It’s blueberry season! Hooray! This is the time of year when we head down to the wonderful Mountainview Blueberry Farm to pick a big bucket full of beautiful berries. And then we get home, we realize that we got a ton of blueberries (the act of picking them is strangely addicting), and wonder what in the world to do with them all.
This year, so far I’ve made a huuuge batch of blueberry lime jam. Then I froze a bunch for later on. We’ve enjoyed blueberry pancakes, of course, and I’m thinking about a batch of blueberry muffins. Maybe with cornmeal. Today I’m going to look into making and freezing some blueberry baby food, and yesterday, I made this wonderful drink: fresh blueberry lemonade.
Honestly, I think this lemonade is more like a dessert than a beverage. It’s bursting with gobs of fresh, sweet blueberry flavor – all those pureed blueberries swimming with tart lemon and sugar make for a very special summer drink. Drink/dessert.
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, they say. They’re totally right … but I do it anyway. All the time. Yesterday, I found myself at Whole Foods with a cart full of goodies I didn’t come for. Delicious samples + growling stomach = yikes at the checkstand.
But sometimes the result of hungry sampling is a good thing. Last week I found myself trying some Israeli Couscous and Lentil Salad at my beloved Central Market. It was so good I just had to make some as SOON as I got home. So I circled the grocery store, rounded up the ingredients, headed home, and made this.
This pasta recipe is the happy result of my starting a batch of fettuccine alfredo only to realize we were out of a key ingredient – parmesan cheese. Nooo! But a little nutmeg, baby spinach, and fresh basil saved the day – and the dinner – and actually elevated this creamy fettuccine recipe to something pretty special.
The super-creamy sauce starts with some shallots sauteed in butter. Add heavy cream (diet food it’s not, though I’d like to think the spinach helps), let thicken, season, and add the pasta, blanched spinach, and basil. It whips up in just a few short minutes, but tastes like a million.
My garden is a sad sight this year, as summer started just a tad too late for me to have much confidence in all the things I wanted to plant. Happily, though, the peas are thriving – and so are the strawberries.
Big, red, perfect, plump, juicy strawberries. I’ll run out there to snag a couple to slice atop my yogurt for breakfast or a handful to enjoy whole after dinner. Or, like the other day, I’ll just start picking and soon I’ll have a nice bowlful, and then I get to dreaming all about what kinds of creations I can make with these delicious scarlet goodies.
Say, for instance, strawberry shortcake cupcakes.
My carnivore guy and my vegetarian self are trying hard to get used to this raising-a-baby business. And with our sweet but busy babe keeping us on our toes (and running us a little ragged in the process), we need lots and lots of fast, easy, and flexible dinner ideas in our repertoire.
And so I thought I’d share one of them with you. Quesadillas, baby! They’re like a Mexican grilled cheese, but more versatile and, I think, probably healthier overall – more veggies, for one, and a tortilla in place of buttered bread. They’re about as straightforward as you can get – a tortilla filled with veggies and/or meat and topped with cheese, then folded over and cooked until the cheese is gooey and the tortilla’s nice and golden-crisp.