Wandering around the open-air market is a favorite past time of mine. I love to cruise through the booths and check out what is fresh and new. Summer is such an amazing time for berries. There are so many different varieties, colors and textures, and in such abundance. We all know you can do so many simple things with berries — fresh from the carton, over ice cream, mixed into yogurt, or in cereal. I love to bake so this is a great time for muffins, tarts and pies. I have put together some simple and old standard berry recipes as well as a few with a twist. All of these simple recipes can be made as written or you can interchange any berries you like! So, the next time you are in the market take a moment and look at the fresh berries and see if the smallest and most flavorful of fruits can inspire you.
Mix Berry Smoothie
If we can’t eat our berries quick enough just before they turn I will throw them in a zip lock and freeze them! Great for mix berry margaritas and this yummy smoothie!
2 cups of frozen mixed berries
1/2-cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 ripe banana
Throw all the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve with or without whipped cream!
Mixed Berry Compote
Use any mixture of berries in this simple, quick compote. It is convenient to have on hand and perfect over pancakes, ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake or grilled salmon!
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
3 cups mixed berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
Melt butter in a skillet over moderate heat. Stir in brown sugar and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Add berries and cook, tossing gently (try to keep most of them from breaking up), until berries are warm and juices begin to be released, 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Mix Berry Soup
1½ pounds (about 5 cups) mixed berries
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves, cut into chiffonier
Crème fraîche, for garnish
Combine strawberries, vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Refrigerate and let macerate 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Purée berries, vinegar, sugar and salt in a blender. Strain if desired for a seedless soup, but it isn’t necessary. Serve garnished with mint and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Berry, Spinach and Avocado Salad
1-pint fresh berries (mix and match)
2 bunches fresh spinach
1 red onion, slices
1 avocado, sliced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2-cup olive oil
1/2-cup balsamic vinegar
Toasted pecans (garnish)
Wash berries under cool running water. Wash spinach and remove large tough stems. Tear large leaves into small pieces. Add spinach, berries onion and avocado. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk together. Pour dressing over all and toss. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.
Grilled Shrimp and Strawberry Salad
¾ cup sunflower or soybean oil
Juice of one lemon
1 cup strawberries
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cups mixed greens
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
Combine oil, 1/2 the lemon juice, 1cup strawberries, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend well and then add the sesame seeds. Thread shrimp on skewers and sprinkle with the remaining lemon. Cook on a high hot grill for about 6 minutes turning once. Toss the greens with the dressing to coat. Place shrimp on top Garnish with strawberries.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3 heaping cups blueberries
2 hothouse cucumbers, peeled and seeds scraped out, cut into 1-inch pieces on a diagonal
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta
1 heart of romaine, chopped
2 lightly packed cups mint leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey and salt and pepper. Combine blueberries, cucumbers, scallions, feta, romaine and mint in a large serving bowl. Toss with dressing. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Glaze
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1-tablespoon mint, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts
5 fresh strawberries and mint for garnish.
In a blender puree strawberries down to 1/4 cup. Add the lemon, zest, and shallot. Olive oil and mint. Marinate the chicken with the strawberry mixture 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Grill on medium heat basting frequently. Turn after 10 minutes. Cook for about 20 minutes longer. Garnish with mint and strawberries.
Curried Halibut with Mixed Berries
2 cups mixed berries, chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped- plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons torpedo leeks, chopped (red onion will do as a substitution)
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1½ pounds fresh halibut, skin trimmed, cut into 4 pieces
Curry powder to taste
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 (13½-ounce) can coconut milk
6 cups cooked basmati rice
Put an oven-safe skillet in oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Toss berries, cilantro, onion, limejuice and olive oil together. Season with salt and set aside. Generously season fish with curry powder and salt. Heat peanut oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear fish on both sides until golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Transfer fish to hot skillet in the oven and roast until fish is barely cooked through, about 6 more minutes. Transfer to a warm platter and cover. Pour coconut milk into hot skillet over medium-low heat. Gently scrape bottom of the pan to release caramelized bits as milk heats. Season milk with a generous pinch of salt. Divide rice among 4 bowls. Lay fish on top and ladle coconut milk over all. Put relish on top of fish and sprinkle more cilantro leaves over all.
2 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
Sugar mixed with cinnamon for topping
Pre-heat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with bakers joy spray or line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir well until all ingredient are well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour liquid mixture in and the strawberries. Gently fold ingredients just until moist .Do not over mix. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1/2-teaspoon sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
Mix Berry Tart With Almond Crust
This recipe makes 2 tarts. It may seem like a lot, but they go so very quickly. Use whatever fresh berries you would like. You can get as creative as you would like in your fruit placement.
Almond Tart Crust
1 ½ sticks butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
2-½ cup flour
1/4 cup almond meal
(In a food processor grind 1/2 cup sliced almonds with 1-tablespoon powder sugar)
Pinch of salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until well blended. Mix in the flour and almond meal. Stop when it is just mixed. Do not over mix. Wrap in plastic and chill over night. Divide the dough in half and roll each out on a well-floured surface to desired size and place in well-sprayed tart pans. Prick the bottom and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack.
3 cups milk
4 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
6 large eggs
1 stick butter
In a medium saucepan mix 1/2-cup sugar to the milk and bring to a boil stirring constantly. In a medium bowl whisk together: 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and yolks. Once the milk is boiling pour 1/4 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture into the rest of the milk mixture and return to the heat whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a complete boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla whisking until the butter completely melts. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic until it comes to room temperature.
(Or any fruit and berry combo that you like)
1-cup red currant jelly
Spread 1/2 of the cream filling into each tart shell. And cover with berries. When ready to serve melt the jelly over medium heat. Using a pastry brush carefully brush over fruit. Serve immediately.
Mixed Berry Short Cake
2 cups flour
1-tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick butter cut into tiny pieces
3/4-cup heavy cream
1 quart fresh berries
Splash orange juice
Fresh whipped cream
Spray a cookie sheet with bakers joy. Pre-heat oven to 450. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly stir in cream until the dough is just blended. Drop 12 3-inch (or smaller if doing minis) rounds of batter from a spoon Bake for about 12 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, in a large bowl gently e mix berries, sugar and orange juice. When ready to serve whip the cream. Split biscuits in half lengthwise. Cover with berries and fresh cream. Serve immediately.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch pie
4 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Trim leaving 1/2 inch over the pie plate.
Combine rhubarb strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Place in the pie shell.
Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 1-inch strips. Make a lattice top crust on the pie by crisscrossing the strips over the filling. Trim the strips even with the pie plate. Fold the 1/2-inch of the bottom crust over the ends of the strips. Seal and flute the edges. Brush lattice with egg.
Place on a baking sheet or tinfoil in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the crust starts to brown. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 50 to 60 minutes,
Basic Pie Pastry
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
up to 8 tablespoons ice water
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender cut the shortening into the flour until the pieces are the size of rice. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over part of the flour mixture and stir very gently with a fork, Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat using 2 tablespoons of water until all the dough is moistened (up to eight). Divide dough in half. Form each into a ball you can do this the evening before wrap in plastic. This is enough for 1 nine-inch double-crusted pie or two baked pastry shells.
Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies. Check out her websites www.Backtothekitchen.net and http://magpieminipie.vpweb.com. Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON .