.  Bake at 375 degrees until golden, 12-15 minutes (these cookies are soft and chewy – not hard).

Makes about 24 cookies.

Recipe: Oui, Chef

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by Sarah Steimer

Awwwww. Little things.

For pear filling

  • 5 pears (cut in small cubes)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used a little less)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally. Once the pears seemed to have softened, mash them until most of the pears are near applesauce consistently. Allow to simmer for a few minutes longer. Let cool

For the blueberry filling, I merely mixed about a 3/4 cup of blueberries with the same amounts of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, plus about 2 tablespoons of flour.

Pears are so attractive.

For crust

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons water

Mix Flour and salt. Cut in butter and work it into the flour until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of the water at a time and toss with a fork. Repeat until all is moistened and form the dough into a ball. On a floured surface, roll out the dough.

Cut the dough into circles about an half an inch wider than the openings of a muffin pan. I used a small bowl as my cutter. Place the circles in oil-sprayed muffin tins, don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the edges. Place fillings in the tins, but do not fill above the dough. Use the excess dough to create a pattern on top of the tarts.

Place in a 360 degree oven for about a half hour or until the tart crusts look golden brown. Let cool and take them from their tins.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

Breakfast smoothie with my morning paper.

  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 plum
  • 2/3 cup of organic vanilla yogurt
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite healthy tea (I used maté and rooibos)

Steep your tea in only about a 1/4 cup of hot water (this way you get the maximum amount of tea flavor/benefits and you don’t water the smoothie down). Add all ingredients and pulse in a blender until you reach a consistency you like. This makes two tall glasses.

One of our raspberry plants.

Don’t feel as though you need to keep strictly to this recipe. Add and subtract ingredients. I only added the plum because it happened to be sitting in my kitchen.

I’ve been inspired to start making my own smoothies since one of my visits to my friend Leah in Chicago. She made this great energy-packed smoothie for us that made me want to take 18 nonstop tours of the city. Running. Leah actually gave me the idea of adding tea to the smoothie. Why not? It’s good for you.

So here’s the healthy rundown of my smoothie today: The raspberries (from our garden, picked literally moments before I made this) are full of Vitamin C. Blueberries are known as a superfruit and contain antioxidants and other vitamins. Rosemary (also from the garden) may help memory as well as relieve muscle pain and stimulate the nervous system. Yogurt has “probiotics” — literally translated to “for life” — which are the good bacteria that help your digestive tract.

Rooibos tea has antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and can help with colds and allergies. Maté is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps suppress hunger. It also has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but won’t let you crash.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

A lemon-tinted crisp for breakfast or dessert.


  • 5 cups of blueberries (frozen or fresh — thaw if frozen)
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of lemon balm


  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
  • zest of half of a lemon

Combine ingredients for filling and place in a 9-inch pie dish. Combine all ingredients for the topping except the butter. Cut in butter a little at a time and use your hands to combine and create create a sort of crumbly, streusel-like

My blueberries were frozen, but at least my lemon balm was fresh.

consistency. Add this to the top of the filling, covering completely.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

My sister and brother-in-law got my dad a one-year membership to Costco. We never know what to get there, so lately we’ve been buying 5 lb. bags of blueberries and I’ve been in muffin mode.

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup blueberries

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and a dash of salt. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk and oil in a separate bowl and add all at once to flour mixture well. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in zest and blueberries. Lightly grease muffin tins or line with paper bake cups. Fill 2/3 full (I can usually fit in a bit more in each tin). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

My family likes to also melt butter and dip the tops of the (warm) muffins in the butter, then in a sugar and cinnamon mixture. Just adds a little somethin, somethin.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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