Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things I Like to Cook & Eat: Blueberries

Ahhh, Vaccinium caesariense. Summertime in New Jersey means fresh blueberries in every supermarket, all the time, usually at a pretty good price. There's something comforting to me that I'm helping to support the agriculture in my home state by buying and eating tons of blueberries with the "Jersey Fresh" sign on it. How do I like to eat blueberries? When they're extremely fresh, I like eating them raw, with a pinch of sugar if needed. Also, a quick squirt of lime juice and a little bit of sugar provides a nice acid counterpoint to the sweetness.

However, it's the perfect time for things like blueberry crumble, of which I have become extremely adept at making. I experimented with individual portions in small ramekins tonight, and the results came out extremely well, although I've got to lower the cooking time by like 10 minutes because the filling got a little overcooked and lost too much moisture. It's a recipe I adapted from Cook's Country (which I'll talk about in another post), and I'm still trying to tweak the crumble topping - I think I need to add more butter.

Aside: Even though it's summer in Jersey, you won't find me writing about Jersey corn anytime soon. Do I love the fact that I can drive down the road and get corn from a stand right next to the field (coincidentally enough from the father-in-law of a friend of mine)? Absolutely. Do I cook corn for Steph? Sure do. However, it's just something I don't like. Don't ask me why - it's just the way it is.

Something I messed around with a few weeks ago was an idea stolen from my uncle - blueberry chutney to be served with chicken sausage. Now from what I remember, my uncle reduced down a mixture of blueberries, cilantro, and onion, but I went on a different path. Into my saucepan went blueberries, a 2:1 ratio of water to white vinegar, a minced shallot and a bit of sugar. Spices included ground ginger, some allspice and a pinch of cloves. Simmer, simmer, simmer, reduce, reduce, reduce. Served with some tasty chicken apple sausage, it was a big hit, both amongst the HHS Science Department as well as the parents.


Stephanie said...

How I married a man who does not like sweet Jersey corn is beyond me. How can anyone not like that? To me, summer tastes like corn on the cob with butter and a side of tomato salad (shallots, fresh basil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil). My husband likes neither. Maybe he was dropped on his head as a baby.

Bakerloo said...

I'm not a big corn person either. The payoff is not worth the work in my book. I absolutely hate that "corn in my teeth" feeling.

Blueberries, however, I could eat all day every day.