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A Blueberry Field Trip

November 19, 2013

Novio and I just returned from a blueberry field trip. Actually, it wasn’t very far afield. OK, it wasn’t in a field at all. It was in fellow food blogger Erika Kerekes’s house.

Erika writes the blog, In Erika’s Kitchen, and invited Food Bloggers Los Angeles members to come and enjoy A Very Blueberry Thanksgiving, sponsored by the US Highbush Blueberry Council. (View lots of good nutrition and recipe information on their website – simply place cursor over their highlighted name and click.)

Fall Flowers

Here is the menu she presented. Prepare to be inspired by this meal:

PRE-FEAST NIBBLES
Blueberry mulled cider
Mashed potato pops with blueberry ketchup
Pumpkin soup shooters with dried blueberry dust

THE MEAL
Butternut squash salad with pepitas, butter lettuce and blueberry vinaigrette (featured)
Pulled turkey sliders with blueberry chutney
Roast turkey breast with blueberry green apple salsa (featured)
Chili-rubbed sweet potatoes with dried blueberries
Brussels sprouts with blueberry balsamic glaze
Blueberry “stuffin’ muffins”

DESSERT
Pumpkin pound cake trifle with blueberry sauce

Thanksgiving Dishes

*******

I’m a big fan of adding roasted vegetables to salads and butternut squash is a favorite. Another way to make a salad come alive is to incorporate a fresh fruit & toasted nut (or seed) combo. When I saw this salad on the menu, I knew it would be a winner. It was.

Blueberry salad

Butternut Squash Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe by Erika Kerekes for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients:

1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ large butternut squash
1 large red onion
1 large head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

First, make the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. (This step can be done several days ahead.) Put the dried blueberries and balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer about 30 minutes, until the vinegar is reduced by about a third and the blueberries are plump and rehydrated. Let the mixture cool a bit, then put it in a blender with 1 cup of olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until very smooth. If working ahead, store in the refrigerator until you begin the rest of the steps below.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler and cut the flesh into 1-inch chunks. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast in the oven until brown around the edges and very tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to just warm.

Make a bed of lettuce in a serving bowl or on a large serving platter. Mound the squash and onions in the middle. Sprinkle the blueberries and pumpkin seeds on top. Drizzle the entire salad generously with the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette in a zig-zag pattern. Serve immediately.

Serves 8-10 as a first course.

*******

Turkey and Apples are a wonderful combo. I have a friend who loves to spread applesauce on sliced turkey. The idea of creating a fresh salsa with apples, onions and blueberries is a healthful alternative to some of the tummy-stuffers appearing on many Thanksgiving tables.

Apple Blueberry Salsa

Boneless Roast Turkey Breast with Blueberry Salsa

Recipe by Erika Kerekes for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients:

 2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on (about 2 pounds per half
2 teaspoons garlic salt
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups Granny Smith apple, skin on, cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 large apples)
1 cup fresh jicama, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice
1 cup red onion, cut into ½-inch dice
juice of 1 lime
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Spray a shallow roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the turkey breast halves in the pan skin side up. Sprinkle the turkey breast halves with the garlic salt and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the turkey at least 2 hours or up to overnight. This dry-brining lets the garlic salt permeate the meat and will help to keep the turkey moist.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 ° F.

3. Remove the plastic wrap and pour the melted butter over the turkey breast halves, using your fingers or a pastry brush to make sure the entire surface of the turkey is coated. Roast the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (start checking after an hour; it will probably take about 90 minutes). Tent the pan with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes.

4. While the turkey is roasting, make the salsa: In a large bowl, mix together the blueberries, apple, jicama, onion, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Let sit at room temperature until the turkey is done.

5. To serve, cut the turkey into ¼-inch slices. Place the slices on a serving platter, fanning them gently. Spoon a line of the salsa down the middle of the turkey breast slices. Put the rest of the salsa in a serving bowl next to the platter.

Serves 8-10

A Very Blueberry Thanksgiving. Now, that’s my kind of field trip. Thanks to Erika for developing these delicious recipes and for a very fun-filling afternoon. And thanks to Wines of Rioja for  supplying us with delicious wine pairings along with information about the wine produced in the Rioja region of Spain.

collageFor other blueberry dessert ideas,

click here for Bumbleberry Coffee Cake,

here for Blackberry Cobbler (swap out the blackberries for blueberries),

or here for Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Cake (swap out the poppy seeds for blueberries).

Bumbleberry Breeze loves Blueberries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Chanukah!

Blue is a good color for Chanukah.

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From → Fruit, Poultry, Sides

4 Comments
  1. Wasn’t that fun!? What a lovely post, and it was great to see you at this delicious event!

  2. Wonderful to meet you at this fun event. I loved the salad as well!

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