Blueberries Gone Wild

A few summers ago, I got The Call. No, not my agent, or my publisher, or Ed McMahon from beyond the grave to inform me I’d won an unfathomable amount of cash. It was a Facebook message from an author friend with an invitation to guest on her group’s culinary mystery blog. I accepted on the spot, of course. Then I wracked my brain for a fabulous, no-fail recipe to share…

It’s not that I can’t cook, although my hubs is the chef in our house. It’s just that whatever I make tends to look…not so perfect. Even the sandwiches I packed for my kids’ lunchboxes looked terrible. And then there was the sad, baseball-themed cake I made for my son’s Cub Scout fundraiser, with the frosting that literally pooled on the plate and surrounding table. Nightmare. The woman in charge very kindly bought my tower of goo herself (“Aw, you can tell it’s homemade, hon—I bet it’s delicious”) and ran to hide it in her car.

I decided on a blueberry theme, because I had fond memories of childhood summers spent blueberry-picking in Maine. Also, my daughter who cooks like Julia Child pointed out that I already own matching blueberry dishware (yay, L.L. Bean!). And really, who doesn’t love blueberries? Yum.

After I brought my purple-and-black sundress from the closet (look, Ma, no blueberry stains!), I realized I had a *slight* logistics problem. Although my post would appear in mid-July, it was the beginning of July right then and there were NO blueberries, even at our local grocery store (anything frozen, I figured, would make for terrible blog photos). I even tried our backyard, but alas…those berries were not blue.

Curses

Miraculously, I found a U-pick place a few towns south with a sign advertising berries. At the end of the long dirt driveway I stopped at the quaint, American-flag draped barn, snapping blog-worthy photos in the 90-degree heat. Then the farmer appeared with an armload of baskets so I could start picking in a field *just* a short one mile down. I may have almost fainted, a tiny bit. He mentioned he had a few quarts of very blue berries in the barn’s fridge. I thanked him profusely and promised to return the baskets ASAP.

Before the Massacre

If you’re still with me, I won’t bore you with any stories about my actual cooking challenges. But here’s a photo that may give you an idea of how things went (Note: I now own a black stove.)

What happens if you get distracted

I don’t have any gorgeous blueberry recipe photos, but I can share my blueberry drink recipe that is NO FAIL. Hope you enjoy! (Feel free to use frozen blueberries.)

VIOLET BEAUREGARDE’S BLUEBERRY LEMONADE

(The vodka is up to you!)

Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 20 mins. 

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup sugar
1 cup blueberries 
¾ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ lemon (sliced)
Mint leaves or springs 
Water (total 7-8 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS: To make a blueberry simple syrup, stir sugar and 1 cup water together in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 3-4 minutes, until blueberries pop.

Strain blueberry mixture and discard skins. Allow liquid to cool.
In large pitcher, whisk together blueberry syrup, lemon juice and 6-7 cups water. Chill in refrigerator.

Serve over ice. Add a few more blueberries, lemon slices, and mint to each glass, for the perfect photo finish!

Readers, are you a casual cook or does Blake Lively follow you on Pinterest and Insta? (Also, please feel free to share your favorite blueberry treat!)

34 thoughts on “Blueberries Gone Wild

  1. I’m the cook to stay alive kind of cook. My husband does most of the cooking. I can cook and like to try new recipes when I am able. I can’t stand for very long so it makes it difficult. I have to wait for when my husband is in the mood to help me. He isn’t much of a baker.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. When I “help,” I am usually the sous chef/pan procurer, ha. But hey, Queen, there’s always Little Debby!

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      1. That said, I made some really outstanding fried chicken for dinner Saturday. But only because I was craving it and was much too lazy to change clothes and go out to eat.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hubby and I share the cooking duties. It seems when I cook for just us, it comes out fabulous. Then I will make the same thing for someone else and it will be a total disaster. That is why for all big holidays, hubby cooks. I wash dishes.
    Carol

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love blueberries to the end I’d the world and back, Lisa. I have them on my cereal in the morning and they are the ideal pairing with vanilla ice cream. And, of course, blueberry and banana smoothies. You will note, these is no cooking involved. That is on purpose!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well it *is* a holiday weekend, Mary, so it extends through the next one. Maybe start without, and just add a little vodka with each completed chapter (or scene–no, *page*) of your ms. in progress!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My few memories of Maine (when I was about three years old) are all about blueberries, too. As most of you know, I do like to cook–and am now a member of that group cooking blog I believe you were talking about, Lisa.

    But I hear ya. Cooking is one thing, but coming up with a actual “recipe”? And then being able to capture photographs of it that don’t look like something the dog dragged across the floor? Not so easy. Not to mention the fact that by the time it comes time to take photos of the finished product, the light is gone and I’ve had a couple glasses of wine. Oy….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I should have hit the blueberry wine, Leslie–maybe I wouldn’t have overboiled the blueberries while chasing the dog outside. That was my second appearance on that wonderful blog–for the first one, I borrowed a friend’s designer kitchen. With all the pine, mine is dark as the Bat Cave so the photos…sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You all know I’m the cook in my family. My hubbs can make a grilled cheese sandwich, but that’s about it.
    I love blueberry muffins!
    Hmmm, I promised our ice cream man (I swear his soft serve is like crack) some homemade chocolates on Wednesday. I have dried blueberries in my cupboard. Blueberry creams? I wonder if I have any liquor that would taste match, and plump them up a bit? And do I use dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
    Yeah, I experiment.
    Have a great 4th!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lisa, I love blueberry cobbler! My mom used to make it, and also blackberry cobbler (my dad’s favorite). Picking wild blueberries is popular in the U.P. Everybody has their favorite picking spot, which they’re loathe to share. We have discovered our own secret spot. I mostly use our hand-picked blueberries for smoothies, but I have made muffins a couple of times!

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    1. Mmmm…blueberry muffins. Did anyone ever have the famous ones from Jordan Marsh? (Recipe is google-able.) I’m sure they’re not as good as yours, Vickie!

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  7. Same as Vickie here! I love cobbler. I lean toward blackberry cobbler, though. Scratch that. I actually have a slight preference for *crisp* versus cobbler–something about that streusel topping.

    I’ve also gone berry picking, and it’s so much fun. All the fruit picking I’ve tried has been great (strawberries, oranges, apples, grapes…)!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I always have big bags of frozen fruit on hand—blueberries, strawberries, peaches and mango. I eat some of them every day, whether in a smoothie, on pancakes, with yogurt, in oatmeal, or just thawed in a bowl. So much yum! And I’ve heard that frozen fruits and vegs are more nutritious because mostly they’re frozen right there when they’re picked, so no degradation during shipping.

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  9. I have vague but lovely memories of going blueberry picking on a family vacation once, but I don’t remember which state. It might have been Maine, actually. But one of my favorite childhood books was “Blueberries for Sal.” I bought a copy for our daughter when she was little but it didn’t mean much to her. But she does have fond memories of our cherry-picking days here in SoCal. My husband, not so much. It was a miserable drive, although we did go by Vasquez rocks, so that was cool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah yes, Blueberries for Sal. A classic! Are cherries easier to pick than raspberries (ouch)? I’m imagining a lot of…red

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  10. I have been the family cook for thirty years. But even good cooks have flops. Perhaps they hurt us even more than they do casual cooks, because we don’t expect them and they generally come at the worst times.

    Blueberry Biscuits

    2 c self-rising flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tbl sugar
    pinch of black pepper (yes, pepper! Use it!)
    1 c blueberries
    1 c sour cream
    milk as needed
    Preheat oven to 450 deg. Mix dry ingredients and blueberries. Add sour cream and mix well to incorporate. Add milk by the tablespoon until all flour is incorporated and a stiff dough is formed. Use an ice cream scoop to place about 2 tbl of dough on baking sheet to form biscuits-place them so the edges touch. Bake in hot oven about 12 min until brown on top and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean. Split and enjoy with butter and coffee.

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  11. The lemonade sounds wonderful.

    I cook pretty well. But the result is generally not photo-worthy. I leave that to The Boy (who amazingly cooks well and enjoys it).

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  12. Oh my goodness, that drink sounds divine–and something that I might succeed in making!

    I’m also a cobbler gobbler, although, really anything with blueberries suits me. The kids and I used to pick blueberries in the Willamette Valley, then pretend-fight over what to make with them (other than ourselves super-full from eating handfuls).

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