Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blueberry Ginger Buckle (or is it a Cobbler?)

It's been several busy, intense weeks since I last posted, because all of a sudden the long, lazy days of summer starting careening down the hill towards fall at top speed, and then it was time to - GULP - move my son into college. Needless to say, this development produced a rich, complex emotional stew of pride, excitement, nostalgia, panic, and complete denial that left little energy for cooking (or blogging). But now he's settled in, his classes have started, all appears to be well, and it's time for me to settle back into something like a normal routine.

With another Vegan MoFo coming up, that routine includes spending some quality time in the kitchen. My own classes resume next week, so my plan for this year's MoFo is to post two or three times a week, and after careful consideration, and in light of the World War I centenary
I've decided to focus on recipes from between 1914-1918. I learned so much from my World War II austerity project  two years ago, and this theme seems like an appropriate follow-up. I've been doing some research, but would be grateful for any resources that culinary enthusiasts, living history types, material culture-friendly British modernists, etc. might be able to provide; thanks in advance.

But all that lies in the womb - or at least the stomach - of time. There's still a bit of summer left, and today's recipe reflects that fact by using a full pint of sweet, delicious, late August blueberries. So what is this thing, exactly? Is it a cobbler? Is it a buckle? Is it - wait for it - a grunt? What's the difference? And does it really matter when whatever it may be is so easy, and so delicious? Enjoy these last lazy days, and I'll see you in the trenches come September; watch this space!

Blueberry Ginger Buckle 
The Filling
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1 tbsp. fresh, grated ginger
~ 1 pint fresh blueberries
~ 1/4 cup maple syrup
~ 1/2 cup orange juice
~ 2 tbsp. corn starch

~ In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and ginger and mix well.
~ Add the blueberries, maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of the orange juice; cover and bring just to a boil.
~ Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice until smooth. Add to the berry mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and the fruit has softened slightly.
~ Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

The Batter
~ 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1 cup corn meal
~ 1 tbsp. baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp. each: baking soda, salt, cinnamon
~ Dash nutmeg
~ 1/2 cup brown sugar
~ 1 large, ripe banana, mashed
~ 1/4 cup canola oil
~ 1.5 cups almond milk (plain or vanilla)
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 1 tbsp. sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and dried ginger

~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and coat a 9 x 12" baking dish with cooking spray.
~ In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brow sugar.
~ In a separate bowl, combine the mashed banana, canola oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract; stir well until smooth.
~ Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy batter (you can add a splash more milk if it seems too dry).
~ Spoon a little more than half the batter into the bottom of your greased baking dish, making sure the bottom is entirely covered, and then add the blueberry filling (all of it!).
~ Top the filling with the remaining batter, don't try to smooth it out, but just distribute it in rough lumps, like a cobbler topping.
~ Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, and ginger over the top and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan about 15 minutes before slicing into squares for serving.

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