Aunt Gaye’s Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie

Here is another absolutely delicious way to use fresh blueberries. I asked Aunt Gaye, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, for recommendations on using blueberries since I had such a large summer crop. (Aunt Gaye is a great cook.) In a second she replied that she indeed had a favorite blueberry recipe: “Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie.” She promised to mail me the recipe. Mail. Isn’t that great? Everybody likes to get mail. On the down side, now I had to wait several days for the recipe. Well, the recipe arrived as promised and I made the pie. Aunt Gaye showed off her cooking talents again, this is another winning recipe. The pie really highlights the fresh blueberry flavor. The crunchy streusel topping also sets the blueberries off, too.

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Savory Zucchini Omelet

Zucchini for breakfast?? When life brings you zucchini, there are all kinds of ways to enjoy this vegetable. Last year I planted several unique varieties of zucchini. One was called a “globe” zucchini which is shaped like a globe as the name implies. To use the “globe” zucchini, I made a very tasty and fluffy “Zucchini Omelet.” This year, I adapted the recipe to make another “Savory Zucchini Omelet” using an ordinary zucchini. Hey, anything to add vegetables into the mix. The zucchini tasted just right when included in the omelet.

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A Small Batch: Pickled Cherry Pepper Poppers

These cherry peppers are the stars of my backyard garden this summer. They were my “new vegetable variety” which I planted in my garden and these novelty peppers stole the show. They made red color bursts throughout my garden growing better than any other pepper. And the next question is, “What do you do with cherry peppers?” My husband remembers eating pickled cherry peppers on salad bars. These little peppers are served whole; you eat the seeds and all. That was the best idea I could think of too, and so I made “pickled peppers.”

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Lovin’ Tomatoes: Creole Tomato Gazpacho

I love vine-ripe summer tomatoes and chilled gazpacho is a good way to use some of these tomatoes. This soup recipe brings out the best flavor of the tomatoes and also the other vegetables in the soup — cucumbers, jalapeno, red peppers, garlic and red onions. Serve with a panini sandwich on a hot summer day for a satisfying lunch. I think that the best gazpacho is one which is bursting in fresh vegetable flavors, but not with any lingering “raw” ingredient taste. This recipe, from Louisiana Cookin’ magazine, manages to accomplish that idea.

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Blueberry Buckle

Fresh blueberries are great any time of the year; I especially enjoy picking blueberries from by own backyard bushes. In my opinion, these backyard blueberries have more aromatic flavor than the blueberries purchased from a grocery store. So if you have a chance to “pick your own blueberries,” go for it. Today I am making a “Blueberry Buckle” which is a simple coffee cake filled with lots of fresh blueberries and topped with a crunchy streusel topping. I added in a few walnut pieces. They give a flavor and help accent the nice “pop” from the blueberries. This cake is delicious!

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Blueberry Lemonade plus a “Moscow Mule” Cocktail Variation

I can’t think of anything more refreshing than a glass of home-mixed lemonade on a hot summer day. And we have plenty of hot summer days here in Louisiana. I decided to add blueberries from my backyard to make a “Blueberry Lemonade” aromatic variation. Then why not kick things up a notch and make a “Blueberry – Lemon Moscow Mule?” That cocktail hit the spot, too. I added frozen blueberries and fresh mint for garnish to my icy summertime drinks.

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Blueberry Cornbread

It is a pleasant problem to have too many blueberries. My backyard blueberry bushes are producing about 2 cups of ripe blueberries a day. In addition to sharing with neighbors, I’m scrambling to find ways to use all the blueberries. I love homemade cornbread and recently ran across a recipe for “Blueberry Cornbread.” I guess this shows that you can add just about anything to cornbread. I love “Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins” with pickled jalapeno bits and my “Hushpuppies” with green onions and Cajun spices. Why not make a sweet cornbread recipe with fresh blueberries? Yum!

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Spicy Christmas Chutney with Satsumas, Cranberries & Apples

Here’s a colorful and absolutely delicious chutney for the holiday season. This “Spicy Christmas Chutney” is hard to stop eating once you open a jar of this pungent and hot concoction. The recipe is a sweet and sour chutney which combines Louisiana satsumas, cranberries and apples with a blend of spices for a powerful mix. I ran across the recipe inspiration on a Scottish internet site — didn’t know that the Scottish cooked with satsumas or made chutneys with this much punch — but it is a great recipe for me because it is a way to use my backyard satsumas. And the recipe is mighty spicy, too, including cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper. Yeah, we’re talking Louisiana, now.

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Great-Aunt Jenny’s Persimmon Pudding

A number of years ago, I asked my mother and her first cousins to recount favorite recipes and stories of growing up on Iowa farms during the 1930’s. This generation was quickly aging and I thought that it would be wise to capture their memories for a family reunion book. I love family history. The way of a living on a family farm during the 1920’s to 1930’s — for example, with a wood-burning kitchen stove — is just a memory now. Only one generation ago — my how times have changed! My second cousin, whose grandmother moved to California in about 1910, submitted her grandmother’s recipe for “Persimmon Pudding” for the reunion book.

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Marinated Zucchini, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

My backyard garden is doing great this year. The star performers are my zucchini plants. I have an abundance of this vegetable and I’ve tried out a number of recipes. This quick and easy summer salsa is a tasty way to serve zucchini. No cooking is involved — just slice and dice, combine the ingredients and marinate. The raw zucchini has a mild flavor and blends well in this dish. It’s a very healthy recipe and good way to include vegetables in meals. Continue reading