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I Found My Thrill

On blueberry hill. My friend Noi and I enjoyed picking blueberries in the early morning sunlight at Crazy Larry’s Berries U-pick farm. Larry and his wife have found love and passion farming berries on a small hill in Monitor, Washington. Theirs is a perfect lifestyle for a retired couple and their farm reflects their life and the romance they’ve found farming and cooking blueberries. I could not help humming along to the tune of Blueberry Hill as I was  cooking with Larry’s blueberries and thinking of Larry and his wife in this sweet melody. Here is a desert recipe that I enjoyed cooking with blueberries. The memories of Larry’s Berries are part of me still!

Crazy Larry’s Berries Farm, Cashmere

Crazy Larry’s Advice

Larry gave me lots of good recommendations for preparing and storing my berries. First of all, he suggested that I place all of my blueberries on a baking sheet, then select those that have the same quality of perfect ripeness; put them in a bowl and set the others aside.

Next I divided up the perfect ones. Those that I planned to eat fresh I placed in a plastic container with a good air venting design. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them because the natural wax will keep the fruit fresh for a long period of time—but do keep them in the fridge until then.

For the portion that I want to freeze, Larry recommended washing the berries before freezing. Here is his tip on how to wash them: Gently wash the berries with a lot of water. Remove them from the water with a strainer, then gently roll them back and forth on a towel  to get rid of the water. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze them right away. For the odd under-ripe ones, Larry recommends using them for cooking, from a blueberry vinaigrette to a blueberry sauce.

Blueberries at U-pick farm

After a week of eating and cooking fresh blueberries, the most memorable dish of all has been the blueberry cake with coconut cream cheese frosting which I took to the ordination ceremony at my Thai community event. I was thrilled by how well this cake turned out, simply by my playing with ingredients I had on hand.

Blueberry-Coconut Sauce

This blueberry and coconut sauce is simple and delicious. It is an all-purpose sauce that is great for pouring over anything from pancakes to shortcake, or even on toast. Keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.

2 cups blueberries, washed
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter

Bring blueberries, palm sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to medium heat; cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. When blueberries look soft and jelly-like, stir in the coconut oil or butter. Stir well and let the mixture cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and let it cool. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Blueberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2 cups

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
1/4 cup coconut cream (or the top layer from a can of Thai coconut milk)
2 teaspoons coconut flavoring or vanilla extract (Frontier Natural Flavors preferred)

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. With a spatula, fold in sugar and coconut cream; then with electric mixer beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Fold in coconut flavoring. Keeps well in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Blueberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Blueberry Nah Cream Cheese Maproaw

เค้กบลูเบอร์รี่หน้าครีมชีสมะพร้าว

I often get creative with cake mixes when I have a limited amount of time. I was hesitant to share this recipe using a cake mix, but  decided to share it with you because it was so scrumptious that I would prepare it the same way again. I hope you enjoy blueberries three ways: in the cake, as a sauce, and as a fresh garnish on top. Love, blueberries and now my dream blueberry dessert come true.

Serves: 12

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Blueberry sauce from recipe above, divided
1 cup coconut cream cheese frosting from recipe above
1 cup fresh blueberries, optional
 

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Oil and dust a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.

Blend cake mix in a large bowl along with eggs, vegetable oil, Greek yogurt and 1/2 of the blueberry sauce. Use an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Spread the entire cake surface with the coconut cream cheese frosting, then pour the remaining half of blueberry sauce on top and drop fresh blueberries on the entire surface as well. Place blueberries lightly to make them stick to the frosting. Cut into wedges and serve.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
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