Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Rum Point, Grand Cayman

What's not to love about blueberries? Hardly a calorie, high in antioxidants, full-flavored. Easy to work with, easy to pick or find during the summer months, versatile in tarts or on granola or in salads, or even in barbecue sauce, like the spicy blueberry rib sauce I love at Twelve Bones in Asheville, NC....and I'm working on duplicating that here, too.
But here's my fav......a very tart lemon curd topped with fresh blueberries.
And, it's easy. Just take it a step at a time. Zest and juice the lemons. Make and bake the crust, then while that's chilling, cook the lemon curd. Be sure to strain it, as shown, for that removes the lemon zest and leaves the curd smooth on the tongue.

While the curd is cooling, wash and dry the berries. Then it's child play, dropping berries until you couldn't possibly add another blue bomb.......Chill or just dive into it!
RECIPE...........LEMON CURD and BLUEBERRY TART, from my first book, THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK: Recipes & Traditions from NC's Barrier Islands.

For the Pastry:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/4 cup flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, vanilla, lemon zest, sugar, and salt. Graduallly stir in enough flour to form a soft ball of dough.
3. Place the dough in the center of the prepared tart pan. press the pastry evenly over the bottom and up the sides, using your fingertips.
4. Place the tart shell in the center of the oven and bake until pastry is lightly browned, about 15 to 18 minutes.
5. Place on a wire rack and cool before adding the lemon curd.

For the Lemon Curd:
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained (from 5 to 6 large lemons)
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1//2-inch cubes

1. In a large sauce pan, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, and pinch of salt.
2. Add butter, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping sides and bottom or pan. DO NOT BOIL.
3. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is the consistency of loosely whipped cream, thick enough to coat the back of the spatula and leave a trail when a finger is drawn through it.
4. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the pre-baked pastry shell.

To finish the tart:
1 1/2 pint blueberries, rinsed, picked over, and patted dry

1. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature, about 1/2 hour.
2. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the top.
3. Refrigerate, for up to one day.
4. When ready to serve, remove the outside ring from the tart, and let sit at room temperature for 20 t0 30 minutes before serving. Best eaten the day it is made.

Let me show you why I have not posted lately.....below is my husband standing on top of Grandfather Mountain, where we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary.
And then we spent a week snorkeling, drinking beer, eating conch ceviche, conch fritters and red snapper on Grand Cayman with our friends. Great getaway!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Chevre on toasted baguette, with ripe tomato and basil.

Nope, that's not a misspelling. Today, with more and more big box groceries, bookstores, and WalMarts, we consumers need to support our local, independent merchants now more than ever. Sure, you may have to pay full price for a hardback book, but in the long run, we all pay in so many ways. Keep the independents in business, and we'll have more diversity and a stronger, local economy. That's my 4th of July message!

T-Shirt from Sterling Bridge Dairy, Floyd Co, VA
So it's got a French name, but fresh goat cheese is All-American. Goats are such a trip. They can be "hired" to clear fields....they love kudzu! And climbing on cars. And at Caromont, in Esmont, VA outside of Charlottesville, Gail Hobbs-Paige's goats line up, in the exact same pecking order, every day, twice a day, outside of the milking parlor.

Here she's with some of her new kids, weaned from their moms so that their milk can be turned into mild and creamy cheese, some dusted with herbs, others with a layer of ashe, still others aged for a bit then washed in a local vinegar, produced from local wines, from Virginia Vinegar Works.

Ripshin Dairy, from Love Valley, is sold at the Watauga County Farmers Market. Love Liza's chevre with lemon, and with lavender.
Three Graces makes lovely chevre flavored with a variety of herbs. Look for them at Asheville's tailgate and farmers markets. Also, Spinning Spider has been making chevre for quite a few years, with lovely aged cheeses, esp that I have enjoyed.
Looking Glass Creamery, near Asheville, hopes to make the area "the Napa Valley of cheese." Jennifer Perkins was the "sheep technician" at the famed Blackberry Farm resort, where she tended the goats during the day and experimented with cheese at night. Now, she's producing a fantastic variety of aged and creamy cheese.
One of the oldest goat dairies in the Piedmont is Celebrity Dairy, where you can also take a peaceful retreat at the Inn, built among the pastures where goats and chickens roam near Siler City and Pittsboro. Fleming Pfann's cheeses are exceptional, especially those aged and/or herbed.
At just about every farmers market throughout the Southeast, you'll find a goatherder and their cheese, or soaps. Indulge, and enjoy.

Here's something to cheer up those of us who suffer from gas, bloating, or worse with cream, milk or some cheeses: Goat and sheep cheeses are more easily tolerated by our lactose sugar intolerant tummies. And, the harder the cheese, the better for us, too. Check out the explanation given by Barbara Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

- Spread on toasted bread, then top with herbs, or tomatoes and herbs, or roasted sweet peppers
- Add to sauteed vegetables and pasta, while all is warm
- Crumble over spinach or variegated lettuces
- Drizzle chevre with honey, for a sweet treat, esp when served with fresh figs or peaches

In THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, you'll find some outstanding recipes using chevre, like Roasted Beets, Rosemary and Chevre in Pastry; Warm Goat Cheese and Artichoke Spread; Fried Green Tomato Napoleon with chevre as one of the layers; and Tomato Ramekins with Goat Cheese.
Here's one I'll share from THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK that came about one evening at the beach when we were racing to prepare our sunset cocktails. I threw together what I had on lots of cooks do. The results were worth repeating.

Crabs and Goats Cocktail Spread
1 cup backfin crabmeat
1/4 cup bottled cocktail sauce iwth horseradish
1/3 cup chevre
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste
crackers, crostini or toast points

Mix all ingredients together. Spread and enjoy!