Summer and Blueberries

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      I grew up spending much of my summer, including the 4th of July, in Amelia Island, Florida.  My mom has always been an amazing cook and holidays were no exception.  Experimenting with the latest recipes from Southern Living or Gourmet Magazine, there was always something exciting to taste.  I distinctly remember her making a large, rectangle cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries in the shape of the American Flag for one of our Independence Day celebrations.

     As an adult, cheesecake is not my favorite dessert, but I do love fruit crisps and cobbler.  Warm, ripe peaches, blackberries, and blueberries…  topped with cool vanilla ice cream; nothing says summer better.  Even if you are not the most advanced baker, summer crisps are easy, foolproof, and so delicious.  Simply use fresh, in-season fruit such as sweet Georgia blueberries, peaches, or other summer fruits.

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Blueberry and Gingersnap Crumble:  Toss blueberries (or peaches) with a squeeze of lemon and a touch of flour and sugar.  Spread in a baking dish and top with a crumbled mixture of crushed gingersnap cookies, chilled butter, and sugar.  Bake and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Now that not the perfect ending to a summer 4th of July celebration!  Enjoy and Happy 4th!

Supper Club – Round 8

Every few days we are get a little taste of Spring then the cold, wet weather comes roaring back.  To keep my mind on Spring, I am taking full advantage of some of the produce that is coming into season…beets, carrots, fresh greens, strawberries, asparagus and spring peas.  This month’s supper club menu is fresh, light, and has Spring written all over it.

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For starters, my household (including our babysitter) has enjoyed the Strawberry and Goat Cheese Flatbread.  It is basically a quesadilla, but with fresh strawberries, goat cheese, basil, and spinach.  They are warm, yummy, and everyone loves them.  Serve with a little glass of Prosecco and you have yourself some happy guests.

This is the time of year to enjoy strawberries as they are at their peak sweetness during the next few months.  Florida’s are delicious right now and soon the pick your own strawberry farms in the south will be swarming with kids and adults.

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Anyone that knows me, knows I love salads.  If you invite me to your house for dinner….I always volunteer to bring a salad, but not just a bowl of mixed greens with store bought vinaigrette.  I love getting creative and I always make my own dressing.  It is just too easy and SO much better for you.  This Roasted Beet, Orange, and Arugula Salad is no exception…roasted beets, crunchy pistachios, and creamy blue cheese all tossed with local arugula and a fresh orange vinaigrette.  What could be better?

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Spring peas, mint, and lemon flavor this Salmon and Orzo Pasta for a main dish that is easy enough for weeknights, but fancy enough for entertaining.  Topped with mustard-glazed wild salmon, this dish turned into fabulous leftovers served over mixed greens.  The wild salmon that is available this time of year is previously frozen, but I still highly recommend it.  Usually frozen at sea, it is very fresh and cooks fast.  The key is to undercook it (medium-rare) so it does not dry out.

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Last but not least,  Lemon Pot de Creme with Blueberry Compote is a perfect way to round out the meal.  Not too filling and it has just the right amount of sweetness and fresh lemon flavor.  You can even serve it with gingersnaps if you want a little crunch.

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As I anxiously await warmer weather, nothing gets me in the mood like a delicious Rose.  Many see a pink wine and think sweet, but this is not White Zinfandel.  Roses are not sweet and if you were to taste it blind folded you would think you were drinking white.  They are well priced and one of my favorites.