The Crave to Bake

blueberry almond crumb squares

Most of you who know me know that since my weight loss journey, I haven’t been baking much. Well according to my kids, nothing good anyway.  But today I just had the sudden urge to do so and decided to take the blueberries (that should have gone into my Greek yogurt for breakfast), and turn it into something much more satisfying.  The plan was to take it out of my oven, place it on the counter and walk away.  It DIDN’T quiet work out that way and since that plan failed me, I figured out that one square of this heavenly smelling poof of sugary goodness cost me 309 of my daily calories.  oh but It was worth every bite!!

My INTENTION here was to make or replicate the rhubarb SQUARES we lavish ourselves with at BRIERMERE FARMS when we drive out to Riverhead, using blueberries instead of rhubarb.  I wanted a thin bar with more topping than a cake, but that also DIDN’T happen. On my next one I plan to use a larger pan to spread the batter a bit thinner and get more squares, making the calorie per serving much less! I’ll keep you posted on that!  For now, try these.  You’ll love them!

 

Blueberry Almond Squares

2 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbs salted butter, softened

3/4 Cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract

3/4 Cups buttermilk

2 cups fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping

1/2  Cup light brown sugar

1/2 Cup flour

1/2 Cup butter, cold & cut into large cubes/chunks

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 Cup slivered almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 10″ square cake pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl begin making the crumb topping by adding all of the ingredients to the bowl and cutting with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse corn meal, but chunky. Refrigerate until ready to use on the cake.
  3. Begin the cake batter by combining all dry ingredients in one bowl.   In another bring the sugar and butter to a cream then add egg, vanilla and almond extract.
  4. Alternating the flour mixture and buttermilk, begin adding it to the butter mixture until well combined but not over mixed.  Now add the blueberries and fold in gently.
  5. Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan and using the back of a large wet spoon, spread evenly.  The mixture will be stiff like a dough and not like runny like traditional cake batter.  Spread the crumb topping evenly on top and bake for about 45-50 minutes.
  6. Cool down and cut into 12 squares.  Enjoy!

Ceviche Mixto

ceviche

It’s Saturday August 15, as I sit in the sweltering heat with a mild hangover.  I’m hot, hungry and cranky with the oddest of all cravings. Yup! you guessed it; for a nice cold bowl of Ceviche.  But not just any Ceviche, Colombian style Ceviche.    Yes, I could have just gone off to my favorite local Colombian Restaurant restaurant and bought a container full, but no, of course not!!  Instead I head to my local market and start to gather the ingredients to what my palate recollects.   The final product was AMAZING!!!  Maybe not exactly the way their’s taste, but in my opinion (and my husbands) BETTER!

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Its the perfect pack-able meal for a hot summer evening.  I divided the Ceviche into mason jars along with a bag full of my FRESHLY MADE CROUTONS, and headed to the lake for dinner.

Keep in mind that I don’t know how to make small of portions of anything, so feel free to reduce the amounts to half if you prefer.  This recipe made at least 8 cup servings.  Traditionally,  Ceviche is made with raw fish and allowed to cure with the lime juice.  I couldn’t bring myself to consuming raw fish so all of my seafood was cooked  thoroughly.   Try it out!  Let me know what you think!

Ceviche Mixto

2 lbs. large raw shrimp,  peeled & deveined

1 lb Red Snapper Fillet

1 lb Calamari rings & squid

1 Tbs + 1 tsp Salt

1 tbs Red wine vinegar

5 limes, juiced

1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp Pimenton dulce (sweet paprika)

8 oz mild cocktail sauce

3 Cups tomatoe juice

4 oz Goya Spanish style tomato sauce

Avacado Slices for Garnish

 

1. Begin by prepping all of your seafood.  Peel & devein shrimp,  cut calamari into rings, rinse fish and cut into large chunks ( hand palm size).  In a large pot bring water to a boil, adding 1 tbs salt and vinegar to water.  Drop shrimp into water and let cook for just a minute or so removing with a skimmer or slotted spoon.  Repeat the same process for the calamari and fish using the same water.  Be sure to remove the skin from the fish after its cooked.  The idea here is to cook your seafood but not over cook it.  Use your judgement.  I personally do not like under cooked food, especially fish.   Let Cool.

2.  In a large non reactive lidded container (I used a gallon size mason jar), place your seafood and begin adding all of the other ingredients in that order.

3. Cover tightly and begin to shake  and move the container lightly until all of the ingredients have incorporated.  Shaking or stirring too vigorously will break apart your fish and make it mushy.  Be sure that your seafood is covered completely in the liquids but not drowning or watery.  Tomato juice can be added if needed.  Let it cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 3-6 hours or overnight.

4. Serve & Enjoy

 

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Tomato & Cucumber Salad with Queso Blanco & Basil

Super simple salad with most of the ingredients right out of your own garden.  Pair with grilled chicken to make this a super low calorie dinner.

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1 English cucumber (thinly Sliced)

Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 bunch scallions

1 tsp salt

fresh pepper

1 tsp sugar

2 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 lb Queso Blanco

fresh basil leaves

Instructions

Wash chop and prep all of the veggies.

Toss in a small bowl with salt and pepper adding the  olive oil and vinegar.

Garnish with the cubed cheese and basil leaves.

Enjoy!