blueberry coffee cake

blueberry cornmeal slice

Brown sugar.  It’s cooler than plain white sugar.  Especially when it’s a topping for a cake.  When I see a baked concoction come out of the oven and there is a crumble of brown sugar on the top, it calls to me.  So when I saw this recipe, and the picture of this thick slice of spongy cake with a heavy dose of brown sugar topping, I had to make it.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good coffee cake?  Now my kids have discovered the marvels of brown sugar and its yumminess, so I decided to make this cake for them (and me!).  When they found out I was going to make it, they doubted my abilities, which is completely understandable.  They vividly remember, and continually point out to me and anyone within earshot, that my last dance with blueberries was my sad attempt at making simple blueberry muffins.  I took them out of the oven and then this wave of disappointment came over me.  They came out like green swirly blobs.   My kids just laughed and grabbed a Nutrigrain bar and went and watched iCarly.  Nothing new to them – it’s always an adventure when mommy bakes.  I guess I wasn’t supposed to dump the blueberries in and continually stir to combine.  Lesson learned.  But that didn’t happen this time.  My cake came out perfectly – minus the chunk of brown sugar I picked off the corner.

blueberry coffee cake (from Bon Appetit)

crumb topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 TB dark brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 TB chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes

toasted pecans

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 3 TB sugar, divided
6 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 TB cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
1 TB panko breadcrumbs


brown sugar

get started on the crumb topping:

Whisk flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in nuts. Add butter. Using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form. Set topping aside.

blueberry cornmeal cake

get started on the cake:

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat an 8x8x2 pan with nonstick spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. With mixer at low-speed, add dry ingredients to bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Pour half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top.  Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over batter in pan.  Spoon remaining batter over and smooth the top.
Toss the blueberries with panko in a small bowl.  Scatter evenly over batter.  Sprinkle crumb topping over blueberries.  Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean about 55-65 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan.  Store airtight at room temperature.


asian turkey meatballs with chili garlic glaze

turkey meatball

Ok, so what is with life getting in the way of posting???  Sorry…weak moment.
I was lucky enough earlier in the year, to be invited to a Chinese New Year party, and so there was an obvious theme for the pot luck buffet.  I knew some of the dishes that the host and guests were making, and so I needed to try to come up with something that would compliment the table.  My mind went blank as to what to make.  Nothing inspired me in all my cookbooks, so I decided that sometimes, you have to go back to party basics.  Growing up, I was never a big fan of Swedish meatballs, but back in the day, they were the star of crockpots everywhere!  So for the party, and to pay homage to the Swedes, I decided to make an asian meatball.   Perfect.  So, I looked online for ideas and came across this recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen.  What caught my eye was the chili garlic glaze.  I figured that would help in two ways – keep them tasty and keep them moist.  Who likes dry, flavorless meatballs?

asian turkey meatballs with chili garlic glaze  (adapted from Aggie’s recipe)

2  lbs. lean ground turkey (not the 99% lean!)
2  TB ginger, grated
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2  cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2  cup green onions, sliced
1  clove garlic, minced
1  jalapeño pepper, minced
2  TB soy sauce
1  TB sesame oil
1  tsp kosher salt
ground black pepper
cooking spray

chili garlic glaze:

6  TB soy sauce
4  TB chili garlic sauce
2  TB brown sugar
4  TB water
1  TB jalapeño, minced

red bell pepperjalapeño

get started on the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine the turkey and the rest of the ingredients until just mixed together.  Do not over mix.  Scoop about 1.5 tablespoon of turkey mixture and roll in your hands lightly and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Make sure the size is slightly smaller than a golf ball so it can be picked up with a toothpick easily.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the glaze by whisking the ingredients in a small bowl until the brown sugar dissolves.  Set aside 1/2 of the glaze and place in a small bowl for dipping.  After the meatballs have baked for ten minutes, brush the meatballs with the glaze.  Bake for another 3 minutes until cooked through.  Discard glaze.  Serve with dipping sauce.

meatball madnessmeatballs anyone?

note:  this makes about 42-48 meatballs.