A Patch of Blue

August 13, 2009

The Blues

The Blues

I think this might be the easiest compote to make, and it doesn’t require any starch or pectin to make a it thick and jammy. Blueberries are the most easy-going of berries. They aren’t fragile or easily crushed. They keep well in the fridge and make for a handy, healthy, antioxidant-loaded snack. They freeze easily. Once they are washed and dried you can tumble them into a freezer bag and pop them into your freezer, no fussing with pre-freezing on a tray first.

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons agave

Put all three ingredients into a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until contents are heated through and blueberries begin to soften and burst. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, now stirring constantly, until compote is hot, thick and bubbling. Remove from heat, compote will continue to thicken as it cools. Keep in a container and store in your fridge. I’ll bet that it won’t last much longer than a few days – just think of the many things you can blob this bluesy compote onto. Cereal. Whisk into a salad dressing. Onto a fruit salad. Have with salmon. Or another protein. Maybe you should make a triple batch, it will freeze beautifully.

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Blueberry Buckle

July 14, 2009

Blueberry Buckle

Fully Loaded

I like to think that this cake is called Blueberry Buckle because it is so laden with blueberries that it is close to buckling from the weight of them. Whatever its name, this old-fashioned coffee cake is moist, and has just the right amount of crunch from the nut and crumb topping. Of course, this cake is in my hot new fashion of being wheat-gluten-sugar-and dairy-free. It’s easy, breezy, cover-worthy Blueberry Buckle, and it’s a cinch to mix together. Once it’s in the oven your kitchen will fill with the fragrance of warm vanilla cake and cinnamon, and there’s almost nothing better than that smell. One more thing, each of these little half-cup cakes contains a quarter cup of blueberries – they are fully loaded.

Makes 6 – 3″ cakes

1 – 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, for pans

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 large egg

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 350ยบ. Prepare six little cake pans, or ceramic ramekins, by greasing with a little olive oil in each and placing on a half-sheet pan. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, and then turn in the blueberries. Set aside, and in a smaller bowl whisk egg with melted coconut oil first, then whisk in almond milk and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and blueberries, and use a rubber spatula to stir and combine together. Drop batter by spoonfuls into your prepared pans or ramekins. If necessary, use dampened fingertips to press the batter evenly into the pans. Set aside while you mix together the crumb topping.

Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup almond flour

2 tablespoons old-fashioned, large flake oatmeal

1 tablespoon virgin coconut flour

1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temperature

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Maldon Salt

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Measure all crumb ingredients except for the pecans into a small bowl. Use your hands or a fork to blend coconut oil and agave into the dry ingredients, then toss in the chopped pecans. This crumb topping is a bit clumpy and damp, not really crumb-like. Anyway, do your best to scatter these clumpy, nutty crumbs over your little cakes. It crisps up and becomes crumbly with the heat of the oven. Bake cakes for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure they all bake up evenly. Check one for doneness with a bamboo skewer – it should emerge batter-free but stained purply-blue. Let cakes sit on a rack until they’ve cooled enough to handle. Run a small knife around the edge of one, upend and knock the little cake out into your hand. Now you could do one of two things – set freshly released cake down and repeat, or eat now, still very warm and jammy, out of your hand.

Navy Blue

Navy Blue

Breakfast for Dinner

July 2, 2009

New and Improved

New and Improved

Yesterday afternoon I came to a screeching stop at a roadside blueberry stand and bought 10 pounds from a very friendly couple. Other than scarfing them down as I drove home I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them first off: blueberry pancakes. Now, pancakes are not my forte, my husband Michael is the resident pancaker in our home. In fact, his pancakes are almost famous. They are flawlessly fluffy, absolutely bursting with scalding blue juices, and positively slathered with butter and dripping with puddles of warm maple syrup. If he ever has you over for pancakes you will be served them one at a time, hot off the griddle. They require some worthwhile waiting. His pancakes are not healthy. So I set about to make some that are at least refined sugar, dairy and gluten-free. And, huge compliment, Michael pronounced them really good. That is high praise and I’m pleased. This is what we had for dinner last night.

Makes 6 – 6″ pancakes

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour

1/4 cup virgin coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon xantham gum

1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 large whole eggs

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon agave nectar

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 – 3 teaspoons coconut oil, for frying

Whisk together dry ingredients and lemon zest in a medium-size bowl. Toss the blueberries in, and stir gently to coat with flour mixture. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs first with melted coconut oil to blend together, then whisk in agave, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine the two together, it doesn’t take much stirring, and be mindful not to crush the blueberries. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron griddle or a frying pan over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Check if your pan is hot enough with a few drops of water, the water will dance and sizzle and then evaporate when your pan is ready. Scoop 1/6 of your pancake batter onto the griddle. The batter is quite thick and you will need to encourage it to flatten into a round-ish shape. After three to four minutes of cooking, or until the edges of your pancake look set, flip over to finish cooking on the other side, about two minutes. By now the blueberries will be close to bursting, so turn onto a plate and repeat until you’ve used all of the batter. You may need to use the remaining two teaspoons of coconut oil to finish cooking the pancakes, I used a teaspoon for every two. I served a stack for each of us with fresh berry compote, but you can do as Michael does and serve them and eat them one at a time, piping hot.

Bright Berry Compote

Bright Berry Compote

Fresh Berry Compote – makes enough for six pancakes

12 fresh strawberries

small handful each fresh raspberries, blueberries, and pitted, halved cherries

1 teaspoon agave nectar

In a small bowl, crush half of the strawberries. Slice the remaining strawberries over top of the crushed ones, and add the rest of the berries and agave. Stir together, and pile on top of hot and healthy pancakes.