Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Just Means No Excuses: Blueberries and Cream

There might be an impending career change in my future, and of course, instead of writing a Kalman filter or applying for fellowships/jobs/internships/anything that might hire a semi-trained engineer, I think I'll stay up past 4am, finally finish cooking that pot of beans from 3 days ago, work on the croissants that I started, impulsively, in the afternoon (see Kalman filter and applying for actual, plausible sources of funding), and whip together this, a take on berries and cream.

On the weekend of July 4th (Independence Day for the U.S.A. folks), my family kindly deposited several grocery items at the house. It's always a blessing and a challenge. Extraordinarily sweet of them, but it does take creativity to finish everything before insidious fuzz creeps in.

One of those items with an alarmingly close use-by date happened to be fresh blueberries, which my aunt had probably scored for less than half-price. More of an idea than a recipe, this jelly works quite well with almost any other berry or fruit that releases a lot of juice when cooked. If you are gelatin-adverse, might I suggest a cornstarch or agar pudding instead?

Forgiving Blueberry Jelly sponsored by Frugal Chinese Relatives, Inc.

Ingredients
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp sugar
1-2 drops vanilla extract
1 tsp gelatin powder

Directions
1. Toss the blueberries and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Microwave for around 3 minutes, until berries are hot and mostly liquid. 

2. Add the drop/s of vanilla extract. Sprinkle over the gelatin powder, then stir to dissolve.

3. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, until gelatin is set. I actually put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes, which is great if you can remember it's there.

Amaretto Whipped Cream
Inspired by one day running out of vanilla extract. You may pull my baker card now, but only if you promise to taste this whipped cream first.

Ingredients
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch (really small!) of salt
1/2 tsp almond liqueur 

Directions
1. Whip cream with the salt until soft mounds form.

2. Add the Amaretto, then whip a bit more. It will form soft peaks.

3. Dollop on top of your cooled blueberry jelly. Alternatively, it's great on hot fruit compote, cake, ice cream, crepes, and pretty much anything. I have completely ignored vanilla extract in favor of Amaretto in my whipped cream for months now, convinced that it's the most heavenly item that has ever left my kitchen. 

Enjoy!