Raspberries and recipes ripe for the picking

17 Aug Raspberries and recipes ripe for the picking

Shrouded in bird-proof netting and surrounded by neon orange fencing sure to deter the deer population, the healthy grove of raspberry bushes my parents have been babying along for the last few years at their farm is a sight to see, and this year finally bearing its first crop of fruit fit for harvesting. Hooray!

The girls and I jumped at the chance to help. The felled fence might just as well have been a starter’s flag for us. As soon as it hit the ground, we were off and running, or rather, off and picking.

                Pulling pokey branches down for a better view, it became apparent that these raspberries grew on their own terms, not in even rows of plump perfectly-ripened berries, but rather, coexisting on one stem: an overripe, an underdeveloped and if we were lucky, one or two ruby reds. These delicate dainties had minds of their own, and the raspberries ripe for the picking, it turned out, were few and far between.

                Not that it mattered. Our efforts were richly rewarded with berries a-plenty, enough to enjoy atop my mom’s homemade rice pudding for breakfast the next morning with leftover berries to tote home with us to star in a raspberry-butter cream-filled birthday cake for a dear friend.

                Perhaps your backyard bushes are bearing berries of their own, and you’re hungry for a roundup of raspberry recipes to try out.

                If so, I give you this week’s Special of the day: Ripe for the Picking: Raspberries! with recipes for Raspberry Streusel Muffins, Walnut-crusted Chicken Medallions with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction and Raspberries and Cream Ice Cream. Enjoy!

                Recipes and food photography by Sydne George

Raspberry streusel muffins
Raspberry Streusel Muffins
 (makes 24 mid-size muffins)
                3 tablespoons softened butter
                ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
                ½ cup brown sugar
                ¼ cup flour
                In a small mixing bowl, stir together streusel ingredients.
                Muffin batter:
                1 ½ cups flour
                ½ cup sugar
                1 teaspoon baking powder
                1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
                ½ teaspoon cinnamon
                1/8 teaspoon salt
                In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
                5 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
                ½ cup milk
                1 tablespoons vanilla extract
                1 egg
                Mix together with a fork, just until combined.
                Fold in:
                6 ounces fresh raspberries
                just to incorporate.
                Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                Spray a muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.
                Drop heaping tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin.
                Sprinkle streusel topping over batter, being careful not to spill onto pan.
                Clean up edges of pan with paper towel.
                Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.
                Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes.
                Run a table knife around edges of muffins to loosen and remove from tin.
                Serve warm.


Walnut-crusted Chicken with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

                Walnut-crusted Chicken Medallions with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction 

                 (serves 4)
                1 cup balsamic vinegar
                ¼ cup fresh raspberries
                ¼ cup olive oil
                3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch thick medallions
                1 pint buttermilk
                1 cup plain bread crumbs
                1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
                ¼ teaspoon salt
                1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
                In a small saucepan over medium high heat, heat vinegar to a  simmer.
                Gently simmer until reduced by half.
                Add raspberries and stir to combine.
                Continue cooking until sauce has thickened into a syrupy liquid.
                Remove from heat. Strain to remove seeds.
                Place chicken medallions in pie plate and pour buttermilk over to cover.  
                 Stir to coat chicken medallions.
                Combine bread crumbs, walnuts, salt and pepper.
                Transfer to gallon sized plastic bag.
                Remove chicken from buttermilk, drain off any excess buttermilk.
                Place medallions in bag of breading.
                Shake to coat.
                Heat olive oil in medium sauté pan over medium high heat.
                Cook chicken medallions in hot oil until golden brown.
                Turn with tongs and cook other side until golden brown.
                Remove to paper towels.
                Serve medallions over hot buttered pasta.
                Drizzle medallions with raspberry balsamic reduction.
                Raspberries and Cream Ice Cream
                (makes about 1 quart)
                2 cups fresh raspberries
                ½ cup sugar
                1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
               Puree raspberries with sugar in blender until smooth.
               Add whipping cream to raspberry mixture and pour in ice cream maker canister, freezing and churning according to ice cream maker directions. 

                Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at  sydnegeorge@hotmail.com .

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