Strawberry Jam Filled Blueberry Bread

Makes a perfect gift loaf for a new neighbor, a sick friend, a birthday, or even the Memorial Day cookout.

It is not yet the height of blueberry season, but we’re getting closer. If you watch the labels on your blueberries closely, you’ll notice during our winter months they first come from South America, then Central America, followed by our southern U.S. states, and on northward until we get to Canada come early fall — when we must wait a bit to begin the cycle all over again. I’ll eat this gorgeous fruit anytime of the year, but am especially berry in love when it’s time for the berries from the northern spots like Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, or Canada. That’s because berries like cool nights and I think those cooler northern places grow top shelf fruit. When blueberries are especially plentiful and the tastiest, they’re also at their least expensive. That lets me know it’s time to buy a bunch and freeze enough to last until next summer. And while we’re not there yet, I had already bought more than my husband could eat at breakfast on his yogurt with my homemade granola. They were beginning to soften and were even thinking of getting those stinky little white rings of mold on their bottoms. Two cups of near-heaven superfood needed to be saved. So one cup is enough for a dozen muffins; two cups calls for a loaf of blueberry bread. In this case I had a little strawberry jam called my baking name out loud as well, so I thought I’d tuck that into the center of the loaf and call it Strawberry Jam Filled Blueberry Bread, which is (you’re right) a mouthful. But no other name seemed to fit and I’m stuck with it. Thank goodness, because the name says exactly what it is and if that’ll make you preheat the oven and stir this up, I’m good. I do think any jam would do — even blueberry — but I happened to have the tail end of a jar of Bonne Maman strawberry preserves, which served royally well. (TIP: I reuse their jars as storage containers for months or even years as they are glass, go through the dishwasher, and come with tight, long-lasting red and white picnic-checked lids.)

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Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July

BEST SUMMER SIDES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE HERE.

It’s more than ironic that many of the best fruit pies need to be made when the weather is sizzling, sultry, humid, or plain old drippy hot. As a cold-weather fiend, I particularly find this one of the most unhappy cooking situations. I am thus incredibly blessed to live in Colorado where the summer days may be hot, yes, but might also occasionally dip down into the 40’s and even more often into the 50’s with the advent of a good, old-fashioned hail and/or rain storm. In fact, nightly fifty-some temps aren’t unusual even without rain. (Of course that’s why our tomatoes don’t do squat. Thank God we have the best beer in the country to partially make up for that.)

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Blueberry-Rhubarb Cinnamon Crisp

IMG_5815Is there anything more lusciously sumptuous than baked sweet and sour fruit with something crunchy on top and a scoop of ice cream upon which to dream?  Maybe you’d say crème brûlée or, if you were a chocolate hound, tender creamy, richly suffocating brownies. (Not that I don’t love either one.)  But I’m not sure you’d be right. Fruit is real stuff compared to egged sweet cream or flour and melted chocolate.  What’s better — or more real — than rhubarb?  Blueberries?

Aside:  Sliced rhubarb, uncooked, as well as blueberries, freeze very well.  Pack tightly in well-sealed containers and freeze for 10-12 months. You can have rhubarb crisp or blueberry pie for Fourth of July or Thanksgiving–even Christmas.

Before the recipe, here’s a little photo story….

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  A chop of the rhubarb, a mix with blueberries, a little sugar and…a rest to drain off the liquids…  (above)

IMG_5799Into a buttered casserole awaiting its topping as a dog waits for supper…(above) Continue reading

Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

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My daughter-in-law, Jami,  pregnant with our granddaughter, hasn’t had much appetite.  I said to her, “What sounds good?”  She said, “I’m supposed to be eating more red meat, but I just don’t feel like eating.  I loved that salmon you made last week.”  So I made the salmon (or Dave did–on the grill) and also a couple of strip steaks.  She loves cauliflower, so that, too was on the menu–steamed and topped with a generous grating of sharp cheddar. (No leftover cauliflower!)  A pot of jasmine rice finished out the meal, as Jami is Gluten-Free.

Over the meal, which Jami ate if not with abandon, at least with appetite, we talked baby names.  Samantha came up, as did Gwendolyn.  Aileen was uttered.  “What Celtic names do you know?”  Well, I couldn’t think of many Celtic names, but I did tell her the names of our grandmothers, just for fun:

  • Lela
  • May
  • Leona
  • Laura (pronounced Lara)

They of course already knew their own grandmother’s names, though I later realized that two of them shared the middle name Jean. Continue reading