Berry Breeze

Mr. BrookCook searched for the perfect Mother’s Day cocktail and this was it. 🙂 Springy, tasty, and, in the vein of a Moscow Mule, topped with a splash of ginger beer. I loved it!

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Camille Austin of Hakkasan in New York City, via Town and Country magazine. It would also be perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend- and all summer long.

Yield: 1 drink

  • 2 oz lemon vodka
  • 4-5 blackberries
  • .25 oz fresh lime juice
  • ginger beer, to taste
  1. Muddle blackberries in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add vodka and lime juice; shake over ice.
  3. Strain into ice filled double old-fashioned glass or copper mug.
  4. Top with ginger beer, to taste.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel, a lime wedge, and/or blackberries. Serve.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Blueberry & Corn Crisp

I can’t try enough crisp recipes using summer berries. This dessert was described as a “unique and textured crisp with the flavors of corn muffins and blueberry jam smashed together.” I loved the textural contrast of the fresh corn kernels in the topping with the soft blueberry filling. Yummy!

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Nicole Rucker. I used medium-fine cornmeal instead of coarse. We ate it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course. 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

For the Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blueberries
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse  salt

For the Topping and Assembly:

  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup coarse-grind cornmeal or polenta (I used medium-fine cornmeal)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 large ear)

To Make the Filling:

  1. Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

To Make the Topping and Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
  2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl to combine.
  3. Using a pastry blender or your hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together when squeezed.
  4. Add corn and toss to evenly distribute.
  5. Press topping between your fingers and break into large pieces over filling.
  6. Place baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Note: Crisp can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Okay. I made the special jam, the “world-famous” strawberry shortcake cookies, the slab pie… We still had more hand-picked strawberries! I always feel a lot of pressure to make sure that they are put to good use. When I saw this recipe, I thought it would be the perfect breakfast on the morning of the last day of school- I surprised my kids with them. 🙂

This special breakfast was the perfect use for my super ripe- almost overripe- strawberries. SO sweet. This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. We ate them right off the griddle with maple syrup. Easy and delicious. Happy Summer Vacation!!

Yield: 14 3-inch pancakes

  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table or coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan (I used canola oil spray on my griddle)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken, or 2/3 cup plain yogurt thinned with 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (about 140 grams or 5 ounces) roughly chopped strawberries
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  2. In the microwave, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the bottom of a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk buttermilk with the melted butter, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in strawberries. Pour strawberry-buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. In a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) or on a griddle, melt butter over medium/medium-low heat. (I used canola oil spray instead.)
  6. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake. Cook until bottoms are golden and bubbles appear all over top, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden, another minute. If batter slipped out the sides of the pancake when you first flipped it, return it to the first side for another 30 seconds to ensure the leaked batter cooks.
  7. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter/oil spray as needed. If pan gets too hot — the butter turns brown as soon as it melts, the pancakes are done on the outside before the inside — reduce the heat to low.
  8. Serve with fixings of your choice, be it a pat of butter, powdered sugar, syrup and/or additional fresh strawberries.

Note: If you’re not going to eat these right away, you can spread them on a baking sheet and keep them warm until needed in a 200 degree oven.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Mini Pear & Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes

My daughter has been asking for an upside-down cake! When I spotted this seasonal recipe, and had all of the ingredients on hand, I made it to surprise her. 🙂 A springtime spice cake was such a nice change of pace. The spices worked nicely with the blueberries and pears too. The mini size was just the icing on the cake. 😉

This recipe was adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics. I used my pretty Daisy cupcake pan- so pretty!

I’m bringing this tasty dessert to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #72– hosted by Quinn @ Dad Whats for Dinner and Naina @ Spice in the City. Enjoy!!

Yield: 6 small cakes

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tin
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 12 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I used freshly ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

IMG_4281

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection.
  2. Generously butter the cups and top of a muffin tin with six 8-ounce cups. (My 8-ounce cup muffin pan is a Daisy Pan! I used cooking spray instead of butter to coat the details more easily.)
  3. Place 1 teaspoon butter in each muffin cup. Top each with 1 tablespoon corn syrup; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar.
  4. Arrange 7 to 9 blueberries in each cup.
  5. Cut pear slices to fit the shape of muffin cups; place 4 or 5 pieces on top of the berries, spreading slices to cover berries.
  6. Arrange remaining berries over the pears, and set tin aside. (I didn’t have leftover berries!)
  7. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger; set aside.
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar and remaining 5 tablespoons butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk; beat until smooth.
  9. Combine the vanilla with the buttermilk.
  10. With mixer on low-speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, and beginning and ending with flour.
  11. Pour 1/3 cup batter over fruit in each muffin cup. Gently tap bottom of tin against counter several times to evenly distribute the batter.
  12. Bake cakes until golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes on convection, or up to 25 minutes in a standard oven. Remove from oven; let cool in tin.

IMG_4278

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

One of our family traditions is to go strawberry picking in June. It is CRAZY to squeeze another activity into the end of the school year festivities- celebrations, ceremonies, etc., but we make sure to fit it in. The strawberries are so much better than any other– so red, ripe, and flavorful!

The second part of this tradition is to make strawberry shortcake cookies (not to mention jam….). Without question, I prefer these cookies to traditional strawberry shortcake. They are special and unique- like sweet and tender strawberry biscuits. We make them to be shared because these cookies need to be eaten the day they are made (when they are perfect) or else they get soggy. It’s good to have a little time pressure to share a sweet thing! 🙂 This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling (I use turbinado sugar)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  6. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart.
  7. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 17 to 19 minutes in a convection oven.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.

Note: Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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