Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

No, I’m not talking about burnt muffins or sunken in cupcakes. I’m talking about my fingers. My arms. My knees. Even my toes. I never thought about baking being hard work, but damn! One week at my new job made everything on my body sore. Work was of course compounded by 6 hours of class every day, but baking is not something to be taken lightly nonetheless. All those hot full sheet pans and 24 count muffin pans get heavy, especially when you’re lifting 20 or 30 of them multiple times a day. And mixing large quantities of ingredients by hand wears your arms out. And lifting 50lb bags of flour (you get my point). I told my husband he was going to have to start working out more to keep up with my baking muscles. Plus you’re on your feet the entire time. I was practically limping by the time I got a day off. And my knees felt like I had just run a marathon. I won’t even talk about my accumulating collection of burn marks…

It’s fun though. I really like the atmosphere of the bakery and it’s nice to finally do something I actually want to do for a change. And I honestly like the 4 – 11am work schedule (if only a 4 – 10pm school schedule didn’t follow).

So, as you can tell by all this bemoaning, I recently got a job at a bakery here in Portland. I wasn’t necessarily planning on working during my time at culinary school, but it was a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass on it. There is a downside though, and that is the fact that I barely have enough time to say hello to my husband everyday, so finding time to bake something and blog about it is a wee bit impossible at the moment. I’m sure once I get into the groove of things I’ll find more time to piddle around in my own kitchen, but I’m afraid that my blog will stay a bit devoid of anything in the way of new posts for a short while. 😦

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my sweet tooth from yesterday. Ice cream’s pretty quick to make, and I had some left over vegan cream cheese in the fridge so I thought I’d throw it all together.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 T cornstarch *
  • 1 T sugar
  • Splash of lemon juice

Roughly chop up about of the blueberries. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together to avoid any lumps. Combine everything, except the lemon juice, in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the blueberries breakdown slightly and the mixture thickens. Add a few splashes of lemon juice and remove from the heat. The berries need to be completely cooled (refrigerated) prior to making the ice cream, so do this part in advance.

I added a couple tablespoons of water and a few tablespoons of the ice cream mixture to the berries to thin it out a little bit, but feel free to leave it thick if you’d like.

  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 4oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 C soy milk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C agave
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) vanilla vodka

Combine everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and follow its directions. Once frozen, transfer the ice cream to a dish that will allow you to swirl in the blueberries. I used a bread pan and lined it with plastic wrap because I was afraid of liquid sitting in it for too long (I managed to rust out my old bread pan). Plop in the blueberries and use a spoon, knife, bamboo skewer, what have you to swirl the blueberry mixture around. Return it to the freezer for several hours so that it can freeze all the way.

In all honesty I think the full 8oz tub of cream cheese would be best to really bring out the cheesecake flavor. I would also add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the ice cream mixture. Regardless, this ice cream is rich and creamy, and has just the right amount of berries in it (not too sweet or overly fruity). If you have the time, or just happen to have a box of graham crackers lying around your house, I’d crush some up and toss them in to make it extra yummy and provide some crunchy texture.

* 7/22/11 So after making a blueberry pie in school the other day I became privy to the fact that blueberries have a whole lot of pectin in them and therefore tend to thick once heat is applied all by their lonesome. I’m guessing that you don’t need the cornstarch for this ice cream, especially since cornstarch breaks down when frozen (though it’s not enough of an amount to make a difference in this recipe – my ice cream still looks and tastes fine). Try omitting the starch and see what happens, I think it’ll be fine.

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So what do you do when you want to make muffins but you’re all out of applesauce, just ate the last of your soy yogurt and can’t bear the thought of pouring a whole bunch of oil into the mixing bowl?  Mash the hell out of a pear of course.  Well, mash is such a forceful word.  How about puree.  With an immersion blender.  After using the chopper attachment, of course.

I actually had an apple on hand but it seemed too boring.  The light green skin of the pear looked so nice next to the deep purple blueberries; I just had to give it a go.  And, as things tend not to go for me, they turned out just as good in reality as they did in my head!  What do ya know?!!?!

Blueberry Pear Muffins

  • Oven: 350
  • Line a muffin pan, or a mini muffin pan, with liners (or spray with non-stick spray).
  • Grab an average sized pear and cut it in half. Wrap half of it and stick it back in the fridge (or eat it I guess). Dice the other half and put it in a small food processor or blender (I used an immersion blender). Puree until it resemble pearsauce (like applesauce but all pear-like).
  • In a small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup almond or soy milk with 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar. Let curdle.
  • In a large mixing bowl blend 1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and a couple dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In the, now curdled, milk bowl, add 1/4 cup agave, 1/4 cup raw sugar and the pearsauce. Mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated. Fold in the blueberries (fresh is better, about 1/2 – 1 cup).
  • Spoon batter into muffin liners and sprinkle a little raw sugar on top.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These are moist with just the right amount of sweetness from the agave, pear and the juicy blueberries.  Absolutely lovely for a snack or breakfast addition!

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wasn’t green either.  But at least it wasn’t brown.  I like this whole idea of drinking your greens.  If you’re going to have something cold and sweet anyway, why not get some extra nutrition out of it?  I’m sure a lot of these concoctions taste quite dandy, without any noticeable hint of leafy veggies in them.  The two I’ve made have been ok, but I’m not dressing them up at all or really adding any sugar or fat.  They’re good enough to drink, but I wouldn’t give one to somebody craving a chocolate milkshake or anything like that.

Anyway, here’s what I had today:

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 bunch of salad greens (spinach, etc.)
  • 2 tsp ground flax-seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (plus a wee bit more)

I think the banana yesterday gave it a creamier taste.  Also, yogurt would be good instead of all milk, or even some coconut milk if you can find the lower fat stuff.  A scoop of peanut butter would probably be a good addition as well.

What’s been going in your blender lately?

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