Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blueberry Cobbler

I posted recently about my forays in ice cream making and I believe I also mentioned the blueberry cobbler that went with it. A few weeks ago, we trekked up to Franklinton, LA to go blueberry picking. I was imagining some large, industrial farm but instead there was one table with some buckets, a metal cash box and a sign that said to please leave $8.50 for each gallon in the box and to have fun. I was instantly in love.

It was July in Louisiana and we had to wear long pants to avoid ticks so needless to say, we got to picking quickly. I think I sweated out stuff I ate in 2007. All told, I came away with about 2 gallons of blueberries and I probably consumed just as many in the process of picking. I couldn't help it, they were so fat and juicy and all warmed from the sun!

It was a blueberry bonanza weekend. I made blueberry cobbler and blueberry pancakes and I also made some blueberry vodka, which has turned a brilliant, violet hue and I look forward to testing it on my NEW PORCH of my VERY FIRST HOUSE! More on that later. I brought this cobbler to a party for the 4th of July, along with the lemon-ginger ice cream.

6 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter or lard (Yes, I did!)
1/2 cup buttermilk or cream

Preheat oven to 400°F.Toss blueberries, sugar, flour and lemon juice in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish or 9x13 baking dish. I actually didn't have any lemons so I used grapefruit juice. Worked just fine.

Stir together the flour,sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter/lard in with a fork or pastry knife. Stir in buttermilk/cream (or what the hell, soymilk) until the dough comes together, it will be wet and shaggy. Cover the berries with the dough, I did this "rustic-style," which means that there were big blobs of it in some places and less in others, it doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. Blobs are A-okay. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you smell it. You will want to eat this warm and with ice cream.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

National Ice Cream Month

In one of his very few policies I ever agreed with, Ronald Reagan declared July to be National Ice Cream Month. Now there's a holiday I can get with! According to Wikipedia, the third Sunday of July is actually Ice Cream DAY and Reagan implored to nation to celebrate with "appropriate ceremonies and activities." Word.

I haven't busted out the ice cream maker since last year because, well, I was using it a bit too liberally if you know what I mean. I made two flavors this weekend and they were both hits! I actually did take pictures but ice cream is such a fussy model and besides, there are always pesky things happening with homemade ice cream around, like bowls getting gobbled up in no time at all. So no photos, just imagine though and then make them because they turned out better than I was hoping for.

The first one was a lemon-ginger ice cream that I made to serve alongside a blueberry cobbler for a Fourth of July Party. That cobbler was also very good but let's talk ice cream first. I love lemon desserts and I especially love how they complement blueberries but I had never had lemon ice cream. Should I make ice or perhaps sorbet? No, by golly, it would be un-American not to eat ice cream on July 4th. I made this recipe from Epicurious, I just added ginger and next time, I'll add more.

Lemon-Ginger Ice Cream

zest of one lemon
1/2 c. lemon juice (this took about 2.5 lemons)
1 T. chopped ginger, will up it to 2 T. next time!
2/3 to 3/4 c. sugar, depends on your sweet tooth, original recipe called for a cup!
2 cups heavy cream, half and half, milk or any combination of the three
3 egg yolks
splash of vanilla, maybe a teaspoon or so

Bring all ingredients just to simmer, whisking constantly. It will probably look curdled because of the lemon juice reacting with the cream but never mind it. Cool in the refrigerator, strain through a fine sieve and then process however you make ice cream, coffee cans, the old crank or new-fangled machine.

STELLAR. I wish I had made a double batch but it would overflow my wee ice cream maker, don't make the same mistake!

Next, since I brought all the ice cream to a party and my freezer was feeling forlorn and ice cream deprived, I made a batch of cardamom. It was good but I made it last year and remember it being ethereal. I wanted to amp up the cardamom flavor so I used 40 pods instead of 20 but it just wasn't quite right. I ate it a few times before it came to me that I used to work at this pan-Asian cafe in Portland long, long ago and they had only one dessert; a chocolate-cardamom cake. Well, let me tell you, I just stirred some Dutch-process cocoa powder in the little bit that was left and BA-BAY, it was GOOD! Yes, it was! This is actually a good theorem for any of life's problems. When in doubt, add chocolate.

Now, I've got to gear up for July 17th and see if I can top either one of these winners. It is my patriotic duty. Thanks Ronnie!