Category Archives: Berries

Christmas Morning Muffins

Ah, a warm muffin and a hot cup of coffee.  That’s a near perfect winter breakfast!

We think you’ll love these Cranberry-Orange Streusel Muffins. The sweetness from the drizzled icing nicely balances the tartness of the fresh cranberries and the orange flavor comes shining through. The beautiful red of the cranberries makes these muffins especially pretty for Christmas morning.

Cranberry-Orange Streusel Muffins

(makes 8 muffins)

Streusel Topping:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine

Muffins:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cup  milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup cranberries (whole or coarsely chopped)

Icing:

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons orange juice

– Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 8 muffin pan cups.

– Prepare streusel topping:  In small bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Add butter, stirring, until coarse crumbs are formed. Reserve.

– Prepare muffins:  In large  bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder,  baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In small bowl, using wire whisk, lightly beat egg, milk, oil and orange peel.  Stir into flour mixture just until combined.  Stir in cranberries.

– Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle reserved streusel topping evenly over muffins. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from muffin cups.

– Meanwhile, prepare icing:  In small bowl stir together confectioners’ sugar and orange juice.
Drizzle over warm muffins. Garnish muffins with extra grated orange peel if desired.



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Filed under Berries, Breads, Breakfast, cranberries, Holidays

Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler Cake

As a kid growing up, I spent many summers in West Virginia where we picked bucket after bucket of fresh berries. My Grandma Arnold made excellent cobbler, but there were  days when it was just too hot to consider working with pastry dough. That’s when Grandma made her quick cobbler, a cake-mix based recipe

that could be assembled in minutes and put in to bake before supper. I enjoyed countless evenings on Grandma’s front porch, eating cobbler for dessert and watching the cars go by. Although we usually had blackberries, raspberries or huckleberries in the Blue Ridge mountains, I now live in New England where we have excellent blueberries. Try this coffee-cake style cobbler for breakfast or brunch with some sweetened whipped cream and a cup of good strong coffee. Thanks for the inspiration, Grandma!

Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler Cake

3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
1 pkg. (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

– Preheat oven to 350°.

– Pick over blueberries, removing any stems. Rinse with cold water and drain in colander.

– In large bowl, stir together sugar, crystallized ginger and cinnamon. Add blueberries and stir gently to coat with sugar mixture.

– Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding the vanilla and ground ginger.

– Spread blueberries evenly in bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour cake mix over blueberries. Bake 35 minutes or until wooden pick    inserted into cake (not blueberry layer) comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.

– When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Heather

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Filed under Berries, Breakfast, Cake, Dessert, Sweets

Double the Chocolate Strawberries

I can’t think of an easier dessert that yields as many “oohs” and “ahhs” as chocolate dipped strawberries. Perfect on their own, and truly elegant when garnishing a plate of cookies or brownies, these berries are a hit every time. As easy as they are to make, there are a couple of secrets for success: 1) use the freshest ripe berries you can find (local is best!) 2) do not burn the chocolate and 3) always make more berries than you need or keep them hidden until guests arrive! So, here, in honor of strawberry season, we give you:

Double the Chocolate Strawberries
Makes 12 dipped strawberries

1 dozen medium-size fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
4 squares (4 ounces) semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 squares (2 ounces) white chocolate

– Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In small glass bowl, microwave chocolate on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. (If, after stirring well, there is still some unmelted chocolate,  microwave for another 10 seconds, then stir until melted).

– Hold strawberry by stem and dip into the melted chocolate, covering about 3/4 of the berry. Gently shake off excess chocolate and  place on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

– In small glass bowl, microwave white chocolate on MEDIUM (50%) power for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Carefully transfer melted chocolate to a zipper-style plastic sandwich bag. Squeeze out excess air and seal bag.

– Using scissors, snip a tiny corner of the bag. Squeeze chocolate from bag onto the dipped berries, using a random pattern. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Transfer berries to serving platter. Leftovers (ha!) may be stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Tips

– Recipe can easily be doubled, tripled and more!!!!

– Triple Chocolate? I like the way you think! Using dark (bittersweet) chocolate, follow the same procedure for the white chocolate. Pipe or drizzle in a criss-cross pattern over the white chocolate. Pretty!

– I am a big fan of Baker’s Chocolate Baking Squares, and you can find them in any supermarket.

– Think outside the strawberry! Try dipping kiwi slices, banana halves, pineapple chunks, and more. The trick is to pat the fruit dry before dipping.

Heather

2 Comments

Filed under Berries, Chocolate, Dessert, Entertaining, Sweets

Refreshing Raspberry Mojito

Fresh mint is super abundant this time of year. The crop in my garden is already a bit out of control, and it’s only May! I use mint all summer long in iced tea, fruit salads, tabbouleh, and more. But, hands-down, the best use for fresh mint is for making an icy-cold Mojito on a hot summer evening.

The Mojito is a traditional Cuban cocktail made with lime juice, sugar, sparkling water, white rum, and of course, fresh mint. There are a variety of variations to the basic recipe involving all kinds of ingredients—ginger, pomegranate, mango, blood orange, coconut, even chili lime! Basically, the Mojito is only limited by your imagination. Recently, Cathy made this gorgeous Mojito with some beautiful fresh raspberries. It was delicious—and so pretty we had to shoot it!

as photographed by our team, à la Carte Partners

Raspberry Mojito
Makes 1 serving

8 fresh mint leaves
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 ounces white rum
2-3 ounces seltzer
4-6 fresh raspberries

– Place mint leaves, lime juice and sugar in a highball glass (something tall and narrow is perfect). Using the straight end of a wooden spoon, gently press on  leaves to release flavor (“muddle” is the official term).

– Fill glass with ice cubes. Pour in rum. Top off with seltzer. Drop in raspberries, and sip!

Heather

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Filed under Berries, Drinks, Entertaining

Berries, Balsamic, Brown Sugar…

Who would ever think that strawberries, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar would be a tantalizing flavor sensation? I was skeptical when I was introduced to this at a shoot a few years back.  I vividly remember an account executive, from a public relations firm representing strawberries, arriving at the studio with cases of beautiful ripe strawberries, aged balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

She rinsed the berries, and proceeded to pour the vinegar and brown sugar into separate small bowls.  She told us to pick a berry, dip it in the vinegar, and then the sugar.  I thought to myself, there’s no way I am going to like this! I have to tell you I was more than pleasantly surprised.  The flavor combination was unbelievable.  The robust, slightly sweet zing of the vinegar combined with the sweetness of the berry and the brown sugar—well, it’s beyond yum. It’s a unique taste sensation you will not soon forget. Try it!

Hint: For the best flavor, use a good-quality aged balsamic vinegar,  turbinado sugar, which is a raw cane sugar  such as Sugar in the Raw from Hawaii, and the freshest local strawberries you can find!

Serve these as an appetizer or dessert. And let me know how you like them!

Cathy

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Filed under Appetizer, Berries, Dessert, Sweets

Banana Berry Protein Health Shake

I’ll never forget the first Banana Health Shake I enjoyed many years ago at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC. Since then, I’ve often experimented with making my own breakfast smoothies. For me, coming up with the right combo of ingredients was not just about trying to eat healthier & losing a little weight… it really had to taste great, or I wouldn’t go through all the trouble. I discovered that one of the secret ingredients in Ellen’s shakes was toasted wheat germ. It added a bit of crunch to the shake, which I love, and is also an excellent source of vitamin E & folic acid. For fruit, I use bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. The trick is to freeze the fruit before blending, so that your shakes come out thick & cold. I like to prep about a weeks worth of fresh bananas & strawberries, so that I can make a shake in a matter of minutes. For ease, I use Wymann’s Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries. I also add flax oil because of its high concentration of Omega-3’s.  For protein, I use an all-natural vanilla whey powder, and to get my veggies, I add a scoop of Macro Greens “Nutrient Rich Super Food Supplement.” When my photographer friend Francis first suggested I try Macro Greens, I was a bit leery about adding a veggie supplement. But after trying it, I was sold.  So blend away, and by all means, experiment with different ingredient combinations of whatever makes you sing !

Tips:

– For best flavor, allow bananas to ripen thoroughly before freezing.
– Wild blueberries are higher in antioxidants than cultivated blueberries.
– When fruit is out of season, blend in a packet of stevia, or a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the mix.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 1 ( 18 oz. ) serving

1 cup skim milk
1 heaping scoop of vanilla flavored whey protein powder (about 3 tablespoons)
1 level scoop of Macro Greens (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons flax seed oil
1 tablespoon Mother’s Toasted Wheat Germ
1 packet stevia all-natural sweetener – Sweet Leaf or other brand (optional)
3 tablespoons frozen wild blueberries
5-6 strawberries, frozen
1  banana, peeled and frozen

-Place first 5 ingredients, plus sweetener (if using) into blender; blend for about 15 seconds.
-Add frozen fruit; blend until thick and smooth.

Joe

10 Comments

Filed under Berries, Breakfast, Healthy, Shakes & Smoothies

Blueberry Maple Syrup

Here it is!!!  I am slowly getting my kitchen back, so I was able to develop the syrup recipe.  We photographed it with buttermilk pancakes, but you can use it on a number of things.  I just poured the warm syrup over vanilla bean ice cream!!  Creamy, syrupy, blueberry-ee — so good!!  Serve it over pound cake, fresh fruit, waffles.  You can even use it as a glaze for pork!

Tips:

– Recipe can easily be doubled.

– I think the syrup is best served warm.  Just heat in microwave about 30 seconds on High.

– Ground cinnamon can be optional.  I love it so I put it in everything!  I found out it also has some health benefits —   it can help with blood sugar, clotting issues, soothing an upset stomach, and reducing arthritis pain. Who knew??

– If you don’t have pure maple syrup you can certainly use the imitation maple syrups, which are referred to as  pancake syrup

Here’s the recipe!

Makes about 1 cup syrup

1 container (6 ounces) blueberries , rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

– In small saucepan, place 1/2 cup of the blueberries, and remaining ingredients. Heat over low heat until sugar dissolves, pressing blueberries against side of pan with spoon to crush slightly,  about 4 minutes.

– Pour mixture into a fine strainer which is set over a bowl.  Using back of spoon, press berries to release all the liquid.  Discard the solids.  To the syrup, add remaining blueberries.

– Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use.

C


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Filed under Berries, Breakfast