baking :: blueberry oatmeal crumble bars

I believe it took living sixteen years here in New England before I realized that blueberry picking was even possible.  Last summer was the first time my daughter and I made the drive up to Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA to try our hand at the pick-your-own blueberry experience.  It was a particularly hot and humid summer day, and as the sweat on my forehead fogged up my sunglasses I wondered why in the world we were even there to begin with!  (It was still fun and worth it … just sweaty!)

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recipe: blueberry chocolate chunk oatmeal pepitas cookies

cookies

I know what you’re thinking …  another oatmeal cookie recipe?!  Yes, the big green mixing bowl has been used to make another delicious oatmeal cookie that I want to share with all of you.  It’s crisp on the outer edges but chewy in the center, and the dried blueberries add a nice texture to it.  Better yet?  You can make this in one bowl and mixing by hand.

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blueberry muffins, redux (a revised recipe)

muffins

Blueberries were on sale at the grocery store this weekend so I grabbed a big container of them with thoughts of making a batch of muffins.  It’s been a while since I used this recipe and when I read through it again, I decided to try making them without adding sugar.  I know that probably sounds crazy but I figured that the sweetened condensed milk should make it sweet enough, and they actually turned out just fine.  So here is a tweaked version of the original minus the sugar.

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blueberry oatmeal bars (a recipe)


I’ve been watching a lot of the Food Network shows lately — I think Ina and Giada are my new best friends.  I saw Giada make some apricot oat bars one morning and decided to try making a batch using things I had on hand, so here’s my rendition with blueberry jam instead of apricots.  It’s a really simple recipe and I think it would work well with any fruit jam you have in stock.  The key thing is to use old fashioned oats and not the instant stuff; she mentioned on the TV show that the instant stuff won’t hold it’s shape once it’s baked.

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brunch at west side lounge (cambridge)


Brunch was totally unintended, really.  We originally left the house in hopes of checking out the new Hi-Rise Bakery location on Mass Ave. but the place was packed and there were no tables or chairs available.  And believe me, when you’re as pregnant as I am, those are two very important things to have when going out.  So we decided to pop over across the street to one of our favorite Cambridge hang outs, West Side Lounge, to see if they were open and to see what they had on their menu.

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sportello (boston)

There are very few things that are better than the combination of beautiful summer weather (think 82 degrees), delicious food, and good company.  I was lucky to have all three today in a lunch outing to Sportello with three lovely coworkers on the last day of Boston’s restaurant week.  One of them, Tara, has a husband (Greg) who just recently got a job there so it was a great reason to escape the office to dine at one of my favorite restaurants.

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blueberry muffins (a recipe)

Luckily, one fruit (and a berry nonetheless!) that I can eat are blueberries.  These are actually kind of sticky muffins and that’s because I used sweetened condensed milk in this recipe.  So if you like rich and sweet muffins, definitely give this recipe a try!

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i made a blueberry cheesecake

I don’t know why but I had been craving cheesecake for a little while. It’s not something we have often during the year, and I think I’ve only made 3 or 4 times in my life. There’s something a little daunting about it to me for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m afraid it will crack down the middle while it cooks. Or if it’s because you usually have to use a spring form pan to make it, and I have this nightmarish scene in my head of going to pick up the pan and the bottom completely falling out. But blueberries were on sale at the store (buy one get one free) so I decided to try my hand at making one last weekend.

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layered blueberry cake

I saw a recipe/article in a recent issue of the Rachael Ray magazine where the woman baked a cake in a large jelly roll pan so that it was really thin and only took about 15 minutes to bake. I decided to give it a try and brought it to work for a picnic lunch at work on Friday. I was a bit skeptical about the recipe because it only called for 1/2 a cup of flour and that just seemed way too low to me. Instead, I went with a cake recipe from the How to Cook Everything cookbook by Mark Bittman (you all know how much I heart this cookbook!) and I think it turned out great. Super easy to put together and the flavors are so refreshing for warm and sunny summer days.

Ingredients for the cake:

2 cups of flour
2 -1/4 tsps baking powder
4 eggs
1-1/4 sticks of butter (room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cups of milk
½ tsp salt
1 pint of blueberries

Directions for the cake:

Beat the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until it’s smooth, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the sugar, extracts, salt, and baking powder and mix well. Then alternate adding the flour and milk until it’s all blended together well. Add ½ of the blueberries, then pour it out into a buttered and floured jelly roll pan (I put a sheet of parchment paper on top of the pan which made it much easier to clean up later).

My batter didn’t reach all of the edges which was fine because I ended up trimming the edges anyway when I cut out the rectangles, and it made for good snacking. Hee hee. Oh and bake it in a 350 oven for 15-18 minutes (I started with 15 minutes but it wasn’t quite brown enough on top). Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then cut it into rectangles. Transfer the rectangles to a cooling rack and let them completely cool before icing.

Icing ingredients:

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)
½ cup of prepared lemon curd (I like the Dickinson’s brand)
½ cup of sugar

Directions:

Blend all three ingredients until smooth. Then spread the love.

I stored the cake in my cake carrier with the lid on in the refrigerator overnight, and then let it thaw out to room temperature before we cut into it at lunch time (around 12:30 pm). The cake stayed nice and moist that way vs. the piece that I made for my husband that I put in the fridge without anything covering it. The cake got tougher overnight, but it was still yummy.

I can see using this technique of layering with different fillings in the future for other fun cake ideas. It really is pretty quick to put together from start to finish. Enjoy!

blueberry bread pudding

I stopped by the farmer’s market near Harvard Yard after work today and picked up another crate of freshly picked blueberries, plus three ears of corn for Tony to enjoy tomorrow night. Dang stupid corn allergy! These look so yummy!

Last week, I bought a really long loaf of French bread that we only managed to eat half of. So I thought I’d try to figure out how to make bread pudding with the hardened loaf tonight. I Googled for a recipe and basically came up with this one by combining a couple of them and based on what I had on hand. It actually came out really good! 🙂

Here’s a shot of what it looked like before I put it in the oven:

And what it looked like after. Not very pretty actually since the blueberries kind of exploded. But it tastes much better than it looks!