Sometimes You Just Need a Bowl of Dumplings

Blueberry Dumplings

Blueberry Dumplings

Blueberry dumplings. Yum. So easy. And so yummy. And such a great way to use up a lot of blueberries.

We had some blueberries that were dangerously close to be too old and that meant – dumplings! I’ve made this recipe before but it really is a solid recipe. It’s very easy to put together, requires very few ingredients, and you basically mix it together and set your timer.

Be sure that you have some vanilla ice cream on hand.  The ice cream melts almost instantly and adds a creamy texture and some extra flavor.

 

Easy Dessert – Macerated Strawberries

After I made the summer trifle, I had some leftovers to take care of.  I had a leftover angel food cake and many strawberries.  Now, in this house, we go through a lot of berries but strawberries tend to hang around too long….and then you’re stuck with a box of moldy strawberries.  Ick.  An easy way to solve this problem is by macerating the strawberries.  If you do an internet search, you are likely to find some very involved recipes for macerated strawberries using salt, pepper, wine, and who-knows-what-else.  I have found, however, that the only thing that you need sugar.

Step 1: Prep your strawberries.  You want them to be close to the same size.

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Step 2: Cover the strawberry slices with sugar.

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Step 3: Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple hours.  Overnight is even better.

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Step 4: The sugar and the juices from the strawberries combine to make a delicious sauce to drizzle over the angel food cake.  Yum!

Macerated strawberries + angel food cake = super easy dessert

Macerated strawberries + angel food cake = super easy dessert

So many blueberries….

So, just like last summer, we have managed to have an abundance of blueberries in our house. We still have a several bags of frozen blueberries in our freezer that I’ve been slowly trying to get rid of. But now, we also have several pints of blueberries in the fridge.

I decided it was time for some blueberry cobbler.  I found this recipe on  Food Network and decided to give it  try.

It was super easy and quick to put together (which is always a plus if you are planning on turning on the oven when Weather.com says that it is 100 degrees outside).  I changed the recipe up a bit by adding more blueberries than were called for and I also added a splash of orange juice.  Why?  I want to use up as many berries as possible and orange juice is yummy with blueberries.

Usually, I don’t fiddle around with baking recipes too much because baking is based on chemistry that I don’t actually understand and I am usually pretty worried that whatever I add will actually alter the chemical reactions somehow.  This time, however, I figured that even if it didn’t look good it would still taste ok.

The results?

The look is a little different from other cobblers because it is so full of blueberries.  Since there isn’t as much space for the dough, it didn’t have the chance to get very golden on top.

But the taste?

I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for the addition of orange juice.  The cobbler is nice and sweet from the blueberries and the sugar but it also has a nice bit of tartness from the orange juice.  This actually turned out quite nicely.

What do you do when you have an abundance of summer berries?

The Simplicity of Summer Food

I love summer vegetables and summer fruit.  Not only do they always instantly remind me of the warm summer months, but they rarely require that you do anything to them for them to be delicious.  Fresh cherries are rarely better than right out of the bowl.  A zucchini sliced up and lightly sauteed or thrown on the grill?  Delicious.  I usually feel like it is best to keep summer foods as simple as possible.  Plus, who wants to turn on the stove when it’s this hot?

Recently, in our CSA, we received a lot of raspberries.  I love raspberries.  I love love love raspberries.  They are completely perfect on their own.  However, in order to keep me from simply eating them all on their own in one sitting (and I know that I am perfectly capable of doing just that) I decided to dress them up a bit.

Pudding?  Check.  Pile of raspberries?  Check.  Dessert, breakfast, and snack?  Check.

Pudding + raspberries = perfection

Baking My Way Through Baked – Recipe #11

For the next recipe that I made from Baked, I decided to go outside of the breakfast chapter….while still making something for breakfast.  The Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bar looked quite delicious.  Anything with raspberries in it is automatically delicious.

There were a couple changes that I made to the actual recipe.  First, I hate getting out equipment that I don’t feel like I need.  That’s why I rarely ever use the food processor.  Sometimes, a food processor is necessary.  Sometimes, it’s just another thing to have to wash.  I felt like this time, it was the latter.  So, I used a pastry cutter instead.

No extra equipment to wash. Crust comes out the same.

I also made a change with the amount of sugar that was added to the raspberry filling.  I knew that I would need to use frozen raspberries since it would be a bit difficult to find a pound of fresh raspberries.  However, I was not able to find plain frozen raspberries.

Sugar added. No plain frozen raspberries to be found.

These bars looked really great when they were done.

Mmmmmmmm

But, I had trouble believing that they were going to cut really easily once they had simply cooled.  Once cooled, they still seemed kind of squishy.  So, I waited to cut them until they had been in the refrigerator overnight.

Yummy!

These turned out really nicely.  They were really easy to make and they weren’t too sweet.  I will definitely be making these again.

The best breakfast food is dessert

I love traditional breakfast food. I love waffles and biscuits & gravy (especially when my mom makes biscuits & gravy). I love cereal. However, I love breakfast food even more when it is lunch or dinner.

The one type of food that I have never had trouble eating for breakfast is dessert.  I can’t explain it.  It doesn’t really make sense.  It’s not a well-balanced breakfast.  But, it is fantastic.

I made blueberry dumplings for dessert last night.  You can find the recipe that I used here.  It’s very easy and incredibly delicious.  (I also added the juice of one lemon to the blueberries although the recipe doesn’t call for it.)  It also helped us to use up some of the bags and bags of blueberries that we have in the freezer.  We had one dumpling leftover and a ton of blueberry sauce.  So, I had my breakfast for today planned last night.

Breakfast

Yummy! Tart!

Although I do love pie, tarts always seem a bit fancier and a bit more summery. Perhaps because you can see the filling and the berries that you used and it has that lovely glaze on top.  And tarts can elegantly stand on their own instead of being stuck in a pie plate.

We have a ton of fruits and berries in the house from Green City Market and from our CSA. I knew it was time for a tart. Luckily, the June issue of Martha Stewart Living had an entire section of tart recipes. Although they all look very tasty, it seems as though most tart recipes are just variations on the standard: buttery crust, pudding-like filling, fruit.

So, even though the temperature was going to go into the 90s again, I got everything together and prepped myself for a really really hot kitchen.  (It would be awesome if the next place that we lived in had central air.  That would be awesome.  Really really awesome.)

The finished tart really is one of the prettiest things that I’ve ever baked:

Sometimes You Just Want to Get a Little Help

There’s a phrase that is used frequently on cooking shows. For dessert “you can get a little help from the store.” It is usually said in a manner so that it sounds like an apology. However, I don’t really understand that. Yes, I could turn on the stove when it’s really hot outside and we only have air conditioning in one room. Yes, I could start sweating into a pot on the stove. Or, I could pick up a few items from the store and put together a nice dessert. If you do this, the key is to buy the best items that you can. Read labels. Compare pricing. You don’t have to feel guilty because you wanted a dessert and it felt like 105 degrees in the kitchen. It’s ok to get a little help from the store.  You don’t need to apologize.

Ryan and I were out of the apartment all weekend. I managed to unpack most of the suitcases when we got home. I threw all of the laundry into a giant pile that I would get to eventually. It had been a great weekend but now we were both exhausted. The conversation, as usual, turned to what we were going to have for dinner. He was going to roast garlic and several types of vegetables. I knew that I wanted a dessert but really didn’t want to bake anything and I didn’t want to just grab something that was entirely pre-made from the bakery section of the grocery store. So, I decided to improvise.

I bought an angel food cake from the bakery section and I picked up a couple jars of lemon curd. After browsing through the berries, I grabbed a couple containers of raspberries.

When we got home, I cut the angel food cake into three sections as though it were a layer cake. I added a layer of lemon curd and then a layer of berries. I then topped it with a second cake layer and repeated the process.  It was very hot in the kitchen but I guessed that this would actually help with the cake because the lemon curd would smooth out nicely.  The raspberries and the lemon curd both had some time to seep into the cake a bit before we ate it.

A layer of lemon curd

Top with berries

Repeat and top with last cake layer

I figured that this would taste good for three reasons. 1) Angel food cake is delicious until it reaches the point in which it is as hard as a rock. 2) Lemon curd is fantastic on any light bread or cake items and is incredibly delicious in the summer. 3) Raspberries. That is all. Raspberries.

The verdict:

Delicious!  The lemon curd is just lemony enough so that it does not overwhelm the berries.  Ryan suggested mashing the berries a bit next time.  I think that that would help the berries to seep into the cake layers a bit more.  I might try this out with different types of berries.  I think blueberries might be tasty but Ryan doesn’t like blueberries so someone else would have to help me to eat it.  Or else I will just have to finish it off by myself.  That is also a possibility.