Caramel-Lime Blueberry Pudding Cake

Blueberry Lime Pudding Cake

I’ve had pudding cakes on my mind for quite a while now, so when I was leafing through old issues of Gourmet Magazine recently and saw the fabulous Blueberry Pudding Cake on the cover of the July 2005 issue, I knew the time had come. I had fresh blueberries and the other ingredients are kitchen staples. Of course I tweaked the recipe a bit, adding a good hit of lime and a caramel note to the sauce. And then my blueberry sauce didn’t sink through the batter as the original recipe said it should, so I tweaked the procedure for the sauce as well. The result was a hit with all four tasters. The only grumbling I heard was over the lack of ice cream accompaniment. Next time, I’ll make sure to have that on hand.

Ginger-Lime Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel

Ginger-Lime Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel

Northwest farmers markets were overflowing with fresh peaches this past weekend. And the selection is just beginning.

So far, I’ve seen Red Rose, Suncrest, Angelus, August Lady, Blushing Star, Snow Giant, Hale, Red Gold, Regina, September Snow, Summer Lady, and Yukon varieties. There are so many choices that making a decision is difficult. I sampled peaches at the Portland Farmers Market on Saturday and then again at the Hillsdale Farmers Market on Sunday.

Fresh Blueberry Roundup

Blueberries Closeup

Every summer, I work up a few new blueberry dishes and share the best of them with you. To prime your creative juices, here are some of my favorite ways to eat this super juicy, distinctively flavored berry. Check out the Fresh Blueberry Primer first to see the wide range of other ingredients that partner beautifully with blueberries. Maybe try a combination you’ve never tried before.

Blueberry Lavender Limeade

Fresh Pitcher of Blueberry Lavender Limeade with Triple Lemon Cookies

After I created Fresh Blueberry Lime Sauce earlier this summer, I devoted myself to spooning it over Burnt Sugar Ice Cream and Fireweed Honey Panna Cotta, drizzling it over Blueberry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake and MauiJim’s Cottage Cheese Pancakes, and using it way too frequently to make my favorite summer afternoon delight, Blueberry Lemon Verbena Spritzer with Candied Ginger Ice Cream.

Spicy Blueberry Ginger Chutney

Spicy Blueberry Ginger Chutney

I would have to wait until college to taste my first Indian chutney, a sweet-tart-spicy-hot-chunky-fruity, completely addictive condiment. After that first mind altering bite, there was no turning back. Today, our frig always contains at least one homemade and several store-bought chutneys.

Blueberry Lemon Verbena Spritzer with Candied Ginger Ice Cream

Blueberry Lemon Verbena Spritzer

Here we have a new fangled play on an old fashioned ice cream soda. It’s the bees knees. And guaranteed to conclude any school shopping expedition with a celebratory high.

Blueberry, Lime & Rose Petal Cheesecake

Slice of Blueberry, Lime & Rose Petal Cheesecake

Long, long ago, in a far, far away land (okay, it was Phinney Ridge near the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle), I was the co-owner of a cheesecake business called the Uncommon Cheesecake. My partner and I baked the most extraordinary cheesecakes I have ever tasted, before or since: Grand Marnier with Bitter Orange, Candied Ginger, and Café Mocha to name a few I can recall.

Fresh Blueberry Lime Sauce

Fresh Blueberry Lime Sauce with Northwest Blueberries

Blueberry season is in full swing in the Northwest. Yesterday, the Pike Place Market was overflowing with these silvery purple jewels. I nibbled my way around until I found a local grower whose berries seemed just right: full and multidimensional in flavor with good acidity to balance their sweetness.

Fresh Primer: Blueberries

Northwest Blueberries Close Up

Although blueberries are indigenous to American soil and were one of the first fruits encountered by early settlers, the blueberry industry was still a relative newcomer to Washington and Oregon agribusiness in the 1990’s when I first wrote about it in Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking. At that time, the industry was 25-30 years young by most accounts.