Syrup In A Snap

Brian and I have been stocking on up on all the fresh summer fruits we can get our hands on. As a result, our kitchen counter and fridge have been filled with luscious nectarines, peaches, berries and more for the past few weeks. As you know, we’ve been working our way through a hefty supply of blueberries too. I decided to take what we had left of them and make a quick and easy (and delicious) blueberry compote.

Easy Blueberry Compote by somethingwewhippedup.com

Easy Blueberry Compote by somethingwewhippedup.com

Nothing makes a fluffy stack of pancakes or a morning bowl of yogurt with granola feel more special than adding a generous spoonful of blueberry compote. The compote only contains three ingredients (including water) and took less than 15 minutes to make, so there’s no excuse not to have it on hand. Trust me, you’ll be glad you whipped some up.

Easy Blueberry Compote

Makes about 1 3/4 cups

  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, 1/3 cup water and the sugar. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until blueberries begin to burst. Add the remaining blueberries and cook 5 to 7 minutes more or until syrup coats the back of a wooden spoon. Serve warm or at room temperature.

SWWU Tip 1: It’s summer, so our blueberries were super sweet. If yours don’t taste as delicious, you might want to up your sugar to 1/2 cup. Feeling creative? Try making these with vanilla sugar instead.

SWWU Tip 2: Adding a teaspoon of fresh lemon or orange zest is another way to enhance the flavor of this dish. Add it when you mix in the second batch of blueberries.

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What a Stud-Muffin!

Last Friday Brian came home from work with a lovely surprise: about 4 to 5 founds of fresh blueberries! What a treat! We’ve been putting them to good use in smoothies, waffles and even made a blueberry pie, but we still weren’t able to make our way through the whole bag. We’ve already got a stash of frozen blueberries in the freezer, so we needed to come up with another way to store the extras long-term. We decided that hearty (and freezable) blueberry muffins would be the way to go. We can enjoy a few now and freeze the rest so we have them on hand whenever we need a quick breakfast treat.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins by somethingwewhippedup.com

Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins by somethingwewhippedup.com

We were inspired by an oatmeal muffin recipe from an old issue of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine (moment of silence please). It came from a reader whose mother apparently made these muffins in her home economics class in the 1940’s. The recipe asks you to soak the oats in buttermilk for an hour before you mix everything together, which is essential for the texture of the final product. Of course, we made a few changes as well, the biggest being the addition of blueberries. The result was a chewy, filling muffin with a touch of sweetness. I look forward to having these on hand in the freezer, I just wonder how long they’ll last.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins

(Recipe adapted from Oatmeal Muffins, printed in the August 1995 issue of Gourmet)

Makes 1 dozen

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1. In a large bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk. Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted. Place on the counter and let sit, along with the oat mixture, for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

4. Add the egg, brown sugar and maple syrup to the bowl with the oat mixture. Mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, incorporating fully after each. Fold in the blueberries. Transfer batter to the prepared muffin pan, filling each liner 3/4 of the way full. Top each with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack.

SWWU Tip 1: Want to freeze these? Let cool completely then wrap each with plastic wrap. Place wrapped muffins in a zip-top bag and freeze. To thaw, remove from freezer and leave on counter or in fridge overnight or microwave at half power for 20 seconds. 

SWWU Tip 2: Want more delicious recipes that use oats? Check out these Bourbon-Apple Oatmeal Cookies or these Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I dare you not to love them!

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Going Green

My secret ingredient for adding a little something special to my homemade pizza is a bit unconventional. For me, nothing perks up a pie quite like a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves. Yes, I know the taste of this herb can be very polarizing, with many people claiming to “hate” the ingredient. But I think this versatile herb deserves a bit more credit. The leaves can instantly add freshness to the dishes it’s added too and it provides an unexpected burst of flavor.

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

But you know what? I’ve never had a problem with any of my friends clearing their plates—and they usually go back for seconds—when I serve my now-famous Summer’s Bounty Pizza. It’s topped with all the goodies currently tempting you at your local farmers’ market (including cilantro) so this is a pie you can feel good about eating.

Summer's Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza

Makes 1 pizza

  • 1 round premade pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound summer squash (we usually use a mix of pattypan, yellow and green), cut into a 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup jarred tomato sauce
  • 1/2-pound fresh salted mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1. Peheat oven to 475°F. Roll out the prepared dough onto a pan (I usually make our pizzas sort of rectangular, but you can form dough into any shape you like) and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, place garlic and remaining olive oil in a pan and heat over medium for 1 minute. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Set aside.

3. Top the pizza crust with the tomato sauce, then evenly distribute the cooked squash. Evenly top with the mozzarella and tomatoes and sprinkle with cilantro.

4. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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No-Fuss Fish

Brian recently picked up some bluefish from the local farmers’ market. It’s not a pick I’ve tried before, and I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. As the name suggests, the fish does indeed have a blue tint to it, though it gets lighter as it’s cooked. It’s also a bit more oily than my normal go-tos, but it’s loaded with protein (about 22 grams per serving). We decided on a simple foil pack filled with fresh lemon and herbs from our window garden.

Bluefish Foil Pack by somethingwewhippedup.com

Bluefish Foil Pack by somethingwewhippedup.com

It was a quick and easy dinner to put together and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The fish has a rich flavor, but I wouldn’t call it fishy. I think the lemon really helped to cut the fattiness and make this a nice, light summery supper. We paired ours with some roasted potatoes and sautéed kale and mushrooms. It all came together in about 30 minutes. Not bad!

Bluefish Foil Pack Dinner by somethingwewhippedup.com

Bluefish Foil Pack Dinner by somethingwewhippedup.com

Bluefish Foil Pack

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 1/2-pound bluefish fillets
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin with seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 o 10 sprigs lemon thyme (or any herb of your choosing)
  • 4 tablespoons dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place two pieces of aluminum foil on you work surface (when folded, they should be large enough to cover the fish completely). Place 5 pieces of lemon, slightly overlapping, in a row in the middle of each piece of foil. Top each with a piece of fish and sprinkle the butter evenly over the top. Season with salt and pepper and top with the remaining lemons, creating another row on top of each. Evenly divide lemon thyme over the top of each and pour 2 tablespoons white wine on top.

2. Secure each foil pack by bringing your two longest pieces together and rolling them down to the fish and folding the sides in. (Don’t worry about making this part neat. You just need to foil the foil down so the fish is sealed in so it can be cooked with steam).

3. Transfer packs to a sheet pan and place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes or until done.

SWWU Tip 1: Bluefish does not freeze well. Cook this pick within a day or two of buying it.

SWWU Tip 2: You can cook this in as many or as few foil packs as you like. Cook a whole 1-pound fillet for a nice group presentation or break it up into smaller pieces if you desire. 

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Relishing the Radish

It wasn’t until last year that we started to appreciate radishes. Sure, they’re pretty, but we didn’t have too much experience with them beyond the kitschy carved flower garnishes that were popular platter adornments in the 80’s. Our love affair started out simply, with a quick appetizer, and now we’re using the peppery vegetable in everything from side dishes to main entrées. We’re hooked! Here are three delicious ways we’ve recently featured this surprisingly versatile veggie:

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites

This appetizer couldn’t be easier to put together (or a better value), especially when last-minute guests show up. Simply cut a baguette into thin pieces, top each with a thin coat of good-quality, room-temperature butter (this is where you should splurge a bit), then sprinkle with sea salt. Top each with 1 to 3 pieces of radish (cut very thin) and serve.

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes

We served this slightly sweet side dish at our Easter dinner this year. It’s a quick one that you can easily make while multitasking on other projects. Just slice radishes down the middle and add olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes, turn and cook 15 minutes more or until tender. Remove from the oven and drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and toss with roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza

We whipped up this last dish after a long day of farm projects. We got a little help from some time-saving store-bought dough, but feel free to make your own. Roll out prepared dough onto a pan and brush with olive oil. Cook in a 475°F oven for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven and top with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, thin radish slices and caramelized shallots. Cook for 4  to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, then top with arugula and a few thin slices of Manchego cheese. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes more or until the arugula has wilted and the cheese has melted. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

SWWU Tip 1: Flavor does matter with this veg. We’ve noticed that grocery-store finds tend to be a bit bitter and less sweet than the ones available at the farmers’ market. Buy radishes with the greens still on for the best flavor. And don’t toss them out! You can add a few to a salad or cook them down like you would spinach greens.

SWWU Tip 2: You’re likely to see a few different colors and varieties of radishes at your farmers’ market. Try them all out and see which one suits your own tastes. We’re especially liking the mild flavor of the French breakfast variety these days.

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