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Posts Tagged ‘Blueberries’

Melanie is a dear, sweet friend of mine, who also happens to teach at Cherry Blossom Yoga. Her son, Dylan.. a growing lad of 17..likes his tasty goodness. And like any good mother, she prefers those tasty treats be healthy tasty goodness’s. Her first treat for the onset of school was the Chocolate Zucchini Cake in cuppie form. So now that I’ve returned to the land of plenty..well, the land of plenty hot – i.e. Houston TX – I can now return to that wonderful thing referred to by these innocent primates as ‘crack jam!’ Otherwise known as New Cannan Farms Blueberry Jam. And now that I have access to it anytime I like, I feel the need to exploit the blueberries in all their jammy-goodness glory. I altered this recipe a bit from that standard classic cookbook, Veganomicon.. using Hemp milk in place of soy, organic white whole wheat flour in place of AP, and Coconut oil in place of canola (thank you Melanie for that inspiration, of which you weren’t even aware! but when you asked if Coconut oil would be good in the Chocolate Zucchini cake, I just knew I had to try something with coconut oil..and it was time to accept my adulthood and move on to bigger and better oils. Now I just need to go back and make my lemon popper pies with Coconut oil in the crust, thank you Marika for that one!)…but I digress. This recipe makes 16 thick and delicious brownies (1 – 8X8 pan).

Ingredients:

2/3 C plus 1/2 C semisweet vegan chocolate chips
10.7 oz blueberry jam (the original recipe called for 10 oz, but my jar was 10.7 oz)
1/4 C hemp milk (or other milk alternative)
1/2 C Demerara turbinado sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C canola, safflower, or coconut oil
2.5 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 C Organic White Whole Wheat flour
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 8X8 pan with parchment.
2. Melt the 2/3 C chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat (or in a double-boiler) – reserving the 1/2 C as whole chips. Use a rubber spatula to stir until melted. **If melting without a double-boiler, keep a close eye so as not to burn the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare everything else.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the jam, milk, sugars, oil, and extract. Mix by hand with a large, sturdy whisk (or wooden spoon), or use an electric mixer..but really, you don’t need any extra power beyond yourself – depending on the jam you use, of course.
4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with wooden spoon until well mixed. **If you use a whisk, things could clump up inside of it..making it hard to lick the mixing apparatus, for quality control, when done.
5. Mix in the melted chocolate. Fold in the remaining 1/2 C chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the baking pan – you’ll have to spread it. It won’t be as runny as traditional “animal-filled” brownies, but it won’t be as thick as other vegan brownie recipes. And it will spread a little during baking, so it doesn’t need to be perfect going into the oven.
6. Bake for 45 minutes. You can do the poke test, but be aware the chocolate chips may make it appear as if it’s not done…so test wisely.

Serve to any growing athlete or hungry brownie-lover in your life. I apologize for the lack of cross-section photo..they were eaten too fast to get a cut shot! I suppose that means I’ll have to make them again..damn the bad luck 😉


Happy Baking!

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Devil w a Blueberry Dress On2I am deeply sorry for the unexpected hiatus from posting this week! Unfortunately life can get in the way of more enjoyable activities like posting yummy recipes for all of you who take time to visit the Primate.. 🙂 I’m working on some stuff that will totally blow off your bamboo bobby socks, so hopefully all will soon be forgiven. Until then, I want to share a smoothie – something I haven’t given you in a while! This recipe makes about 16 ounces, which gives you the option of sharing or enjoying a large smoothie all by yourself!

Ingredients:Devil w a Blueberry Dress On1

2 C blueberries (1C fresh, 1C frozen)
3-4 mango chunks
1/4-1/2 tsp minced ginger
2-3 TBSP So Delicious Coconut Milk beverage – otherwise abbreviated as CM beverage, right Penny 😉

Directions:

Place fruit and ginger in a blender and purée until smooth; adding a TBSP at a time of the coconut milk to facilitate the blending process.

Happy Blending!!

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inaug. sugar cookies6It’s holiday time again, and that means another menu to inspire your 4th of July festivities. Since I’m spending the fourth in DC..I’m feeling rather patriotic. So here’s a few ideas to help you celebrate our Independence, while simultaneously celebrating your own independence from animal cruelty. There are some obvious choices because of color scheme (blueberry tart), but I’ve also listed some traditional All-American classics like chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Hope this inspires!

Hannah’s Potato Salad
PotatoSalad

Ice Cream Trio – Blueberry, Strawberry, and White Chocolate
Chocolate Chip cookies (or if you’re at altitude)
Sugar cookies (colored for the occasion)
Margaritas and/or Lemonade

Various salsas, naturally: Pico de gallo, Roasted corn, Tomatillo

*Don’t forget the chips for the salsas!

blueberry tart5

Happy Fourth of July!

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blueberries&cream3This is an ice cream recipe that I’ve been making for ages…of course, pregan I used heavy cream. But I find it to be even more enjoyable using coconut milk! Putting a scoop of this ice cream with scoops of White Chocolate gelato and Strawberry Fields Forever, and you’ve got a tasty and patriotic dessert! Sprinkle with nuts and/or fresh berries…mmm, delicious! This recipe makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

2 C fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
3/4 C water
2/3 C agave nectar
1 C coconut milk (or about 1 can)
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a small lemon)

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, nectar, and berries to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, set aside (for up to 30 minutes – the longer it steeps the richer the blueberry flavor).
2. Transfer berry mixture to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Strain into a bowl, unless you want to keep the blueberry skins in there for a little texture. Add in coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
3. Transfer to an ice cream maker an freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Move to a container and freeze for at least 1 hour to let it set up. This will stay good in the freezer up to 3 days.blueberries&cream1blueberries&cream2

 

Happy Freezing!

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Another exciting culinary adventure during my short trip to Houston was to make blueberry scones from blueberries acquired at the Farmer’s Market – yeah, it surprised me too that they still had some, and that they still tasted good..of course, Houston is pretty much a ‘year-round’ summer spot so who knows.. Anyway, instead of making scones like I normally do, cutting them into cute little triangles, I decided to take a route inspired by Jennifer over at Small Space Sweets. She made my french puff muffins and turned them into drop scones, and ever since I’ve been wanting to do drop scones. I followed our blueberry scone recipe, but I also decided to add in a tablespoon of blueberry ‘crack’ jam – Jo and I call it crack jam, because this jam is by far the BEST blueberry jam either of us have EVER tasted! EVER! It is so addictive, like crack! It provides a multi-blueberry experience, thus Double-Blueberry..

1 batch blueberry scones
1 TBSP blueberry jam

Directions:

1. When making the batter, add in 1 TBSP of blueberry jam. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto a lined baking sheet or stoneware. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until done.
2. Let cool on baking sheet, serve warm.

Happy Baking!

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Want a boost the health of your skin? Want to boost your energy? Well, this juice (adapted from The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies) will do both with two simple ingredients! Blueberries and Peaches!! Two of my favorite fruits combined into one yummy juice – of course, you could always opt for a nectarine in place of the peach if you’re not a peach fan…and still get all the goods for your energy level and skin appeal. This juice also helps with immunity and it gets a 1-star for digestion (on a scale of 5-star for skin and immunity). It’s also chock full of nutrients: beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and sulphur. Whew…that was a mouthful! You could also play around with different berries, such as straw or rasp! Even a blackberry would be good blended in. If you want a thicker, smoothie appeal – toss in a banana (frozen or room temp)! The recipe makes one 8oz drink, so feel free to double!

Ingredients:

1 peach or nectarine, pitted and chopped
1.5 (women-sized) handfuls of blueberries (or 1 man-sized)

Directions:

Blend together in a blender…strain if blueberry skins bother you, or not, whatever.

Happy Juicing!

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Now, if you don’t know that song..look it up! Stat! Fats Domino playing in the background, a cup of morning tea, and a warm blueberry scone – it doesn’t get much better! If he wasn’t singing about some lovely lady, he might have surely been singing about these scones! At the Farmers Market this weekend, I procured the second BEST blueberries ever! Second only to a batch I bought from an Omish stand at the FM a few years back – they were that good, I remember them years later…mmmm… But I digress. I almost didn’t want to do anything with these blueberries but eat them by the handfuls. I was strong and persevered. I made these lovely blueberry scones!! So moist and delicious..hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 C oat flour
1 C pastry flour (*or just use all oat flour)
1/2 C brown sugar
2 TBSP baking powder
2 TBSP almond meal *optional
2 TBSP flaxseed *optional
1/4 tsp salt
1 C fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/4 C canola oil
3/4 to 1.25 C oat (or hemp) milk, chilled
1 TBSP lemon extract
turbinado for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients, including berries, in a large bowl.
2. Add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined – resist the urge to overmix.
3. Dump out dough onto floured work surface and cut into triangles. Sprinkle tops with a bit of turbinado sugar.
4. Let dough rest while oven preheats to 400 F. Bake 12-15 min. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

*Note: With the addition of flaxseed, you get a dose of omegas – so it’s not essential to the recipe, but gives it an extra health-boost! The addition of almond meal gives a nice ‘buttery’ appeal about them..again, optional if you don’t have any on hand – not essential, but adds an extra dimension to the scone! For gluten-free, use buckwheat or other gluten-free flour. And for more info on the nutritional benefits of blueberries, check this out!

Happy Baking!

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Continuing with all things mini and July being blueberry month…I made my famous blueberry tart – mini-sized!! Oh, I can’t believe how cute it came out. I prepared the tart dough, and then the next day – when I went to roll it out, I thought – WAIT!…I have miniature tart pans! Why not make tiny tarts instead of the usual normal sized tart?! And I’m so glad I did!!! Just looking at them makes me smile with miniature excitement… The tart dough recipe is adapted from the Classic Home Desserts cookbook, as is the blueberry tart recipe. In the shell list of ingredients, I went ahead and posted the amounts for 2 shells (in the parentheses) if you’re looking for a new pie/tart crust recipe for other pies. The directions below are for a normal 9-inch tart (serves about 8 ), but the 1 shell comes out perfect for about 22-24 mini tarts, and I reduced the amount of filling by half, and I was a few shells shy of filling – that’s ok because some of my mini tart shells weren’t greased properly so I couldn’t get the shell out of the pan. I plan to turn them into crumbly goodness atop some blueberry sorbet!! You could also opt to make the whole batch of filling, and use the remaining as a blueberry spread on scones or biscuits.. or toast.. or coconut ice cream.. or anything you can imagine to spread blueberries on!

Ingredients:

1 shell (quantity for 2 shells):
1.5 (2.5) C buckwheat (for gluten-free) or AP flour
2 (4) TBSP sugar
pinch (1/4 tsp) salt
1/2 (1) C cold butter, cut into pieces
3 (5) TBSP ice water

Blueberry Tart
Rich tart dough for 1 shell
3 pints fresh (or frozen if so inclined) blueberries, picked over
1/4 C cold water
2/3 C sugar, or less, depending on the berries’ sweetness
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon

Directions:

1. Make the dough: If making the dough by hand, sift together the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter with 2 knives, pastry cutter, or fingertips, until the mixture is the texture of crumbly meal. *This can also be done in a food processor – pulsing briefly until crumbly. Add the liquid gradually and process just until the dough begins to clump together.

2. Sprinkle 3 TBSP of the liquid over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the pastry just comes together. Add more liquid if necessary, but do not moisten the dough too much. Gather the pastry together in a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and chill for at least 1 hour before rolling out.

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large circle about 1/8-inch thick. Fit it, without stretching, into a lightly buttered 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim off the excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. Tuck in the overhang, pressing the edges of the dough against the sides of the tart pan to form a high, smooth border. Chill the tart shell while you preheat the oven to 400 F.


4. Line the pastry with a sheet of lightly buttered foil, buttered side down. Weigh down the foil with dried beans, rice or pie weights (with the mini tart I didn’t have to weigh them down or cover them); place the tart pan on a heavy baking sheet. Bake on a center rack until the sides are set, 8-10 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Continue to bake the shell, pricking any air bubbles with a fork, until the dough is golden and baked through, 10-13 minutes longer. Cool the tart shell on a wire rack. For minis: Just bake uncovered for 8-10 minutes, then remove to cool.
5. Make the filling: Combine about 2 C of the blueberries with the cold water in a heavy nonreactive sacuepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, use a fork to stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Use a zester or vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon; reserve a few long, thin strands of zest for garnish. Finely chop the remaining zest and add it to the sugar mixture. Juice the lemon, and stir the juice into the sugar mixture; add this mixture to the berries. Boil gently, uncovered stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes. You want it to not come back together immediately when you scrape the pan with a spoon….


6. Set aside about 1 C of the nicest looking blueberries. Stir the remaining uncooked berries into the cooled berry mixture. Pour the blueberry mixture into the tart shell, mounding it carefully. Top with an even layer of the reserved uncooked berries and garnish with a few strands of the reserved lemon zest. Chill covered with plastic wrap, if not serving immediately.


7. If the tart was chilled longer than 30 minutes, remove it from the fridge a few minutes before serving. Gently remove the tart from the rim of the pan. Top each slice (or mini-tart) with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

**Note: Just be aware that if you use the buckwheat flour for gluten-free goodness, it’ll have a ‘healthier’ taste to the crust, than it would if it was an all-purpose flour. So if you’re wanting something that has that bad-for-you appeal, use AP…but if you want to feel like you’re doing your body some good by eating dessert, use buckwheat or even a whole wheat if you can have gluten!

Happy Baking!

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Here’s an alternate to Jo’s Cashew-Raspberry icing…Blueberry-Almond! I made the Basic Vanilla Cupcake with Lemony variation recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but turned it into a mini-cake and slathered this luscious icing all over it. You know, a 12-cupcake recipe makes a perfect 3-layer mini-cake (and look how cute they are!). I also tend to like my icings a bit sweeter than Jo (of course it could’ve also been due to the almond meal addition that I needed more sweetness), so I increased the nectar to 1/2 C instead of 1/4 C. Adding the almond meal helped make the frosting a bit thicker than I imagine Jo’s was. Once it was chilled it was perfect – but I’m still gonna tinker to make it pipe-able.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 C raw slivered almonds
1/3 C almond meal
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C raw agave
1 pint farmer’s market blueberries (about 1 2/3 C)

Directions:

1. Place almonds and almond meal in food processor. Blend until finely processed.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and yummy.


3. Chill 20 minutes.
4. Ice cake with initial layer.


5. Chill cake and icing another 40 minutes before final frosting of cake. As you can see, in the pure sunlight, the frosting takes on a more blueish, less purple hue.


6. Refrigerate iced cake overnight – if you can make it that long.

*Of note: I don’t know why the cake came out so dense – it has never done that in cupcake form. Perhaps I should tinker with cooking temp and time (I of course cooked it longer, but still at 350), and when I poked it with a knife, it came out clean. But as you can see in the pic, the centers are pretty dense. Of course, it took on the consistency of a ‘half-baked’ variety. Perhaps there’s some future ice cream concoction brewing in my brain with this dense ‘half-baked’ appeal!

Happy Baking and Frosting!

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I am just tickled blue that July is the month of the blueberry! I can’t wait to make my ever-popular blueberry tart, a blueberry smoothie, blueberry bran muffins/loaves, blueberry-almond icing on lemon cake, oh the list goes on and on… I realize we’re at the middle of the month, but it’s never to late to discuss the health benefits of noshing on the tiny blue fruit!

Historically, blueberry juice was used to treat coughs, as a relaxant during childbirth, and diarrhea (treated by the anthocyanins combating the intestinal bacteria). We’ve all heard about the antioxidant properties of blueberries, and for those of you fighting cholesterol, blueberries contain large amounts of pectin which has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol.

Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are high in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene – but studies have shown that most of the C is lost upon freezing or canning, so get them fresh if you can!

But it’s still good to eat them even if they’re frozen or canned.. Blueberries are also high in potassium, manganese, and magnesium.

Let’s take a look at a few of the individual molecular components:

Anthocyanins create the blue color in blueberries. Anthocyanins are antioxidants, known to reduce heart disease and cancer in humans – remember, we’ve also seen these in cherries. They are found throughout the plant world, but blueberries are the highest of any fruit or vegetable. This substance is believed to combat E. coli.

Chlorogenic acid is another antioxidant which may also slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal – this could help to alleviate that hyperglycemic rush after a large and engourging meal, as well as help prevent the hypoglycemic crash destined to follow; helps keep things at an even keel. Chlorogenic acid’s antioxidant properties may also help fight damaging free radicals.

Catechins’ (also found in green tea) antioxidant effect is believed to diminish the formation of plaque in the arteries. And with less plaque in the arteries, the more room for your blood to flow happily through your circulatory system, ergo reducing blood pressure. Further research is being done to see if they combat and/or suppress cancerous tumors and cell proliferation, but to date no evidence is solid.

Resveratrol is a substance that is produced by several plants (also found in the skins of red grapes, which are used to make wine). A number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, anti-viral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and life-prolonging effects have been reported for this substance. Resveratrol is also found in peanuts, and other berries of Vaccinium species including bilberries and cranberries.

Oxalates are the one possible negative aspect of blueberries. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems, and slow the absorption of calcium into the system. But that’s no reason to have a handful of blueberries as a snack!

There are current studies world-wide to determine further effects on health and many believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, and aid the cardiovascular system. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all, but looking at the list of phytochemicals in the blueberry, I am eager to eat them for health as well as pleasure.

Check this link for further nutritional info on blueberries in the raw!

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