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    Entries in berries (16)

    Tuesday
    Jul242012

    Blue Corn Berry Muffins

    Well, I had to do it. I had to make something else in the muffin tin to see if it was totally bitched.

    And one of the small veggie places that seems to specialize in local and as-close-as-possible foods had giant vats of blueberries on sale. So of course, blueberry muffins. And blueberry smoothies. And blueberries with yogurt and granola...

    Just the muffins in this post.

    Now, those of you who've never seen me in meatspace propbably don't know that I have some issues with colour. For a lot of years I wore a lot of black because I'm just not good at matching things. Warm colours? Cool colours? Wut? Eventually I gave up and just started wearing green pants with a blue tshirt and red sneakers. Monochormatic outfits are my friend.

    And so I decided to make blueberry muffins using blue masa. Monochromatic breakfasts.

    Don't worry, Canada Customs didn't know what blue masa was either when I brought it back across the border.

    Masa is nixtamalized cornmeal. It's cornmeal treated with an alkali in order to make the vitamins in the cornmeal available. It also make the proteins in corn usable by humans. And if you mix corn, squash, and beans in one dish, you end up with a perfectly complete source of protein.

    Of course blue masa is just masa made from blue corn. If you've never had it, it's totally awesome. Tastes mostly the same, but dude! It's freaking blue!

    Think about it... naturally occuring blue stuff is pretty rare. Even moreso is naturally occuring blue food.

    Blue Corn Blue Berry Muffins

    What You Need

    • 2 c blue masa
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 c cream and or milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 c honey
    • 1/2 c melted butter
    • plus a bit more butter for greasing the muffin tin
    • blueberries!

    What you gotta do:

    So, we're going to start this off by souring our cream and or milk. If you have buttermilk, use it, and skip this step. I never have buttermilk. For some reason the smallest container I can find of it is 1 litre, and I will never use 1 L of buttermilk before it manages to go bad. Hell, half the time I can't use a litre of regular milk before it sours.

    You can sour your milk / cream by adding lemon juice to it.

    Then, in your biggest bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and add the lemon zest.

    The rest of this goes pretty quickly, so preheat your oven to 400 and melt some butter to grease your muffin tin (or line it with papers).

    To your soured cream, add the vanilla and honey.

    1/4 cup isn't a lot of honey, no. But you'll be loading these muffins with super sweet berries so you don't really need the sugar sweetness. You can add more if you'd like, but these work for me.

    Plus, if you only use 1/4 cup in the batter you have an excuse to drizzle the muffins with honey when you eat them. ;)

    Add the eggs and the melted butter. 

    Beat this liquidy stuff all together and then pour it into the dry stuff.

    Mix the two until they're just combined and then dump in the berries. At least 2 cups.

    Fold the blueberries in gently and then fill your cups with them.

    You should be able to generously fill all 12 spots with fabulously blue batter.

    Bake them for about 20 minutes, but maybe start checking around 18. You don't want these overdone. Cornbread can seem really dry if it's overbaked.

    Nothing a little butter and honey won't solve though.

    Full of explodey blue goodness.

    Let them cool a good 10 minutes in the pan before you try extracting them. If your pan is fine, you should have no problems.

    Mine was not. They totally stuck to the sides and the bottom. Just as bad as the quiches did. Pan is bitched.

    But, I'm damn good at getting stuck things out of pans, and with my trusty paring knife and spoon, I was able to do this.

    Not pretty, but it's out.

    These are best eaten the day they were made, as with all cornbread, but if you do package and freeze them, just remember to bring along some butter and honey to go with them.

    I've got honey in my desk drawer at work.

    What have you got stashed in your drawers at work?

    Friday
    Jul062012

    A Berry Summery Salad

    After last week’s Ricotta Filled Strawberries, I had a bunch of berries left over, which was good, because with the temperatures still in triple digits, I’m not turning on anything in the house that might generate heat, and berries are a great way to make a salad more interesting.  I can hear Seeley grumbling now.  She doesn’t think berries belong in a green salad.  Well, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that one.  This salad is fabulous, and berries bring the perfect sweet tart juicy goodness to the mix. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Lettuce
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Crumbled feta
    • Nut clusters
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Olive oil
    • Salt & pepper

    Personally, I can’t stand prewashed and processed lettuce in a bag.  If you like it, go for it, but I think it’s worth chopping your own.  That being said, lettuce really has to be washed well.  See all the dirt in there? 

    The best way to wash lettuce is to chop it into manageable pieces and then put it into a lot of water so it has plenty of room to be swished about.  I happen to have a salad spinner, which, if you make salad more than about once a year, is a must have, I think. 

    I’m pretty sure I hear Seeley grumbling again… something about “Where the hell am I going to put a salad spinner?”  Well, if it helps any, it doubles as a salad bowl when you take the strainer part out, and you could use it as a storage bowl for just about anything.  Anyway, I rinsed my lettuce 3 times to make sure all the sand was gone.  You can do that in a large bowl or even in a sink full of water.  This next part, however, you can’t do with a regular bowl.  Pop the lid on.

    And let ‘er rip! 

    Look at all the water that came off.  It must have been at least ½ cup.  I’ve heard of people putting the wet lettuce into a pillow case and spinning that by hand, but in my hands, that would just be dangerous. 

    Next up is the dressing.  For this salad, we’re making a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.  Drop 4 large-ish strawberries into your blender or food processor.  It won’t be enough substance to make a puree just yet, but small chunks are fine at this point. 

    Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

    Now you should be able to get a pretty good puree.  Then, with the blender still running on a low speed, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of olive oil. 

    Ok, dressing’s done.  How easy was that?  Now onto the berries.  How many you need, depends on the size of your salad.  For 1 whole head of lettuce, you’ll probably want about a cup of each.  Just rinse the blueberries, and then chop the strawberries into blueberry sized pieces. 

    Next are the nuts.  I absolutely love these cashew clusters from Costco.  They make a fabulous snack, so why not use them in a salad?

    The only problem is, they’re a little big, so you’ll want to chop them up a bit.  You can, of course, substitute any kind of nuts you’d like. 

    Personally, I like my salad tossed.  It just isn’t that much work, and it’s so much better that way.  Just drizzle on a little of your dressing, and toss until everything is coated. 

    Throw in the berries, nuts, and a sprinkling of feta. 

    Toss again and voilá!  A beautiful and delicious salad perfect for any hot summer day. 

    The combination of sweet berries, tangy balsamic, and cool, crisp lettuce, is definitely a treat. 

    What is your favorite summer salad?