Monday, July 25, 2011

Bound for Jersey Shore Blueberries

Summer days in South Jersey consist of day trips (or weekly rentals) down the Jersey shore. Whether you’re headed to Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle, or one of the exits from 7S, you are sure to pass by the farmer market stands alive with fresh, farm grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. This is actually a “secret” favorite part of my trip. Being able to stop at the stands on the way home from bronzing on the beach all day with friends, and picking out delicious fruits/veggies to bring home and cook with for the week!

My wonderful neighbors spent the day in Ocean City last week and brought me back a pint of beautiful NJ blueberries. So yesterday morning, I looked at the berries staring back at me in the fridge and was like “I’ve got to use every single one of them, why not bake some blueberry muffins for my hubby, drop some off to Sue and Gerry’s, and then I can bring some over to Barb’s house who I was going to see later that day.” The berry that keeps on giving! I took a recipe I had used before and added a special ingredient, honey! I also used some of my leftover bananas and made some peanut butter banana muffins too…I hope my muffins made everyone’s day as I think they may have by the smiles I saw on their faces! See below for the recipe…

Yummy Blueberry muffins with a crusty sugar topping. The blueberries and the buttermilk batter are wonderful together... Quick and easy, made with few ingredients. Remember to use paper liners!!!
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries - rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of honey

  1. Position rack in the middle of oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray the top of a muffin pan with non-stick coating, and line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix together 1 3/4 cup of the flour and baking powder. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated. Crush 1/4 of the blueberries, and stir into the batter. Stir in the honey. Mix the rest of the whole blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of the flour, and fold into the batter. Scoop into muffin cups. Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, and tops spring back when lightly tapped.

Some blueberry factoids…
The beautiful, wholesome, and healthy berry is the official state fruit of NJ. South Jersey’s fields are alive with blueberries from June through mid-August. Cultivators harvest about 50 million pounds of berries each year, making the Garden State the second-biggest blueberry producer after Michigan. One cup of blueberries contains 14% DV of fiber 2.41 g per 100g Blueberries are a source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, phenolics, flavonoids, and are very low in fat and sodium!

Some of my favorite local farm markets that I stop at on my way to the AC Expressway…
Stella Farms- 459 New Freedom Road, Berlin, NJ 08009
Mr. Green Jeans-210 S. Route 73, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Gene’s Farm and Garden Center-7317 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something for Summer

I have been a busy Basil Bee this summer, trying new recipes for main entrees, sides, and desserts, and using my Le Cresuet grill pan indoors as we have not finished our backyard yet and still no grill. I went to post some of my recent pictures and recipes, but as you know, we got a puppy, and our puppy chewed my camera chord (along with Anthony's Prada reading glasses)! So I'm MIA in attaching some of my recent photos but will see how well my Droid phone camera photos hold up as I still have much to blog about.

I picked up the latest Food Network magazine, and what a great issue! There's an additional insert inside with (50) Potato Salad recipes-one for everyone's tastebuds! I tried the Ranch potato salad recipe and added some crumbled turkey bacon as well and it was delicious! Anthony rated it pretty high too! I've only attempted making a potato salad twice in my life and I have to say that I would make again and again and even bring to a BBQ, that's how confident I was in how it tasted! The recipe is below

#9. Ranch Mix 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 2 chopped scallions, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed red potatoes.
* I sauteed 4 slices of turkey bacon and crumbled them and also tossed them into the potato salad as well

This issue also had a July calendar of " A month of Basil". Each day of the month they give you a unique and different idea of how to use basil with summer's produce in the kitchen and adds new ideas how to use it to the fullest!
For today-Wednesday, July 20th-"Make spaghetti for dinner: simmer a store bought tomato sauce with a few basil stems for extra flavor."
For tomorrow-Thursday, July 21st-"Treat yourself to a simple weeknight dessert: fold chopped basil into whipped cream, and spoon over blackberries."

They also include an August calendar, "A month of Tomato"! These calendars are both on my fridge! The magazine also has lean beef flavor boosters to inspire new spices and recieps for your beef as you grill this summer! So pick up a copy quickly and enjoy!