Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Make Time for Dessert: Blueberry Dumplings

Can I just say how much I miss you? This has been one crazy summer. Crazy in a good way, but super busy. I've had very little time for blogging, or even cooking for that matter. Last night Amanda and I made a panzanella salad, and that was the most involved dinner I've made in two months. Toasted bread and tomatoes, people. That's how insane my summer has been…that toasted bread and tomatoes equals serious cooking. 

Evan and I recently went to Cancun for his best friend's wedding, which involved lots of sun, lots of swimming, and even more drinking. Then we returned just in time to see one of my best friends get married to a charming and dashing Englishman, which involved about 30 absolutely crazy lads from the UK dancing shirtless with ties on their heads. I've been on the go so much I don't even know what I've been eating, and that tells me that I need to slow down and get back in the kitchen.  But alas, I have one more big trip before I can get back to normal. This weekend Evan and I are leaving on an Alaskan cruise, along with Amanda and a couple of her friends, my parents, and a few family friends. After that, I can't wait to start cooking and blogging on a regular schedule again. 

Amidst all the hullabaloo, I found one afternoon to enjoy the sun, pick blueberries, and make blueberry dumplings. Thank goodness days like that still find their way into my schedule, to keep me sane. Amanda, our friend Cindy, and I hit up a you-pick berry farm, and filled our buckets with ripe, sweet blueberries, and even a few blackberries. And it was even sunny… I mean, real summer weather. I couldn't have asked for a better day to unwind. 

Afterward, we made blueberry dumplings–based on the gooey, fruity dumplings my Grandma Carol always made when we stayed with her for two weeks every summer. The dumplings are similar to a cobbler, but super quick, and fun to eat. Instead plopping biscuity dough on top of berries and baking, you drop spoonfuls of dumpling dough into simmering berries on the stovetop. Once they've cooked through, you spoon the whole mess into a bowl, and top it with vanilla ice cream, and maybe even a few fresh berries. Then the ice cream starts to melt, and you have a bowl of sweet, creamy, gooey, chewy deliciousness that you won't be able to stop eating. 

No matter how hectic life gets, there's always time for dessert. 

Blueberry Dumplings

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Dash of fresh ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons shortening
¾-1 cup milk
3 cups berries
1 cup water
1tsp vanilla
1tsp lemon juice
1 cups sugar

For dumplings, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until combined and pea-like in texture. Slowly add milk, and stir with a fork until dough just holds together.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring berries, water, vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar to steady boil over medium heat.
Using a large spoon, spoon in the dumplings, don’t be fancy or worry about getting them round or perfect. Gently stir, and cook for 5-10 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. Be careful to not let mixture stick to the bottom and burn.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. And a smile.
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