Cooking with Kate: Bursting with Blueberries

Summertime growing up in Nacogdoches meant one thing – the Texas Blueberry Festival. From enjoying the Kiwanis Club’s blueberry pancakes first thing in the morning, to cooking chicken and fish for the Rotary Club’s chicken and fish fry, to sunny afternoons sitting on the brick streets, sipping blueberry lemonade, and listening to live music – the Blueberry Festival has always been one of my favorite weekends of the year. In honor of the 2015 Texas Blueberry Festival on June 13th, we’re highlighting some quick and easy beginner recipes as well as recipes for our more seasonsed chefs. Each recipe features the little berry that grows so well here in Deep East Texas.

Beginner Recipes

Your family and friends won't believe how easy these recipes are. Beginner or not, everyone will enjoy these dishes!

Fresh Green Salad with Blueberries and Candied Honey Pecans

Toss fresh assorted spring greens, baby spinach, fresh blueberries, chopped candied honey pecans, and shredded mozzarella or crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle with a slightly sweet vinaigrette (champagne or blush wine vinaigrettes work well) for a quick summer salad!

Blueberry Ricotta Crostini

Brush thin slices of baguette with olive oil and bake at 350°F for 5-8 minutes until crisp. Lightly spread each slice with 1 teaspoon ricotta cheese and top with fresh blueberries and a drizzle of good quality honey or spiced blueberry jam and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Expert Recipes

Channel your inner cooking goddess and try your hand at recipes that chef-worthy!

Spiced Blueberry Jam

  • 10 cups fresh blueberries, stems removed
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 package fruit pectin
  • 1 dozen (4 oz.) canning jars with lids and rings

Add blueberries, spices, lemon juice, and pectin to a large pot over medium-high heat. Crush blueberries with a potato masher or stick blender. Add pectin, mix well, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Immediately add all the sugar and mix well. Bring to a full, rolling boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam with a metal spoon. Fill clean, hot jars with the hot jam to within 1/8. Cover with sterilized lids and rings, and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Blueberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or 2 pounds chicken legs and thighs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sear chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 1 minute per side or until a light crust forms. Remove to a baking dish and set aside. Add remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet and, when hot, stir in shallots and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add blueberries and cook 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and rosemary and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the blueberries have collapsed. Pour the blueberry balsamic mixture over chicken and put baking dish in the top half of the oven for about 10 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through to a temperature of 165°F.

Lemon Blueberry Bars

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of two lemons
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla together until combined. Use a pastry cutter or your food processor to blend the flour mixture with the butter and egg/vanilla mixture. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan. In another bowl, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.