Friday, February 17, 2012

When Life Gives You Bland Blueberries...

I have so many recipes-to-do on my list that I've lost count. My problem is that I'm so fickle that I often have trouble making up my mind. I had planned to make Red Velvet Brownies last week when I saw some fresh local blueberries at the supermarket. Normally, berries don't grow in tropical countries. There is only one place high up in the mountains in the Philippines with a cool weather that grows strawberries and blueberries. Fresh blueberries are hard to come by here so I was really excited to try them. The Red Velvet Brownies will have to wait. I had expected it to taste just like the blueberry sauce on top of cheesecakes served at coffee shops. Imagine my surprise when I popped some in my mouth..and it tasted BLEH! I almost spat it out. Most of the berries were bland and some were sublty sour. Was this how fresh blueberries taste like?! They were awful! I thought that they were also a bit smaller than the ones I've seen in photos and were more black in color rather than bluish. 

Anyway,  I almost regretted the 2 packs of blueberries I bought, so excited I was. I wanted to make Tyler Florence's Lemon Blueberry Bars but after tasting the blueberries, I wasn't so sure if that was such a good idea. So I had all these blueberries that didn't taste good and I wasn't sure what to do with them or how to get rid of them. In the end, I decided to make some blueberry syrup and turned it into this awesome homemade Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream that I found at Kitchen Simplicity. Her photos looked so irresistible and mouthwatering! The ice cream was really creamy, smooth and rich with lovely swirls of blueberry sauce and the subtle hint of cream cheese flavor. The best thing about this recipe is that there's no need for an expensive ice cream machine!

recipe adapted from Kitchen Simplicity

225 g cream cheese (1 block), room temperature
470 ml condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream, chilled overnight
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberry syrup

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth and creamy with a mixer. Gradually add the condensed milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and beat until it soft peaks form and it is doubled in volume.

Spread a little of the cream cheese mixture evenly into an 8x8 inch square pan. Dollop half of the blueberry sauce by teaspoons on top of the mixture. Swirl with a knife. Make another layer of cream cheese mixture on top, dollop with the remaining blueberry syrup and swirl. Cover with foil. Chill for 6 hrs or overnight before serving.

recipe adapted from A Farm Girl's Dabbles

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice

Cook the blueberries and sugar in a pan over medium heat until the blueberries start to release their juices. Stir together the cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the blueberries and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute until slightly thick. Remove from the heat. Chill until ready to use.

And if you have some leftover blueberry syrup, you can always spoon it over some nice cheesecake or vanilla ice cream or yogurt.