I’m still on my blueberry kick. I already made some scones so I decided to try some crumble bars. I wanted them to have a nice crust on the bottom, sort of like a lemon bar but have the moisture of a coffee cake and the crunch of a streusel topping all rolled into one. There are a huge variety of crumb bar recipes out there. I decided to combine some of the things I liked about a few of the old stand by recipes I had for cherry crumb bars and lemon bars to come up with this one. It turned out very nicely. I didn’t even have to add nuts to the top to give it the satisfying “crumb” texture, the blueberries kept their integrity without turning into a gooey sauce and the bottom crust was fantastic, holding it all together. This thing can be eaten as a bar, but I’m telling you it’s unparalleled with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top! (Or at least that’s what everyone else who ate them up told me. Only 4 more days to go on this cleanse…)
Blueberry Crumble Bars
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (save to add to the mixture later)
4 cups fresh blueberries
juice of one lemon
3 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest and baking powder. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter with the flour mixture until a crumbly mixture forms. Whisk egg and vanilla together and pour into the flour mixture and blend well. Mixture will be crumbly. Press half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9 x 13 pan and bake for about 18 minutes.
In the meantime, add the rolled oats to the remaining flour mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the blueberries with lemon juice, corn starch and sugar, taking care not to smash any of the berries. Take the crust out of the oven, it should be a light brown color, spread the blueberry mixture evenly on top and sprinkle the flour/oat mixture on top of the blueberries. Return to the oven and bake an additional 40 minutes until golden brown on top and berries are nice and bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cool completely and cut into bars.
South Indian Lemon Rice is one of those quick and easy dishes to prepare when you have some left over rice on hand or need to make a quick side dish that goes well with a variety of main dishes. I love the fresh flavors and the unique taste of the curry leaves along with the crunch of the toasted cashews and split gram lentils. No wonder it’s such a popular dish all over the Southern part of India. The key to the flavor of this dish is keeping it at a high heat and allowing each ingredient to toast and pop to add to the depth of taste. You have to work fast though and have all the ingredients nearby because it can burn really fast. Recent studies have linked Turmeric with lower incidences of Alzheimer’s disease and as a great anti-inflammatory agent. In this dish the Turmeric gives it that light, golden color with a hint of flavor that does not overshadow the lemony taste. A great way to get in some added health benefits while enjoying great taste.
Here’s the Recipe:
Lemon Rice~South Indian Fried Rice
4 cups cooked rice (I prefer Basmati Rice)
5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
5 dried red whole Chilies
1 tablespoon Split Gram yellow lentils
1 tsp raw Sesame Seeds
3 tablespoons Golden Raisins
1/4 cup raw unsalted Cashews
1 lemon, zested
Juice from one lemon
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Kosher salt
10-12 fresh Curry Leaves
In a large wok or frying pan heat oil and stir fry mustard seeds and dried chilies until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add in Sesame Seeds, lentils and salt and stir fry another 50 seconds. Add in Cashews, Raisins and Turmeric stir fry a few seconds before adding in curry leaves and then the zest of one lemon and the juice of the entire lemon. Stir to blend flavors and add in cooked rice, tossing well to coat. Serve hot as a vegetarian dish or as a great side dish.
You will need a quart sized Mason or canning jar along with lid and band. Make sure you sterilize the jar by either boiling it in water for about 5 minutes or running it in the dishwasher.
8-10 large Lemons scrubbed and cleaned well and the visible stems cut off the ends
3/4 cup of Kosher Salt
Put about 2 tsp of kosher salt in the bottom of the mason jar. Cut each lemon into fourths but don’t cut completely into quarters.
Rub each section of quartered lemon liberally with kosher salt and squeeze juice into a glass bowl. Place salted lemons inside the mason jar and pack them in tightly. Pour all juice into mason jar and add 2 tsp kosher salt on the top. Screw lid and band on tightly and turn jar upside down a few times. Leave jar on kitchen counter for about 3 days then refrigerate for 30 days before using. Lemons will soften and become tender. Preserved lemons can be stored for 6 months. Make sure to rinse well before using.
Tajine is a clay pot that is used in North African cooking. If you have a long clay pot make sure you use a heat diffuser so it doesn’t crack on the stove top. If you don’t have a Tajine, don’t worry a nice big skillet with a lid will work just fine. You will need about 8-10 Chicken Thighs with skin. Please use bone in chicken thighs or even a whole chicken instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts because you need the extra flavor of bone in chicken. Wash and pat the chicken pieces dry. Rub each piece with the spice marinade and put in a ziplock bag overnight in the refrigerator.
Marinade for chicken (preferably overnight):
1 ½ tsp Cumin
1 ½ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Paprika
4 chopped garlic cloves
Pulp from preserved lemon (recipe included)
1 tsp kosher salt
The next day, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy bottom skillet and place the chicken skin side down. Sear both sides of the chicken for about 5 minutes each to get a nice brown color. You’re not cooking it all the way through just locking in flavor and color.
Set the chicken aside. In the same pan add the following:
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
1 Preserved Lemon – rinse well and chop the lemon skin into small pieces
1 Red bell pepper chopped
Saute a few minutes and then add the following:
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup Kalamata and Moroccan Olives (use a combo)
Fresh garlic about 5 cloves chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
½ cup each chopped Cilantro and flat leaf Parsley
Sauté a few more minutes and add chicken back into pan. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, covered. Taste for salt and adjust. Because preserved lemons and olives are salty be careful with how much additional salt you add. Serve with couscous.