Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I hope my description can place a picture in your mind of this Blueberry Crumb Cake...

I mentioned yesterday that Jeff would be bringing in two treats into work today - the first we already mentioned and the second was this Blueberry Crumb Cake I made last night. I apologize for the lack of pictures for this cake - we did get them taken, but somehow they did not get transfered to the computer before we deleted them off the camera?! I wish I could have shown you just how gorgeous this cake was! We did, however, take pictures of the homemade cranberry jam from that intriguing cake and I forgot to put them up - here is a snap of that before we get to the crumb cake.

Cranberry-Orange Jam PictureThis very tall cake was so light, fluffy and loaded with blueberries that it was hard to just stop at our one sample piece! Perched on top is a bountiful layer of buttery irregular crumbs that is studded with crunchy walnuts. If you make this and want to make life a little easier, you can throw the crumb mixture together a couple days ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you need it. This gives the softened butter in the crumb mixture time to harden up which makes it much easier to break apart to scatter on top of the batter. While I usually recommend to toast nuts in recipes before you use them, I wouldn't here - they are directly exposed to the heat and will have plenty of time to develop that same flavor.

With buttermilk in the batter, the cake itself is moist and quite tender - it is lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg with a faint lemon background coming from lemon zest. Using fresh juicy blueberries would probably be best if you want to retain that rich straw color inside of the cake - however, I used frozen wild blueberries so parts of our batter were stained as I folded them into the batter.

The Sweet and Sour Chicken we made for dinner tonight had a bit of prep work, but it comes together in a snap once that is done, making it a great weeknight dish. Chunky pieces of chicken breast with fresh minced garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper for a touch of heat are sautéed in a glug of olive oil until the meaty pieces have fully cooked. With one and a half pounds of chicken, you will want to make sure you have a very large skillet to do this step - if you don't, I would cook the chicken in batches so they sear correctly and don't stew in their juices.

Once the chicken is done, it is removed from the pan with chopped onions and celery being added behind it. After they have cooked until they are crisp-tender, fresh pieces of sweet golden pineapple are added to the pan. The ever-important sauce of pineapple juice, soy sauce, dry sherry, brown sugar and cornstarch is added into the pan with the cooked chicken mixture. The sauce bubbles away and quickly thickens, coating the chicken and vegetables in a glossy sweet and sour sauce. I didn't have enough of one kind of rice, so I mixed a bit of nutty brown basmati with wild rice to cook and serve as a bed for this chicken dish. For a crunchy finish, we scattered a handful of chopped cashews over each portion.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Picture


  1. Drat on the picture snafu - I am always paranoid that I'll do something like that! Sounds yummy though......

  2. Double-drat! If you make this again Joe please post a picture. I've baked so many blueberry pound cakes for my clients this season that I may just turn into a blueberry...LOL. I may try this while on vacation next week.

    Thanks for the great recipe....

  3. Accidentally deleting your pictures before you post sounds to me like a perfect excuse to make the cake again!!

  4. Well, Joe, I guess you'll just have to make another one!

  5. Mmmmmm, I have a huge quart of blueberries and I've been seeking inspiration. That cake sounds fab!

  6. Alysha - It's not the first time!

    Michelle - I know what you mean, we are over our heads trying to get our supply used up!

    Janet - You have a point!

    Harry and Eddie - Hmm... no fair, I'm getting ganged up on!

    Homesick Texan - Let me know if you give the cake a try!