Summer is just around the corner. I can see all of the days ahead of me: reading on the beach, gardening and harvesting fresh vegetables and herbs, and blogging. I have to say that this year has truly been one of the toughest, most-challenging years of my life. Although I’ve had setbacks, long nights of grading, and some tears, more than anything, I’ve learned the importance of balance and patience.
As many of you know, this was my first year as a full-time teacher. I worked within the same school system for a few years prior, but this year, I was given the opportunity to teach high schoolers about literature, writing, and out-of-date pop culture references. In return, they surprised me time and again with their creativity, determination, and leadership skills.
Now that the school year is winding down, I’ll have more time to spend blogging and writing for pleasure. Can I just say how excited I am to be able to reconnect with all of my favorite bloggers?
In the meantime, I have a super refreshing and healthy canapé recipe for you to enjoy while the weather begins to heat up and barbecues are in full swing.
Do you know about the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission? If you’ve never heard of these fabulous individuals, I’ll share a little bit with you. The ORBC promotes the delicious, locally sourced berries. Their Commission works with farmers and the public to promote healthy and delicious fruit. It has been a pleasure working with the ORBC. Recently, they asked me to create a “Go Bite Sized” recipe for their website, and of course, I was up for the challenge. The ORBC kindly provided me with the funds to purchase the ingredients for the recipe that I’ll be sharing with you today.
My inspiration for this appetizer was actually based on the flavors that I love in the summer: mint, cucumbers, cool and creamy cheeses and blackberries.
No one wants a heavy meal on a hot, sunny day, right? I know that I sure as heck don’t. I started brainstorming what I could do with my flavor choices and decided that a canapé would be the perfect option. You get a small bite that just explodes with flavor. I couldn’t stop eating them.
- 1 package frozen Oregon Blackberries (I use Stahlbush Island Farms brand)
- 2 tablespoons blackberry sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mint
- 1-1/2 teaspoon agave
- 1 pint fresh blackberries
- 3 Parisian cucumbers (diced)
- 1/2 goat cheese crumbles
- Blackberry dressing
- Puff Pastry, Crackers, or Crostini
- Add frozen berries to a small pot on medium heat. Keep on heat until berries burst and become mostly liquid. Use emersion blender to create a smooth syrup. Empty hot berry juice over a strainer into new, small bowl; separate seeds from liquid or sauce. Let juice cool to room temperature. You may keep the berry guts (yes, I called them guts) for ice cream or pound cake.
- In a small food processor or blender, create dressing. Blend ingredients until dressing is smooth and creamy. If you like a sweeter dressing, add more agave.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, place cucumbers, fresh blackberries, and goat cheese. Toss with blackberry dressing. If you are not eating right away, refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Scoop approximately two teaspoons of mixture onto each puff pastry, cracker, or crostini. Enjoy with a glass of wine or iced tea.