Frozen Blackberries and Ice Cream Snowballs…in Hell E.A.T.#38

Sunday, Nashville, 99 degrees hot!

We have a saying….when asked just how hot something is…we often say “hotter than hell”. Meaning, really, really, really hot. We have another saying when something is extremely odd or unlikely. We say something is “like a snowball in hell”.

The pooling of these two sayings made me think of snowballs…which made we think of ice cream…which made me want an ice cream treat because it is truly hotter than hell today in Nashville…I am pretty sure.

Vanilla Ice Cream softened,  fresh blackberries, finely chopped candied ginger is all you need.

All stirred together……

….then refrozen in a plastic box for a few hours or overnight. Scooped and formed using your hands into balls and then refrozen for a bit. They look like snowballs studded with lots of fruit and ginger. They are a bit crunchy and icy, spicy and creamy, cooling and delicious.

A little listen while you make your own snowballs. Enjoy and Chill. It’s as easy-as-that.

Frozen Blackberries and Ice Cream Snowballs in Hell

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of vanilla ice cream softened to where you can stir it
  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries (or blueberries or raspberries)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger

Directions:

  1. Stir together the softened ice cream, fresh blackberries and candied ginger until well blended. Scrape mixture into a glass or plastic box container with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Freeze for a few hours or overnight. Mixture will be very hard when you pull it out of the freezer. Let it sit on counter for at least 10 minutes before scooping.
  3. Scoop out and form into “snowballs” using your hands. Don’t worry if they are perfect. Place snow balls on a metal tray.  When all ice cream is scooped and formed into snowballs re-freeze for an hour or so before eating.

Teresa Blackburn.   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Simple Pleasures Homemade Blackberry Liqueur

I am posting this ahead of the upcoming Tennessee blackberry season so when you pick-your-own berries, or purchase at a farmer’s market, you’ll be ready to make a few bottles of Blackberry Liqueur.

It’s really refreshing splashed into a glass and topped with Prosecco or poured over ice with seltzer water. I think a slice of pound cake, a scoop of ice-cream and a trickle of liqueur would be delicious.

How about a cooling (adult) Blackberry Liqueur Snow Cone? Just the thing for a hot summer day and pretty unforgettable.

It only takes a few ingredients……

Fresh, plump, juicy berries……

…a sugar + water simple syrup….all added to a large jar filled with good vodka…

Day 1..this is what it looks like just mixed together…wait a while longer….

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….Day 8….a week later and a few shakes this is what is looks like..continue waiting…and shaking….

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….Day 15..,wait’s over….ready to strain and sip.

There are so many things we have no control over in our lives. Making things gives me just a bit of control over part of my little corner of the world for a bit. That is why I make things and encourage others to give it a try.

Keep a bottle…gift a bottle…make some more. It’s a simple pleasure.

Fresh Blackberry Liqueur

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups good vodka
  • 4-5 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Bring water & sugar to a low boil over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes stirring often. Remove from the heat to cool completely.
  2. Pour vodka into a large glass container with a lid. Add the berries & simple syrup and gently shake.
  3. Infuse berry-vodka mixture for 15 days. The berries will lose most of their color. Every few days gently swirl mixture around.
  4. Pour through a fine mesh strainer twice. Discard the berries. Decant mixture into decorative bottles for gift giving.

For Snow Cones – crush ice and pack into a glass. Drizzle chilled Blackberry Liqueur over the ice. Serve with a spoon and enjoy.

 

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

5 Readers Most Favorite Blog Posts Ever and Happy New Year and Thank you

After making this list of most popular-with-readers blog posts ever I noticed some common threads that must have made them so. One thing is there are lots of folks who respond to “boozy” posts. The exotic Buddha Hand citron is such a seductive subject in all its glory.  Sweet things are universally appealing as are family stories. Enjoy.

# 1. “Pear Infused Vodka” Holiday Gift Idea / E.A.T. #11   Folks all over the world have clicked on this post…so I figure lots of folks like boozy pears? Thanks to each and every one of you.

Homemade Pear Infused Vodka

#2. “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”     A few years ago I ran across my first “Buddha Hand” citron. I purchased, I blogged and for over 6 years this post has been the second-all-time most popular, hit on, reposted of all my posts. It didn’t hurt that Smithsonian Magazine included a link to my site in their story about the subject. Who knew?

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#3.  Blood Orangecello and Bootlegging    This post contains a family tale depicted in the title which must have proved irresistible to more than a few lovers of homemade hooch and blood-red, very-short-seasonal, blood oranges.

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#4. Blackberries, A Snake and An Upside Down (Gluten Free) Cake  One of my favorites. It has a story about a dramatic blackberry picking experience with my Grandmother that left a definite impression on me as a child. I cannot hear a store of blackberry picking without thinking of it. The cake recipe is pretty good too.

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#5.  Give Me Some Sugar, Sugah!   Sugars flavored with so many good things such as ginger, lavender, star anise, vanilla beans and citrus peel just to name a few appealed to the sweet tooth in so many readers. This story was also an homage to all the real aunts, aunts-in-friendship, grandmothers and mothers who could never get enough of our sweet “sugah” when we were young.

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Blackberry Ice….Very Nice!

 

Fresh Blackberries Please

One day they are green and hard and we wait. The next day it seems the drupelets have blackened and we cannot eat them fast enough. Such is blackberry season.

I have made Fourth of July Blackberry Pies in my Food on Fifth kitchen as well as Blackberry-Mango Drinks. I have shared my youthful blackberry picking snake story with you when I made a Blackberry Upside Down Cake and today offer the most simple and easy way to both preserve and cool down with fresh blackberries, A Very Nice Blackberry Ice.

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Plump, ripe Tennessee blackberries……

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….frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet. In the food industry this way of individually freezing product is called “IQF” which means Individually Quick Frozen. This is how it’s done on a “at-home” scale. If you do not want to use the berries immediately just pop them into resealable plastic bags or boxes and store frozen until ready to use for any of your favorite dishes.

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A food processor….some honey or agave nectar…….

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…plus a splash of balsamic reduction….

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…gives you this….

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….and this……

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…and best of all…this…fresh blackberry ice…very nice!

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Blackberry Ice, Very Nice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fresh Blackberries PleaseDSC_1266_2

Ingredients:

  • fresh ripe blackberries
  • honey or agave nectar
  • balsamic reduction

Directions:

1. Freeze whole blackberries on a parchment lined sheet pan in a single layer.

2. Put frozen berries in a food processor with 2 tbsps honey or agave nectar & pulse a few times. Add 1 tbsp balsamic reduction and pulse until smooth. Taste & adjust flavors. Immediately scrape into a glass or metal container & freeze for 30 min to 1 hour. Serve.

“Garden Party Bites” for The 2015 Historic Germantown Garden Guzzle

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I love Garden Parties. Whatever the season. May Garden Parties in Nashville are the best. Gardens are verdant, flowers blooming, herbs abundant and the weather is still cool enough to keep the mosquitos at bay. This was the setting yesterday for the 2015 Historic Germantown Garden Guzzle, an annual event that is now over 26 years old. The idea is to tour neighborhood gardens, drink wine and beer, have a few snacks along the way and convene with neighbors to celebrate the coming of summer. It is a unique Historic Germantown Neighborhood event and it has been mine, and Wouter’s, pleasure to have been a part of it for 10 years.

This year our garden was on the tour. As a garden host it is expected of one to have some sort of “bites” available for the “guzzlers”. After rummaging around in our cheese drawer and a quick trip to the grocery these are the “bites” I came up with. “Sun-dried Tomato-Fresh Dill-Cream Cheese & Feta with Zaatar Spread” for matzoh & water crackers and “Blackberry-Goat Cheese & Blue Cheese Dip” with sweet potato chips, flax-seed chips & crisp raisin bread plus a large bowl of chilled green grapes.

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(I used my new “Hasami Porcelain” bowls from “Wilder” which is an amazing art and home goods shop in our neighborhood on 4th Avenue North.)

These were both “off the cuff” recipes based on what I had in the fridge and pantry.  I was pretty confident about the sun-dried tomato-dill dip but not so sure about the combination of blackberries and blue cheese? A delicious combination on both counts!

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Don’t you think this color is both fantastic and just a bit odd for anything other than ice cream? I do, but it was fantastic all the same.

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Our dog Ella standing partially under the table hoping to catch a few bites for herself!

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Wouter here is a bite for you…enjoy while in Amsterdam!

Here is an older blog post I did a few years ago on our “Guzzle”.

Sundried Tomato-Dill-Feta & Zaatar Spread and Blackberry-Goat Cheese & Blue Cheese Dip

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1 generous Tbsp Zaatar
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries + extra for garnish
  • 6 ozs blue cheese crumbled
  • 8 ozs goat cheese softened

Directions:

1. For Sun-dried Tomato-Dill Spread put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and spreadable. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Serve with crackers such as salted matzoh and water crackers.

2. For the Blackberry-Blueberry Dip put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust to your liking. Serve with chips such as sweet potato, flaxseed and raisin bread crisps.

Notes: Feel free to experiment and come up with your own “what do I have on hand” dips and spreads for summer parties. Keep it simple and fresh and it will be hard to go wrong.

Bon Apetit!

Borrowed from the British “A Summer Fruit Pudding” for the Fourth of July

summer fruit pudding

“A Summer Fruit Pudding”

This classic British dessert is just the thing to make for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend. I do hope the irony of this is not lost on you.

All you need is some fresh berries….blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries…any combination of these summer berries and a loaf of day old bread. There is no baking so no heating up the kitchen. It is easy to make, a beauty when finished and the taste is like biting into “summer”…very refreshing, not overly sweet and served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream or whipped mascarpone cheese.

The most important part is allowing the fresh berries to macerate with sugar for about 30 minutes ahead of time.

summer berries with fruitsugared berries

Choose a bread with some body that is a day or two old and just a bit dried out. I used a Brioche but a loaf of plain old white bread works just as well, as does Angel Food Cake.

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After the berries have macerated they are slowing boiled for a few minutes with some water until the berries release most of their juice and get a bit softened. This takes about 5-8 minutes on a low boil.

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I used a glass mixing bowl lined with plastic wrap for the mold, but a metal bowl or plastic will be fine. Later when the pudding is chilled it will be easy to turn it upside down on a serving platter.

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While I am slicing the bread (you can make with or without the crust), and lining the bowl I let the berries drain very well so there is about 3 cups of berry juice to about 4 to six cups of softened sugared fruit.

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Dipping the slices of bread and lining the bowl comes next.

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Don’t you just love that color? The berries are then scraped into the center of the bread, topped with a couple of more soaked bread slices and covered with a sheet of plastic.

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The pudding needs to have pressure on it so that the bread and the berries become “one”. I do this first with my hands and then place a plate  with a heavy can sitting on top while the pudding is chilling for at least 12 hours or overnight.

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Here is the turned out, chilled, a firm “pudding” (what the British pretty call dessert for the most part….as in “What’s for pudding?”)  topped with additional berries and superfine sugar (caster sugar). I served this with a dollop of whipped mascarpone.

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For a dinner party I recently made this again but this time I used an Angel Food Cake instead of bread. As the cake was already sweet I used less sugar on the berries. This version may be my new favorite. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream.  Another variation on the theme. Maybe next time I will try pound cake?

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Traditionally this “pudding” was served as a healthy alternative to heavy sugary desserts at health spas in England. If you give this a try let me know how your version turns out.

Summer Berry Pudding

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print

summer fruit pudding

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of mixed summer berries, rinsed & drained + 1/2 cup mixed for garnishing
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar) + extra for garnishing
  • 1 loaf of day old bread (White, Brioche or you can use an Angel Food Cake)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Toss 6 cups of berries  with 1/2 cup sugar. Leave to sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add berries & juice to a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Turn to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile cut bread into approximately 1″ slices. You can remove the crust or not.
  4. Line a glass, metal or plastic round mixing bowl (about a 2 qt bowl) with plastic wrap allowing it to hang over the edges of the bowl completely covering the inside.
  5. Pour berries & juice through a strainer sitting over a bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes.
  6. You will need about 3-4 cups of juice. Add more water if need be.
  7. Gently dip each slice of bread into the juice lining the bowl completely with the soaked bread. Place one piece of bread in the bottom of the bowl to cover the center.
  8. Dump the berries in the middle of the bowl & cover them with 2 more slices of juice soaked bread. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, pressing down with your hands to make sure all the bread is soaked.
  9. Place a saucer or small plate over the plastic wrap and top with a heavy can to press the mixture together over night in the refrigerator.
  10. When ready to serve, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap & turn the bowl upside down onto a serving plate. Remove the bowl & plastic wrap from the summer pudding.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh berries and a generous dusting of sugar.
  12. Use a spoon to scoop out servings and add a scoop of ice cream or whipped mascarpone if desired. Whipped cream would be good as well.

Notes: You can make this with sliced Angel Food Cake as well for an interesting twist. Try adding some peaches to the berries or plums.                                                                  Tip: If you do not have caster sugar…which is just a finer granulated sugar..you can make quickly by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Very easy to do.

recipe and photos by Teresa Blackburn      foodonfifth.com     teresablackburnfoodstyling.com  

Blackberries, A Snake and An Upside Down (Gluten Free) Cake

Fresh Blackberries Please

I will bet most of you do not think of Blackberries and immediately think of Snakes…yes real live Snakes! Let me just say I am pretty crazy about freshly picked Blackberries, but not so crazy about snakes (sorry snake lovers). Why, you might ask, do I think of these two things simultaneously? Let me tell share with you a very short vignette….

….West Tennessee on a dry, dusty, hotter-than-Hades kind of day…lots of years ago when I was around 9 or 10…

I loved doing anything with my Grandmother (Granny) no matter if it was work or play.  I always wanted to tag along. The wild blackberries hung heavy & ripe all around so it was time to go berry-picking, the wild kind not the kind of blackberries planted in neat rows.  We were cautioned to wear “real shoes” &  to take care when blackberry picking as snakes liked berry patches.  This caution, along with many others doled out on such occasions, was met with a certain nonchalance on my part. Before this particular day, not after, nor since.

The sun was relentless as we began to pick around the outer edge of the very dense berry patch. At first reaching what was easy. But so very many large juicy black berries were just out of my reach a few feet into the patch. I wanted those berries. I boldly stepped forward with one foot lifted off the ground when I “felt” something move liquid smooth, quietly, directly beneath where I was about to plant my foot. I froze, foot midair.  Looking down I saw the snake slithering, very large & fat right underneath my berries & my foot. I am convinced to this day that I did levitate, backwards, out of the berry patch. There is something very Biblical about levitation isn’t there? And Fruit? And Snakes?

I did not pick anymore berries that summer.  I have picked since, I have bought many berries that others have picked, I am still pretty crazy about blackberries, but still not so much about snakes.

Here is a really easy not-so-sweet upside down cake that I made last Sunday using fresh local Blackberries picked by others, along with a few Pluots.

Cake

Here is what you will need to make this very dense moist gluten-free cake:

Ingredients for Upside Down Cake

1/2 stick Butter, 1 pint of Blackberries, 2 Pluots (or plums or peaches), 1 cup Raw Sugar/Turbinado, 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix, 1 cup Almond Meal Flour, the zest of 1 Lemon, 3 eggs, 2 cups Buttermilk, Sliced Almonds

Here is how you make it:

Skillet with Browned Butter

1. Place a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet with the 1/2 stick of butter over medium high heat until the butter is browned. Remove skillet from heat & set aside to cool somewhat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let me take a moment to say that if you do not have an iron skillet get one. A good seasoned cast iron skillet is just the best thing to use for all sorts of cooking. Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron skillets can be purchased very affordably on-line. I have many of their skillets in various sizes that I use daily.  For this recipe I am using my Great Grandmother’s iron skillet which is amazing well seasoned and is one of the reasons this cake will slip right out of the pan after it is cooked with no sticking.

Blackberries & Pluots in Iron Skillet

2. Slice Pluots & arrange in the bottom of the iron skillet over the browned butter. Sprinkle the Blackberries to cover bottom of skillet between & around Pluot slices.

Batter for Upside Down Cake

3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal, almond flour & sugar.  Add eggs & buttermilk & lemon zest.  Blend until batter is smooth. Spread batter over fruit in the skillet. Sprinkle with a generous handful of sliced almonds.

Upside down cake batterUpside down cake batter over fruit

Batter in skilletSliced Almonds over Upside Down Cake Batter

4. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown &  bubbly around the edges & set in the center. Let cake cool in the skillet for about 10 minutes.

Upside Down Cake Baked

5. The “reveal” of an upside down cake is always the fun part. Place a plate or platter larger than the skillet face down over the skillet & then quickly & carefully invert plate & skillet right side up.

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See how easy that was?

Blackberry Upside Down Cake

The crunch of the cornmeal combined with the browned butter, lemon zest & almond flavors & not too much sugar meld to make a very satisfying breakfast cake. Dust with a bit of powdered sugar if desired.

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Have you ever picked wild berries? Have you ever almost stepped on a snake? Do you connect foods you eat to events  from your past?

After I posted this my friend Diane Stopford, a Dubliner, left me a comment and a link to a poem by Seamus Heaney “Blackberry Picking” which I wanted to share with you. Thanks Diane.

Eat more Cake.