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Blueberry Delights Tantalizes the Tastebuds

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 @ 01:05 PM Karen Hood

Blueberry Delights is the latest installment in Karen Hood’s ever-popular Cookbook Delights series. Crammed with delicious recipes and interesting tidbits, graced with the delicate, sure touch of Hood’s poetry, this cookbook is a gem. Cooks of all experience levels and ambition will be thrilled with the variety of recipes that use the delicious blueberry in creative ways, all of them with well laid-out, easy-to-follow instructions. Particularly sumptuous are the recipes in which the berry is used for a savory rather than sweet effect, as in the Blueberry Basil Vinegar or the many mouth-watering main dishes like Pastrami-Spiced Beef with Blueberry Sauce. Other dishes, like the Blueberry Oven Custard Puff Pancake and Blueberry Cheesecake Fudge, promise to be decadent enough to make an impression at the fanciest occasions. There is even a recipe for blueberry wine!

As with all of Hood’s cookbooks, it is the extras that make Blueberry Delights truly stand out. At the beginning of the book, not only will you find a selection of Hood’s themed poetry, but information about identifying different types of blueberry, which will be invaluable for those who like to go berry-picking; tips about growing and cultivating blueberries in your garden; and a fascinating introduction to the berry’s history and folklore. Also present are the helpful metric conversion chart and glossary that will provide excellent assistance for less experienced cooks.

My family tried out the Blueberry Chicken Salsa Torte, Multigrain Blueberry Pilaf, and Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies. Both the torte and the pilaf were longer, more involved recipes than we usually make on a weekday, but both were well worth the extra effort. The torte was simply amazing, the blueberry salsa a bright, flavorful twist that added the perfect touch. The torte recipe is very versatile and will easily accommodate delicious additions like roasted red peppers and pico de gallo for those who want to add their own flair. Although listed in the Appetizer section, it would also make a fun lunch item. The pilaf was equally tasty, and the blueberries added a wonderful burst of flavor to the rice that had even my children (who generally don’t care much for rice) scraping their plates. The wild rice and wheat berries in the recipe also make it very nutritious, a side dish that will please parents just as much as it will kids. The Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies that we had for dessert were quick and easy to make, and alot of fun for my kids to lend a hand. Adding a fruit other than raisins to an oatmeal cookie was a novel experience for my family, and it was a hit–we’ll definitely have to try it again with variations! As always, Karen Hood has produced another winner in her Cookbook Delights series.

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