From My Carolina Home

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Blueberry Competition at the Mountain State Fair

The last competition I entered at the Mountain Regional State Fair was a Blueberry recipe competition sponsored by the NC Blueberry Council.  The rules for this competition were a bit different, as the focus was on the health benefits of blueberries, not their use in sweets.  In fact, for scoring purposes, healthy was 50% of the total, with ease of preparation 25% and taste 25%.  In addition, at least one cup of the blueberries had to be used unprocessed, and not part of a mix ingredient.  To me that meant using the whole berries, just washed and added to the dish.  So, I went with a Spinach Salad. The recipe was tested on my friends at a Summer Luncheon with a basic Blueberry Vinaigrette.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

I knew the blueberries had to be the main taste, and I still wanted to use a Blueberry Vinaigrette, but for the competition, an ordinary one would not do.  It needed to have some special punch, so what could I use?  Something that would pair well with blueberries but be a surprise. If only I had something fresh….

August in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

something flavorful, from the garden perhaps…

August in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Fresh basil and parsley!

Blueberry Competition at From My Carolina Home

The salad was simply constructed with fresh spinach, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped green onion, fresh blueberries, grated Parmesan cheese and for a bit of crunch, crispy bacon crumbles.  Everything tastes better with bacon.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

Stepping out to the veranda, I cut several basil leaves, and also grabbed some of the fresh parsley.  I chopped the basil and parsley, and added them to the oil and balsamic vinegar, along with the spices.  The blueberry flavor was added by using blueberry pancake syrup.  The syrup acted like an emulsifier, keeping the dressing from immediately separating and blending the flavors.  It also added a bit of sweetness to the dressing.  Blueberry Basil Vinaigrette was created.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

I constructed the competition salads individually so I could compose each serving, ensuring that each one had the right balance of elements.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the presentation as I thought it was quite pretty.  I froze water in the bottom of a circular tray, put fresh parsley around the ring, then placed the five servings of salad on top.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

The salads were very lightly dressed, and additional dressing was put in the middle of the tray for judges to have more if they wanted.  And they did, as it came back with a lot less in the mason jar.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

Each one was covered with plastic wrap, and a fork was placed on the top.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

Turned in to the judging, mine is on the left of the picture in the front. There were 23 entries in this contest, so very stiff competition.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

And I couldn’t get any more pictures, as I was absolutely blown away as my name was called first as the Third Place winner!! I got this one when I got home of the ribbon.  There were photographers there, and I have no idea where they were from.  Perhaps local newspapers, but so far I haven’t been able find a report anywhere.  The fair doesn’t put winners on its website, so I know that wasn’t it.  It was a swirl of people wanting pictures of me and the other winners, asking about the recipes, and congratulations from the other contestants.  For several minutes I could only stand in one place with a big grin on my face.  It was thrilling.

Blueberry Competiton at From My Carolina Home

No, the Blueberry Council didn’t have any aprons, LOL, but I had been hoping.  Here’s my recipe.

Blueberry Bacon Spinach Salad with Blueberry Basil Vinaigrette

1 package (8 oz) fresh spinach, trimmed
4 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or cherry tomatoes)
4 oz fresh grated Parmesan cheese
8 green onions chopped
1 pint fresh North Carolina blueberries
Blueberry Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Blueberry Basil Vinaigrette
3/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons blueberry syrup
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small jar, cover and shake very well.
Combine salad ingredients in a bowl, and dress lightly with Blueberry Basil Vinaigrette. Toss. Serves 4.

Download the pdf – Blueberry Salad Vinaigrette

Enjoy!

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Blueberry Breakfast Cake

It’s the first day of spring, so we are ready for a fresh breakfast cake, perfect with a cup of coffee.  I had blueberries and a lemon, and set to work creating a recipe for a light and lovely coffee cake.  It would be lovely as dessert too. Something with blueberries and a hint of lemon, light and airy.  DH prefers this kind of cake plain, but you could add a lemon glaze to jazz it up if you like.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

I begin with assembling a mis-en-place, assembling and measuring ingredients.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Cream butter and shortening with mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add sugar and continue until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time incorporating each one well. Add vanilla and lemon zest and stir in. Place blueberries in a bowl, stir in 1/4 cup of the flour to dust the berries. In a separate bowl, combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients in batches alternating with milk ending with dry ingredients.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Remove bowl from mixer and stir in blueberries by hand, gently folding them into the batter.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Transfer to prepared bundt pan or a tube pan. Bake for about one hour, until lightly browned and top springs back when lightly touched.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Let it cool just a couple of minutes in the pan. Then turn it onto a platter.  Serve warm right away, or allow to cool for later.  Or both, LOL!!

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

It isn’t easy to resist having a slice warm from the oven, and you don’t have to.  Yum, enjoy!

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of one lemon
1-1/2 cups blueberries
2 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan or tube pan with cooking spray, or use butter/flour to coat inside the pan. Cream butter and shortening with mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add sugar and continue until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time incorporating each one well. Add vanilla and lemon zest and stir in. Place blueberries in a bowl, stir in 1/4 cup of the flour to dust the berries. In a separate bowl, combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients in batches alternating with milk ending with dry ingredients. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in blueberries by hand, gently folding them into the batter. Transfer to prepared bundt pan or a tube pan. Bake for about one hour, until lightly browned and top springs back when lightly touched.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake @ From My Carolina Home

Delicious as is, or a lemon glaze can be added if desired by combining juice from the lemon with powdered sugar.

Download the recipe – Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Happy Spring!  Are you in the mood for a bit of spring baking?

 

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Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes

There are times to make something wonderful from scratch, and there are times that a few shortcuts yield just as yummy results.  Recently I had a lovely luncheon with a few friends and I wanted to make something dainty and sweet.  But, with all the things I wanted to do, I needed a shortcut for this idea.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Gathering a few ingredients, I decided to do some tea cakes. I thought I was making petit fours, but they turned out too tall for that.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

I began by splitting the pound cake in half horizontally.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

It didn’t turn out exactly even, but that didn’t matter.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Place blueberry jam on one side.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Put the top back on.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Cut into three long strips.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Cut strips into individual pieces.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

These turned out a bit too tall, but it was too late at this point, LOL!

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Mix up the glaze. It should flow nicely but not be too thin.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Place the tea cakes on a rack over a sheet of wax paper.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Put a dollop of glaze on each one, directing the glaze to drip down all four sides.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Use all the glaze in the cup.  Let them sit and drip for about 5 minutes.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Move the rack of tea cakes to a second sheet of wax paper. Scrape up the overflow from the first sheet, drizzling the glaze over the tea cakes in a second layer. Make sure to catch the spots that didn’t get glazed in the first round.  Let them sit for a few minutes.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Move the rack back to the first sheet of wax paper and repeat the process until all the glaze is on the tea cakes, and very little is left on the wax paper sheets.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Another shortcut, I used a flower tip on a purchased tube of frosting.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

I piped a flower on the top of each tea cake.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Next time I think I will slice the pound cake into 3/4″ slices instead of just once horizontally.  But let me tell you, these were absolutely yummy!

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

 

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes

1 frozen all butter pound cake 10.75 ounces
1/4 cup blueberry jam
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional – frosting for flower decoration

Slice pound cake into two layers horizontally. (Or, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices.)  Spread blueberry jam on one half, and reassemble.  Cut into three logs, then cross cut into six tea cakes. (Or, if using the slices, cut each into six petit fours.)  Arrange cakes on a wire rack over a piece of wax paper.  Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, mix well until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the tea cakes, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.  Move the rack to over a second piece of wax paper, scrape up the overflow from the first piece of wax paper, and drizzle over the cakes.  Repeat until no glaze remains to scrape up. Allow to dry about 2 hours to harden the glaze.  Decorate with frosting flowers and gel centers if desired.  Makes 18 tea cakes, or a few more if doing petit four size.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Enjoy the accolades, your guests will eat these up!!

Have you ever made tea cakes or petit fours?