Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie (photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council)

Blueberry Pie (photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council)

Blueberry Pie is the dessert du jour because April 28 is national Blueberry Pie Day. The timing is perfect for Florida growers because our berries are in plentiful supply. Florida’s history of blueberries began with wild berries in the late 1800s, according to the Florida Blueberry Growers Association.  The industry declined in the 1920s and it wasn’t until the 1960s that things began to change with a low-chill blueberry breeding program at the University of Florida. In 1976, the first southern highbush cultivars were released. Hundreds of small blueberry farms have opened across Florida over the past three decades. Florida produces only a fraction of the berries that industry leader Michigan does. But Florida’s berries are harvested before other locations around the country giving Florida farmers an advantage with limited competition.

Blueberry Pie
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 (2-crust) package refrigerated pie crust
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

1. Roll out one sheet pie crust to flatten. Fit into a 9-inch pie dish.
2. In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until mixture is thickened and clear. Stir in butter; cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups blueberries and lemon peel.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. Turn cooled filling into pie shell.
4. Lay the remaining pie crust on a sheet of wax paper. Roll out to flatten. With a knife or pastry wheel cut pastry into 3/8-inch wide strips. Arrange in a criss-cross pattern on top of blueberries, pressing ends into the edges of the bottom crust and crimping to seal.
5. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake in the bottom third of oven until crust is golden and filling bubbles gently, about 30 minutes. Cool on rack.

Variations

  • Cornmeal Crumb Top: Do not use top crust. In a medium bowl combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons softened butter until blended. Crumble over filling. Bake as above.
  • Decorated Lattice: Cut top crust into 3/4-inch wide strips. Set the two end strips and two short strips aside. Arrange remaining strips in a criss -cross pattern on top of blueberries. With the large end of a piping tip or a small knife cut out 15 small circles and 12 small leaves . Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place in clusters decoratively on the pastry lattice securing with a little milk. Bake as above.

SOURCE: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Morning Mix recipe: Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower

Morning Mix recipe: Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower

Herb-Topped Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower (photo courtesy BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)

Herb-Topped Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower (photo courtesy BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)

Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower is Sunday supper worthy. But the dish won’t be special if it’s overcooked. Using a thermometer the only sure fire way to tell if meat is cooked thoroughly and to the desired doneness. There are several kinds of thermometer including digital, dial, instant-read and oven-safe thermometers (the type you leave in the meat as it cooks). Different kinds of thermometers have different usage guidelines, according to beef2live.com. For example, some must be inserted at least 2 inches; others provide an accurate reading with only a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch inserted into the food. Here are some tips for using meat thermometers, from foodsafety.gov:

  • Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the food, making sure it doesn’t touch bone, fat or gristle.
  • Know the proper temperature reading for the food you’re cooking. In general, steaks, roasts and chops (beef, pork, veal and lamb) must be cooked to at least 145F, with an additional three minutes of rest time before carving or consuming. Ground beef must be cooked to 160F. Poultry (ground, whole or pieces), as well as casseroles, reheated leftovers and foods cooked in the microwave oven, must reach 165F.
  • After each use, clean the thermometer with hot, soapy water.
  • In addition, thermometers should be checked for accuracy every once in a while. Some types can be calibrated, allowing you to make adjustments to be sure they’re giving an accurate reading. But even thermometers that can’t be calibrated should be checked. If your thermometer is off by 2 degrees or more, it’s time to get a new thermometer. An easy way to test the accuracy of your thermometer is to put the stem in a glass full of crushed ice and water, making sure it’s at least 2 inches deep and not touching the sides or bottom of the glass. After 30 seconds, the reading should be 32F.

Beef Roast With Roasted Cauliflower
Yield: 12-16 servings

1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless beef strip roast
4 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 (2-1/2 pound) heads cauliflower, separated into florets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2/3 cups dry Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Press 2 teaspoons of garlic evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Press thyme evenly over roast.
2. Place roast, fat-side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat. Do not add water or cover. Roast on center rack in 325F oven 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours for medium rare; 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours for medium doneness.
3. Meanwhile, toss remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, 4 tablespoons oil and cauliflower on rimmed baking sheet. Season salt and pepper, as desired. Cover with aluminum foil; bake on lower rack 45 minutes. Combine bread crumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Remove foil; sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over cauliflower. Continue to bake, uncovered, 30 to 45 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and cauliflower begins to brown.
4. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135F for medium rare; 150F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10F to reach 145F for medium rare; 160F for medium.)
5. Carve roast into slices; season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with cauliflower.
SOURCE: BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad (Photo courtesy Florida Department of Citrus)

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad (Photo courtesy Florida Department of Citrus)

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad pays homage to our citrus heritage. In 1823, Count Odet Phillippe planted the state’s first grapefruit grove near Tampa, according to the Florida Department of Citrus. Before that, the first documented grapefruit tree was found in Barbados in the 1700’s. The fruit earned its unusual name because of the way it grows. Take a walk down a grapefruit grove and you’ll see the fruit grows in a cluster like a bunch of oversized grapes. Peak grapefruit season is January through May. Nutritionally, the fruit’s segments and juice are packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fiber. I love the color, texture and taste of this salad. It’s the perfect side dish for warm weather meals.

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Salad
Yield: 8 (1-cup) servings

1 small jicama, peeled
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 Florida ruby red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup diced English cucumber
3 tablespoons Florida ruby red grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Florida honey
2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce

1. Thinly slice jicama and stack the slices. Cut into 2-inch matchstick size strips and place in a large bowl. Add cabbage, Florida grapefruit segments, carrot and cucumber.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together Florida grapefruit juice, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, honey and chili sauce. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
3. Let stand 10 minutes before serving for flavors to develop. Serve.
SOURCE: Florida Department of Citrus

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs (Photo courtesy National Pork Board)

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs (Photo courtesy National Pork Board)

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs are falling off the bone tender and basted with a sweet and sassy citrus sauce. Back ribs originate from the blade and center section of the pork loin, which is known for the “finger meat” between the bones, according to the National Pork Board. Back ribs also are called baby back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs. For best results, brush ribs generously during the last 30 minutes of cooking to prevent burning. Serve these ribs with vegetable kabobs and coleslaw.

Saucy Chili-Orange Pork Back Ribs
Yield: 4 servings

4 pounds pork back ribs
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
2 teaspoons firmly-packed brown sugar

1. Place ribs in a 4 to 5 quart dish.  Add orange juice and cover. Marinate 30 to 60 minutes.
2. Combine chili sauce, hoisin sauce, orange rind, hot sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.
3. Prepare a medium fire in charcoal grill or preheat one side of gas grill to medium.
4. Remove ribs from dish and pat dry.  Place ribs on grill and grill with indirect heat about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender, brushing with sauce several times during the last 20 minutes of grilling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board

Blueberry Betty

Blueberry Betty

BLUEBERRY-BETTY

Blueberry Betty (Recipe courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council)

Blueberry Betty is a vintage dessert with a classic American name. In fact, it’s one of many fanciful named concoctions you will find in old cookbooks. A Betty is made from seasonal fruit and sweetened crumbs. A pandowdy is a variation of a cobbler in which the fruit is topped with a rolled sweet crust laid on top of the fruit, according to landolakes.com. “Dowdying” refers to pushing the crust down into the fruit before serving, giving it a plain or “dowdy” appearance. Some pandowdy recipes put the crust on the bottom and then invert the dessert to serve it. Your grandmother’s recipe box may also include a recipe for a Buckle. And it has nothing to do with belts or shoes. A buckle refers to a cake batter that is poured into a single layer in a baking pan. Berries are added and “sink” into the batter during baking. When the cake is baked, it has a “buckled” appearance. Sometimes the top of the cake is covered with a streusel to disguise the uneven appearance.  All of these recipes are quick and easy. Here’s a Blueberry Betty to begin your exploration of vintage recipes.

Blueberry Betty
Yield: 6 servings

1/3 cup blueberry preserves
2 tablespoons water
3 cups fresh blueberries
5 slices white bread, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
3 tablespoons maple syrup

1. In an 8-inch square (2-quart) microwavable dish, stir blueberry preserves with 2 tablespoons water. Place in microwave; cook on high until preserves melt, about 30 seconds; stir in blueberries.
2. Return to microwave; cook until blueberries are hot, but not bursting, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in food processor place bread; whirl until coarsely crumbled; set aside.
4. In large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add breadcrumbs and almonds. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in maple syrup; cook and stir until mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
5. Top blueberries with crumb mixture. Serve immediately or allow to cool; serve with lemon sorbet or sherbet, if desired.
SOURCE: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Orange Velvet Pound Cake

Orange Velvet Pound Cake

Orange Velvet Pound Cake (Recipe courtesy Dixie Crystals)

Orange Velvet Pound Cake (Recipe courtesy Dixie Crystals)

Orange Velvet Pound Cake takes advantage of one of Florida’s signature flavors: Citrus. Much of the oranges  are grown in the southern two-thirds of the peninsula, where there is low probability for a freeze, according to the Florida Department of Citrus. Growers produce several types of citrus, including oranges, grapefruit and specialty fruit including Temple oranges, tangerines and tangelos. The most common varieties of Florida oranges are Navel, Hamlin, Pineapple, Ambersweet and Valencia. The fresh orange season typically runs from October through June. Medium oranges are ideal for wedging and juicing. Three or four medium oranges will yield 8 ounces of juice. Two medium oranges will yield about one cup. Here’s a tip for measuring flour for this and other recipes: Use the “spoon and sweep” method. Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained and then level off with the back side of a knife. Scooping the measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack the flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.

Orange Velvet Pound Cake
Yield: 10 servings

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Orange glaze:
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan. Set aside.
3. Blend butter until creamy, add sugar and cream further. Add eggs one at a time waiting for previous added egg to be fully incorporated. Scrape in between additions. Cream until light and fluffy. Add extract and orange zest.
Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add 1/4 of flour and combine, add 1/3 of orange juice and combine. Repeat with flour and juice until all is incorporated. Stir in coconut.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and place in oven. Bake for 70-80 minutes or until center bounces back when gently pressed or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If cake becomes too dark cover with foil.
Let sit 10 minutes. Place a serving dish on top of baking pan and quickly turn upside down. Remove pan and cover with plastic food film. Let cool.
5. For glaze, whisk together ingredients and pour on cooled cake.
Source: Dixie Crystals

Morning Mix recipe: Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Morning Mix recipe: Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Chicken with Roasted Tomato-Sage Sauce (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council)

Chicken with Roasted Tomato-Sage Sauce (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council)

The more the merrier in Heather’s Florida Kitchen! That’s why I have teamed with the fabulous folks over at Orlando’s WOMX Mix 105.1 to offer the Recipe of the Week. Today’s recipe is Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce. This is a great weeknight meal for busy households. I like to switch up the pasta to whole-wheat as well. You can use angel hair or linguini too. Every week you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix 105.1 here and at the radio station’s website.

Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Yield: 6-8 servings

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes:
6 Italian plum tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed
2 teaspoons freshly chopped sage
Pasta:
1 (16-ounce) box spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Make slow-roasted tomatoes by slicing tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut side up on baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 2 1/2-3 hours. (Tomatoes may be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to three days.)
2. In large skillet, melt olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and sauté, turning, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan, cover and reserve.
3. To same skillet used to cook chicken, add one tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onion and sauté over low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add prosciutto and saute for 30 seconds. Add slow-roasted tomatoes and break up with back of wooden spoon. Heat through for 30 seconds. Add cream; remove sauce from heat.
4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
5. When pasta is almost done, reheat sauce over low heat. Add peas and sage to sauce; stir to heat well. When pasta is cooked, drain but do not rinse. Add pasta to sauce in skillet and toss well to combine. Add cheese and parsley; toss again. Place on serving platter and top with chicken.
SOURCE: National Chicken Council

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli is a recipe adapted from Clifford A. Wright’s cookbook “Hot & Cheesy.” It’s one of several cookbooks with lots potluck menu inspiration. Another of my favorites is Betty Rosbottom’s “Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish.” Here are some of Rosbottom’s casserole tips:

  • Shallower dishes tend to cook more quickly than deeper ones.
  • Unless there’s a lot of braising liquid, butter or oil baking dishes to prevent food from sticking.
  • When cooking pasta for casseroles, make sure to season the water with salt, but do not add oil to the pasta water or rinse the drained cooked pasta; both will prevent sauces from adhering to the pasta.

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli
Yield: 4 servings

8 ounces rigatoni
1 1/4 pounds broccoli, stems and florets separated
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing casserole
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot whole milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt, about Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
Olive oil

1. Heat the oven to 400F. Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add rigatoni; cook, 6 minutes. Cut the broccoli stems into 1-inch pieces. Add stems to the pot with the pasta; cook, 2 minutes. Add florets; cook about 5 minutes longer. (Never cook broccoli longer than 7 minutes.) Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to a bowl.
2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; pour in milk slowly, whisking all the time. Return to heat; add Parmesan cheese. Cook until thicker, about 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and cayenne. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
3. Add the mozzarella and half the sauce to the rigatoni and broccoli; toss. Pour into a buttered 10-inch casserole dish; spread evenly. Spoon remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake until golden and crispy on top, about 20 minutes.
Adapted from “Hot & Cheesy.”

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze (photo courtesy National Pork Board)

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze (photo courtesy National Pork Board)

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze pairs well with roasted asparagus and steamed small potatoes tossed with butter and parsley. To make the recipe your own, try using different combinations of juice and jam, jelly, or marmalade. In the Florida kitchen, strawberry and blueberry preserves are good choices.

Spiced Grilled Ham With Citrus Glaze
Yield: 12-14 servings

6 to 7 pound fully-cooked bone-in ham, trimmed
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup citrus marmalade, such as orange or lemon
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Orange and lemon slices for garnish

1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot (375-425F). Prepare the grill for indirect cooking: For a gas grill, turn off the center burner; for a charcoal grill, bank the coals on either side; place a drip pan under the grate between the heat sources.
2. Score a diamond pattern into the ham, about 1/8-inch deep into any fat. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the ham. Place the ham, flat side down, in the center of the grill over the drip pan. Cover and cook, adding briquettes to a charcoal grill as necessary to maintain the heat, until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140F, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or 15-18 minutes per pound.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the marmalade, orange juice, and brown sugar.
4. Brush the marmalade mixture over the ham. Cover and grill 5 minutes, until the glaze is lightly caramelized. Remove the ham from the grill, transfer to a cutting board, and let rest 15 to 30 minutes. Slice ham and garnish with citrus slices.
SOURCE: National Pork Board

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce (Photo courtesy Almonds.com)

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce (Photo courtesy Almonds.com)

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce is a well balanced dessert that captures the end of one of my favorite Florida harvests. Strawberries meld into a sauce that is tempered with fresh lemon juice and zest. The acidity is perfect for the richness of the almond cake. Before serving, scatter toasted almond slices over the cake and dust with powdered sugar. To toast almond slices, heat the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven at 350F or in a large dry skillet on the stovetop. But watch carefully, it only takes 2 to 3 minutes and they can go from golden to burned very quickly.

Flourless Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce
Yield: 8-10 servings.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces almond paste, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries for serving
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Powdered sugar for dusting
Strawberry sauce:
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, and coat paper and sides of pan with butter. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, almond flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Place butter in the same large mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the almond paste, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is smooth. Reduce speed to medium and gradually beat in the sugar mixture. Add the egg yolks and beat until a smooth batter forms. Beat in vanilla extract. Gently fold in the egg whites in three additions, stirring until no white streaks remain.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top of cake is lightly browned. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, remove cake from pan, discarding parchment paper, and cool completely on a wire rack.
5. While the cake cools, make the strawberry sauce. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, water, lemon zest, lemon juice and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer and whisk gently until mixture thickens slightly.
6. Cut cake into serving portions, dust with powdered sugar and top with toasted almonds. Serve strawberry sauce and fresh berries on the side.
Recipe note: The cake can be covered in an airtight container and stored at room temperature up to 2 days.
SOURCE: Adapted from Almonds.com