Food & Drink

July 28, 2014

Stir Crazy: Summer means eating blueberries and s'mores

The beach, even if it is just Lake Michigan, inspires different eating. It's blueberry season and the fridge at the house was stocked with about 10 pounds -- with another 40 or so in the freezer. (We had to fight to find the ice cream.) We'd open up the bag from the fridge and eat the big fat berries by the handfuls. We threw them in salads and yogurt and cereal. We put them in a mason jar and took them down to the beach to eat with our lunch, passing the jar around and slugging some back!

Before we left Sunday, my sister Stacy made blueberry pancakes. We brought home about 5 pounds. I have no plans for them, other than to stick my hand in the bag and eat them.

The Saturday farmers market in Michigan City, Ind., is unlike any I've even seen in the Midwest: A French chef comes from Chicago and people line up to buy his cheese, bread, pate and other delicacies. Church ladies arrange flowers from their gardens and sell you bouquets for $5. We bought pesto goat cheese, biscotti and pineapple upside down cake, but missed the man who sells paella.

The weather was chilly at night, but too windy to build a fire and make s'mores. But, I did find these recipes and wanted to share them with you. This first one doesn't require a campfire.

You can use a mix of cookie crumbs, such as shortbreads, and graham crackers, if you like. It also can be scaled back and made in a 9-by-9-inch or an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. It was adapted from several recipes and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Detroit Free Press Test Kitchen.

BAKED S'MORES

Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 bag (16 ounces) mini marshmallows

12 ounces chocolate of choice, either 6 to 8 chocolate bars (1.55 ounces each), broken up, or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-by-15-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. The mixture should come together when pressed with your fingers.

Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. If needed, place plastic wrap over the top and use a round object to roll and press evenly.

Bake 15 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and sprinkle the marshmallows over the crust and top with chocolate pieces. Return to the oven and bake 5 to 8 minutes, or until the marshmallows and chocolate melt. Remove from the oven and cool. Once cool, use a pizza cutter lightly coated with oil to cut into desired size squares. Makes 35 to 40 squares, each of 40 squares with 147 calories, 7 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 48 mg sodium, 6 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

In case you're looking for an outdoor-prepared s'more recipe, this extra-gooey one has a little caramel twist to it. It also comes from the Free Press. (I think Rolo candies would work, too.)

And, if you didn't know, you can now buy square marshmallows shaped to fit perfectly on a graham cracker.

CARAMELLO S'MORES

8 skewers or sticks (for toasting the marshmallows)

16 large marshmallows

8 graham crackers, broken in half

2 Caramello (milk chocolate with caramel filling) bars, 4 ounces each

Toast two marshmallows over the heated coals or preheated grill until they are crispy and golden brown on the outside and gooey and soft on the inside.

Slide the toasted marshmallow on a graham cracker. Place 4 small Caramello bar squares on top of the marshmallow and top with another graham cracker.

Press it down slightly to sandwich together. The heat of the marshmallow will melt the chocolate a bit. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serves 8, each with 116 calories, 3 grams fat , 22 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 57 mg sodium, 1 mg cholesterol.

Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, sboyle@bnd.com; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

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