Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blackberries: All Up Everywhere

My name is Brittani, and I'm an addict. To blackberries. My hands are scratched, my tennis shoes are black, and my teeth have seeds in them. Which makes me not only a person with an unhealthy obsession, but a frightening one that you would rather not see running from points A-F around your city.

The blackberry obsession started innocently enough. I began to take note of their fruitful locations on points here and there on my runs. I casually stopped, snacked, and carried on. I don't know when this apathetic attitude crossed over to the darkness of insanity, but it sure didn't take long. Soon I was running this way and that, just so I could scout out more blackberry bushes. Yea, the road runner is a perfect example.

So I showed THEM the Friday afternoon before the glorious 3-day weekend. I took a large bowl, got in my car, and drove around to all my per-determined blackberry stops. I stopped on the side of the road, waved to the unsmiling watchful neighbors, picked as many ripe ones as possible, and hopped back in my car. (**Please note, if your emotions run this wild, bring a towel to wipe your hands on. Your steering wheel will thank you.)

What's rather ironic about the whole ordeal, is that while I knew I had to have these gems, I really had no idea what I was going to do with them.

Plan to acquire blackberries? Spot on. Plan to use them? Fail.

So that's how I came up with three blackberry recipes in three days, with the end results being gone by the end of third day.

2/3 of the fruits of my labor. On Labor Day. Fruits of Labor Day.

Blackberry Lemon Corn Muffins
adapted from Isa Moskowitz
Makes 1 dozen muffins

These were darn tasty - soft, juicy, and with a nice gritty, corn texture.

1 cup of your favorite GF flour blend
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cup blackberries

1. Turn oven on to 400F and grease your muffin tin.

2. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk the oil, applesauce, milk, yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest.

4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, lightly mix, and add the blackberries. Give a quick, gentle mix to incorporate the blackberries.

5. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy warrrrrrm.

Corn muffs

Vegan Blackberry Scones
Makes about 8 medium scones

*These were my favorite recipe of the bunch. The scones turned out light, but still had that signature biscuit-like bite. They are mildly sweetened, which is balanced out by those bomb blackberries.

1 1/2 cups GF flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegan margarine (I love Earth Balance)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup blackberries
2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375F; grease a baking sheet or prepare with a Silpat.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a medium bowl.

3. Cut in the margarine in with the dry business using a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the whole mess is crumbly and the margarine is pretty much incorporated.

4. Add the vanilla and milk to the mix and stir together with a wooden spoon.

5. Take a bit of dough (you decide how big - they're your scones!) and flatten to about 1/4 inch thick and place it on the baking sheet. Add some blackberries on top to cover the surface, and add another flattened piece of dough the same size to make it's top. I sort of melded the top and bottom doughs together, just to the blackberries know they're not going anywhere.

6. Repeat step 5 until the dough's gone, sprinkle with some raw sugar, and pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating; proceed to eat all but one.

Yeah, whatever Blackberry Festival.

Blackberry Pear Cobbler
Fills one pie dish

This one snuck it's way up to me on the fly. We had pears that were practically disintegrating on our counter top, which the fruit flies loved and I did not. This cobbler is a little more on the juicy side, and would go fantastically with ice everything else in the world.

For the filling:
1 cup blackberries
3 peeled, sliced pears
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch

For the top:
1 cup GF oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons vegan margarine, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In the pie dish, mix together the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in 4 tablespoons of the margarine so the entire mixture is slightly sticking together.

3. Shake the topping over the blackberry filling; cut and dot the remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine on top of the entire cobbler.

4. Cover with tinfoil and place in the oven for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, take off the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Summertime foods

So there you have it - my labor day lovefest. Let me know how they turn out for you!

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