Tag Archives: lingonberry

Pear, Berry and Goat Cheese Hors d’ouevres ¡Que Chévrere!

16 Dec

Once again, I underestimated how much time I had to make food and how much time each item would take. Regular readers know that I am trying not to fuss when guests come over, but I got a bit ambitious for a Lucas and Amanda playdate and ended up slicing and cooking more than talking for a good part of the early evening.

However, my trip into the weeds of food prep was well worth it, if only for this one new, festive appetizer that looks so pretty and explodes with flavor.

Inspired by a holiday recipe I saw in a magazine last time I went to get my hair done, I picked up some Bosch pears. The original recipe called for Camembert, but I couldn’t find it during my very brave (or ill-advised or just plain crazy?) trip to the nearest Costco Warehouse in the middle of the holiday shopping season with its completely lawless parking lot with a just a half an hour before I had to pick up both little lunatics from the daycare. I cut my losses, grabbed some goat cheese, extricated myself from Costco without incident, and hit the refresh button on my recipe plans.

I had just got the litle guys into a groove at home (which involved unforeseen complications, like my son’s grumpy mood, and taking out the old-fashioned spiral corer and peeler for them to prepare their own apples and other such mommy activities) and Amanda was already at the door! But no harm done – the fizzy stuff was cold and all I had to do was some quick assembly for the starters.

Later I bunged Lucas’ favorite Flex-Mex Shredded Chicken chicken in to a pot and all was well (although admittedly the kids were moaning for food by the time I had it all together – why, why, why do kids decide to get hungry EARLY just when you are overwhelmed? And is there any sound more grating — and distracting — than the whine of your little emperor child when you are trying to concentrate on getting him what he wants anyway? Sheesh!)

So, for the holidays, try this with a dry sparkling wine – we had Frexienet, but I might go with a dry prosecco the next time. Amanda, my colleague, Maryanne, and I loved this up and I think you will too!

Pear, Berry and Goat Cheese Hors d’ouevres (makes a light appetizer for two)

1 Bosch Bear, core removed and sliced into thin wedges (I used a push-down apple core-and-slicer and then sliced each segment in half)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbs creamy goat cheese (chevre)

2 Tbs walnuts, chopped fairly fine

1 Tbs lingonberry jam (raspberry or red currant would also work)

Arrange pear wedges on a plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add a dollop of goat cheese. Top with walnuts and a bit of jam. Serve immediately.

Blueberry-lingonberry muffins (or mix and match berries and jam)

14 Jun

A favorite for tea, lunchbox or thoughtful treat for neighbors, caregivers and friends

Nothing makes people happier than a fresh baked treat, except a fresh-baked treat that isn’t too sinful and comes in small enough portions to make sense rather than create guilt.

Such are these blueberry-lingonberry mini-muffins that I adapted from a Stonyfield Farms strawberry muffin recipe. This recipe I first started doing with my beloved niece, The Incomparable Sofía, when she was just little (she is now a gorgeous and grown-up six-and-three-quarter-years-old). Whenever she comes home for a visit, we bake them up too. I miss her goofy little concentrated self and her beautiful long fingers in the kitchen. It is now Leandro’s favorite thing to bake. It is slightly more complicated than my banana bread or banana muffins; just make sure to lay out all your ingredients, measuring spoons and cups, and bowls before calling the kids to the work table and you can easily do it with a three-year-old maniac (or two!)

We prefer blueberries to strawberries (although to be honest, blueberries do lend a greenish tinge to the final product that is a bit weird, though no one ever, ever complains) as I think they have a punchier flavor when baked. I’ve done it with mixed berries, but early on some kids objected to the seed bits in blackberries and raspberries, so I fell out of the habit of using them.

The real key to good berry flavor, though, I learned from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, which suggests adding berry jam. Blueberry jam might be the obvious choice for blueberry muffins, but as a non-jam eater, I just used what I had in the fridge the first time out, which happened to be lingonberry (shout-out to Sofía’s mom, Annika from Sweden; you’ll find it at IKEA) and we liked the tart sweetness so much, we’ve stuck with it. If you are not familiar with them, think red currant or a softer, gentler version of cranberries.

I prefer mini-muffins, because they allow me to divide and share them more easily and because you can feel good about popping just one or two. Leandro’s caregivers really appreciate getting a batch, and it makes a perfect element to a good fika (Swedish coffee break hang out session – coffee klatch to New Yorkers!).

Blueberry-lingonberry/Any-berry muffins (makes 48 mini-muffins or 12 standard)

1 Cup all purpose flour

1 Cup whole wheat flour

½ Cup sugar (white or light brown)

1.5 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 Cup plain yogurt (I use nonfat, lowfat is also fine)

¼ Cup butter (unsalted preferred, but salted is okay) melted and cooled

1 tsp vanilla

1 Cup chopped/mashed blueberries or berries of your choice (frozen are very convenient. Thaw first)

1-2 Heaping Tbs berry jam (I use lingonberry, but use whatever red/blue/purple berry jam you’ve got)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease your muffin tins ahead (especially if baking with children – Be prepared!)

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix the eggs, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla (if your butter is still very hot, you may get crusty bits when it comes in contact with the cold yogurt. Just break them up as you mix and don’t worry).

Fold berries into the dry mixture. Fold wet mixture into the dry mixture. Swirl in the jam. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling about 2/3 up. Bake for 12 minutes (mini-muffins) or 20-25 minutes (standard size). Cool for a minute, then remove from tins and let cool completely on wire racks (if you’ve got; otherwise any cool, clean surface will do). These keep well tightly covered in the fridge for a week.


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