So today we’re going to revel in the bounty of berries and cherries that summer has been producing. I managed to get some blueberries recently (without paying in diamonds!) and used them to create a delicious breakfast that was just what the hubby and I needed on a recent busy weekend. These are as easy as can be and delicious, of course. (I mean, who doesn’t love a cream cheese danish?)
Blueberry-Cheese Rolls (from Kraft.com)
1 8 oz. pkg. crescent rolls
4 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the dough into four rectangles, firmly pressing together the perforations to seal.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar; spread onto the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Top the cream cheese evenly with the blueberries. Bring the opposite corners of the rectangles together and press to seal. (I just folded mine over into rectangles.) Place on the ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake for 11-13 minutes or til golden brown.
A few weeks ago, two of my best friends and I decided to get together, watch a movie, and eat some amazing food. I’d gotten a good deal on some cherries, so we used them in a delicious salad and some tasty scones. The scones were from Table for Two and tasted great. (They were good, but I have other scone recipes that I prefer. Next time I’d just swap cherries into one of those.)
But my favorite part of the evening was this to-die-for salad that I am head over heels for. It’s SOO easy to make and the flavors just sing. It comes together with very little prep (Especially if you’re smart enough to own a cherry pitter. P.S. I’m not.), and is a great option for a hot night when you don’t want to turn on the oven.
Honey-Soaked Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Cashews (from Better Homes & Gardens)
For the dressing:
2 tbsp. grated ginger (It will smell very potent, but the flavor is perfectly balanced.)
1/4 c. honey (Don’t worry, this is the amount for 6-8 servings of salad.)
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar (I used plain white vinegar.)
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil (If you’re worried, see the note on the honey.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
For the salad:
1 c. water
2/3 c. rinsed quinoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped cashews
1/2 c. slivered, dried apricots (We didn’t have any, so we left them out and were none the sadder for it.)
1 c. pitted, halved sweet cherries or red seedless grapes (I prefer the cherries quartered.)
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion (By now, you should know my feelings on raw onion in salad. In case you don’t, I left it out.)
1 head torn butter lettuce
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, honey, vinegar, lime juice, and garlic. Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, til well combined. Season with the salt and pepper; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, quinoa, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or til the liquid is absorbed. (Mine took closer to 20 minutes.) Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Fluff the quinoa and toss it in a large bowl. Add in the cashews, apricots, cherries, and onion. Add the lettuce and then drizzle with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Season with the salt and pepper and toss again.
Note: The first time we had this, we spooned it into the lettuce and ate it as a wrap. It was messy, but tasty. The second time, we lightly chopped the lettuce and at it like a salad. It was a little difficult to maneuver, but still tasty.
The last two recipes are for some amazing desserts. Let’s start with the strawberry lemonade bars. They are very tart (probably because my strawberries were more tart than sweet) and put a unique spin on one of my favorite summery treats. The color is lovely, and the tartness does calm down a little after the first day or two.
Strawberry Lemonade Bars (from K&K Test Kitchen)
For the crust:
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
For the filling:
1 c. lemon juice
2-3 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 c. pureed strawberries
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter til smooth and fluffy. On low, add the flour and salt til the mix is crumbly. Pour into the pan and press into an even layer. Bake 17 minutes or til set at the edges.
2. In the bowl of the food processor, combine the lemon juice and zest, strawberry puree, sugar, and eggs til smooth. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse til smooth.
3. Gently pour the filling over the crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake it for 23-26 minutes or til the filling is set. Remove and let cool completely.
And the last dish is a great snacking cake. It’s not too sweet, and could easily double as breakfast. As with most cakes with fruit in them, the baking soda turned the cake around some of the raspberries a little bit green. Next time I might try it with double the baking powder instead.
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. softened butter
2/3 c. + 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 c. well-shaken buttermilk
1 c. raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan. (I used an 8 inch square pan.)
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 2/3 c. sugar on medium-high til pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the vanilla and zest. Add the egg and beat well.
3. On low, alternate adding the flour mix (in thirds) and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix til just combined. Spoon the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Scatter the raspberries over the top and sprinkle them with the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar.
4. Bake til the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly, 20-25 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some of these wonderful fruits as well. I’m desperately trying to get my fill of them since I know they won’t be here much longer. (While at the same time my mind is starting to tell me how much I want it to be fall.) What about you? Are you reveling in the summer heat or longing for autumn’s chill? I’ll talk to you again soon!