Friday, June 10, 2011

An Abundance of Blueberries

Blueberries on my board
With the blueberries abundant, I can't resist buying several pints to play with. A few of these deep sapphire gems are made into Blueberry Chutneys to transform a humble roast chicken, duck or pork loin from the simple to simply stunning. Naturally, Blueberry Jams are put up as well to spread onto my toast and French toast. Some end up frozen on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then placed into zip-lock freezer bags once they are completely frozen for later uses, such as my Aunt Doris' Blueberry Pie that I tasted on my first trip to Maine as a boy. I tell this story often, but I can never pop a blueberry into my mouth without thinking of that time. With her down-home Maine accent she asked, "Joe, have another slice of blueberry pie?" "Oh, Aunt Doris I can't. I'm so full." Looking at me over the top of her horn-rimmed glasses, she said with that dry Maine sense of humor that I love so much, "Ayuh, watchin’ ya girlish figyah?"  Aunt Doris and Blueberries always go together in my mind.
The following is a recipe I’ve adapted for all times of the year, but I especially like it in the Summer as a foil for berries and stone fruit of all kinds. Try it with lime zest and topped with grilled pineapple in the Summer with barely whipped lime-scented cream. Absolutely incredible and the possibilities are endless. It’s quite a simple cake and I’ve given you variety by adjusting the citrus to your liking at the moment.
The finished cake simply dusted
Lemon Olive Oil Cake

1½ Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Salt
3 Eggs, large
1 Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Plain Yoghurt
3 Lemons, zested*
¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil**

Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack positioned in the center. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan and prepare a parchment circle for the bottom and oil that as well within the pan.
Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until pale yellow and thickened. Add yoghurt and zest and combine well. With mixer on medium speed, add oil in a quick, steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until blended. Be careful not to over beat the mixture or the cake will become “tough”.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until cake is golden and center springs back to the touch. The edges will have pulled away from pan, 40 to 45 minutes. When done, turn off the oven and open the door with the cake resting on the rack for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and continue cooling on a cake rack. Cool completely before serving.
* 2 Oranges may be substituted for the lemons. Alternately, 4 limes zested works well too or any combination.

Jam and Vin Santo

1 Pint of Blueberries, washed and picked over
1 Tbl. Jam or Preserves of Your Choice
1 Tbl. Vin Santo or Brandy

Toss all of the ingredients together and serve on top of slices of Lemon Olive Oil Cake, pound cake or with Greek yoghurt.
Simple Goodness

**Choose a mild tasting olive oil. Something delicate, velvety with a low acidity, like an Espuny from Spain. I buy mine at Williams-Sonoma.

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