Sunday, June 7, 2015

I Spy Blackberries

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I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.
His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!
'One table-spoon to be taken at bed-time.'
But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.

ending text taken from the book The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter


Too bad Peter was naughty and didn't feel well and had to miss having yummy blackberries for supper. But we don't have to miss out (that's assuming we have been good and did not get into mischief :). The stores have plenty to choose from and often they are on sale. So with a couple of pints I decided to try out a few ideas.

Blackberries
Much like spinach, raisins, apples, plums and grapes, blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C, but other nutritional benefits include a very low sodium count and having only 62 calories to a cup.
The dark blue color ensures blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Antioxidants, well-known for lowering the risk of a number of cancers are a huge bonus, but be aware the berries are best consumed in their natural state to get the full benefits.

Blackberry-Peach Smoothies
Cook's notes:This smoothie recipe calls for 1/2 cup of blackberries, but I usually add a few more to my blackberry smoothies. Just when you think the sweet flavor of the blackberries can’t get any better the distinct and wonderful peach flavor hits you. This may be one of the most delicious fruit combos for a smoothie.

Using frozen berries gives these smoothies a rich, thick texture and allows the drinks to be served without ice, which would dilute the flavor. The night before serving the smoothies, freeze the berries in a plastic container. If fresh fruits are unavailable, use unsweetened frozen berries, available at most markets.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen) 
  • 2 ripe peaches (without the pit or stone) 
  • 1/2 cup milk (keep it light on calories by using skim or go full flavor with 2%) 
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes 
  • optional 1 tsp. of honey 
Directions:
  • Use a blender to mix well.
2. Berry Smoothie
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007). 
Ingredients:

  • 6 strawberries, hulled, halved and frozen 
  • 1/2 cup blackberries, frozen 
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen, plus 6 berries for garnish 
  • 1 to 1- 1/4 cups apricot nectar 
Directions:
  • Select 2 tall glasses. In a blender, combine the frozen berries and apricot nectar and process until smooth. Divide between the glasses and garnish each glass with 3 blueberries. Serve immediately. Serves 2. 
Variations:
Coconut-Berry Smoothies For a creamier drink, add 1/4 cup coconut milk when processing the berries and only 3/4 cup apricot nectar. The apricot nectar can also be replaced by flavored yogurt, soy milk or half-and-half.
Citrus-Berry Smoothies Substitute 1 to 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice for the apricot nectar. For a more tropical flavor, use mango or guava nectar in place of the apricot.
Two-Berry Smoothies For a brilliant red smoothie, substitute 6 to 8 strawberries and 1 cup raspberries for the strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Freeze the berries beforehand and prepare the drink as directed.

Blackberry Brie Tartlets
Cook's notes:Blackberry and Brie Tartlets are seriously the easiest appetizer ever! Only FOUR ingredients!
Ingredients:
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust 
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of brie, rind removed 
  • blackberry jam 
  • blackberries 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Use a small juice glass that has been floured and cut out pie rounds. Press a small amount of the crust into the bottom of each muffin tin. Be sure to press the crust all the way against the sides. 
  • Place a small chunk of brie in each tin top of pie round. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Let the cheese pies cool for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. 
  • Add a small spoonful of blackberry jam and top with a fresh blackberry


Blackberry Basil Salad
Cook's notes:   This EASY Blackberry, Spinach and Basil Salad is a snap to make and so refreshing and vibrant- perfect for summer! Spinach is tossed with thinly sliced red onions, fresh basil leaves and juicy ripe blackberries.  Adding in orange segments gives the salad more color does punch up the flavor. Toasted slivered almonds add a bit of earthiness, along with crunch and texture. The balsamic vinaigrette is basic and strait forward. All in all, a very a simple summery salad.  
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of Baby Spinach or Arugula 
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion 
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries 
  • 2 cups diced orange segments
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta  
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds 
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves- torn 
  • 1 TB. chive  
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or lemon olive oil  
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or blueberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Directions:
  • Blend all ingredients in a blender and refrigerate for an hour.
  • In a large bowl, place spinach, basil and onions. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat ( You may not need all). 
  • Place dressed greens onto a platter or divide onto plates. Top with blackberries, goat cheese, a few basil leaves and almonds.


Watermelon Blackberry Salad with Mint
Cook's notes: Oh, my it doesn't get any easier than this with only 4 ingredients to create this light refreshing salad. Recipe from cookingwithjanica.com/
Ingredints:

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1- 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 2 TB. chopped mint leaves
  • juice from 1 Lime
Directions:
  • Take a large bowl and add watermelon cubes, blackberries, and mint leaves. Gently combine. Take your lime, slice it in half, then squeeze the juice from both halves over your fruit. Gently toss and serve.
Bon Appetit!

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