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Best Berry Recipes

06/23/2012 02:13PM ● By Anonymous
Summer is a wonderful time in Vermont. Whether you are here for a week, the summer, or forever, it won’t take long before you begin to wonder, “Is there any place better?” (The answer is no.) Warm, sunny days and million-dollar views make a good golf game great, regardless of the score. Hikes in the hills and bike rides in the woods are picture perfect.

There are plenty of local shops, museums, and interesting sites to entice you and keep you busy on the infrequent rainy day. Delightful cafés, comfy inns, and elegant restaurants beckon for leisurely lunches and relaxed dinners.

With all of the wonderful bounty from local farms, you don’t need to go out to enjoy a spectacular meal. From early peas to corn that city folk can only dream about, local farms offer up a beautiful summer bounty. Berries are a favorite New England summer treat. Picking your own berries, be they strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, is a great way to spend a morning. Bring your buckets and the kids or grandkids, and pick a few pints or stock up and pick a peck. Berries are easy to freeze and on a cold, gray day in November, they will remind you of a glorious day on the farm.

Kir Framboise

A lovely cocktail with a touch of raspberry.

Serves 1

  • 1/2–1 oz Framboise (raspberry liqueur)
  • 4–5 oz dry white wine (or champagne for a Kir Framboise Royale)
  • Fresh raspberries
Pour the Framboise into a wineglass. Slowly add the wine, garnish with fresh raspberries, and serve.

Duck & Blueberry Salad

A big beautiful salad is summer’s answer to the one-dish supper.

Serves 6 as a main course

  • 2 lb duck breasts
  • Juice of 1-1/2 oranges
  • 4–5 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb haricot verts (thin green beans)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • Grated peel of 1/2 orange
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • About 8 oz mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans, toasted
1. Lightly score duck breasts through skin, but not into the flesh, in a crosshatch pattern. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice of 1 orange, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2-1/2 tablespoons mustard, 3/4 of the garlic, and all of the jalapeno, thyme, and spices; season with salt and pepper. Put the duck breasts and marinade in a heavy resealable plastic bag. Let the duck marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to cool. Drain well.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. (You may need two skillets or you can cook the duck in batches.) Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, shake off the excess, add the duck to the skillet skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 5 minutes.

4. Transfer the duck breasts to a platter and let rest covered in foil while you make the vinaigrette.

5. To make the vinaigrette: reduce the heat to medium. (If you used 2 skillets, transfer the drippings to a single skillet.) Add the shallot to the duck drippings and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar and the remaining mustard and orange juice, plus grated orange peel. Whisk in the olive oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the blueberries and toss. Turn off the heat and let the blueberries warm through for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Thinly slice the duck breasts. Toss the beans and greens with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Put the salad on individual plates or a large platter, arrange the duck slices on top of the salad, garnish with the blueberries and pecans, and serve.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

Sweet and tart, Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup is the perfect early summer dessert.

Serves 6

  • 1/2 lb rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2-inch piece ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Juice of 4 oranges (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • Crème Anglaise (optional, recipe follows)
  • Grated lime zest for garnish
1. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, spices, pepper, salt, and juices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until mushy. Let cool completely.

2. Put the rhubarb mixture and strawberries in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Spoon the soup into serving bowls or glasses, drizzle with Crème Anglaise if using, garnish with lime zest, and serve.

Crème Anglaise

  • 3 egg yolks
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tsp Grand Marnier
  • Pinch nutmeg
1. Prepare an ice bath fitted with a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Put the yolks, zest, and sugar in a small saucepan; whisk to combine. Whisk in the half and half. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches 170º to 175º. Strain the custard though a fine mesh sieve into the bowl set in the ice bath. Stir in the Grand Marnier and nutmeg; let cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Summer Berry Crisp

A warm and cozy crisp is perfect for cool, late summer nights.

Serves 6

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp Framboise (optional)
  • Crumble Topping (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 375º.

2. Place the blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch, orange and lemon zests, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and lightly toss. Drizzle with Framboise, if using, and lightly toss.

3. Place the berry mixture into a square 8- or 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the topping. Cook 25 or 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Crumble Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
Combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and spices in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the oats; pulse until the topping comes together in large lumps.

Freezing Berries

Pick more than you need and reap the benefits of beautiful berries on a cold winter day. Use them in yogurt shakes, muffins, and pies for a taste of summer all year long.

1. Rinse the berries in a large colander; remove any stems or stray leaves and drain. Place a clean, dry dish towel on the bottom of a rimmed nonstick baking sheet, add the berries in a single layer, and gently pat dry. Remove the towel and again arrange berries in a single layer on the baking sheet.

2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen solid, remove them from the baking sheet and transfer to plastic, resealable freezer bags or airtight plastic containers and return to the freezer.

by Susan Nye

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