Get the Blues

We have a bowl of oatmeal just about every morning. One of Therese’s favorite things to do with hers is to add some fruit. During the summer, she uses fresh raspberries. Recently, she’s been into raisins.

Another of her favorites is frozen blueberries. She’ll be happy to know that the most-recent issue of Health magazine have named wild blueberries as one of the Top 10 Superfoods for Women. Specific health benefits highlighted include improving motor skills, preventing memory loss, lowering blood pressure and fighting wrinkles.

This recognition comes on the heels of several additional studies that also have found and/or promoted specific health benefits offered by wild blueberries for both men and women (including guarding against cell damage associated with heart disease, cancer, damage from stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and the effects of aging).

Another nice thing about wild blueberries is the frozen version is just as nutritious and tasty as fresh ones. 

Blueberries aren’t just for snacking or using in your morning bowl of oatmeal. They go great in salads such as the following that also contains grilled chicken breasts, strawberries and gouda cheese.

Blueberry Salad
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil for grill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup blueberry vinaigrette (recipe follows), plus extra for grilling
1 large head of romaine lettuce, shredded
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
¾ cup blueberries
8 to 10 strawberries, sliced
½ cup shredded aged gouda
Prepare grill. Rinse chicken breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. When ready to grill, brush grill grate with olive oil. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and arrange breasts in same direction on hot grate.
Grill for 2 minutes. Using tongs, rotate breasts 45 degrees and grill for 2 to 4 additional minutes. Turn breasts, brush cooked side with blueberry vinaigrette and grill, rotating breasts 45 degrees after 2 minutes. Remove breasts to a platter and cool.
When ready to serve, toss lettuce with vinaigrette in a large salad bowl. Arrange almonds, blueberries, strawberries, cheese and chicken breast on lettuce, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Note: To toast almonds, spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake 3 to 4 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Blueberry Vinaigrette
¼ cup champagne vinegar
¼ vanilla bean
¼ cup honey
1 cup blueberries
2 tablspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 medium shallot, diced
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 cup corn oil
1 tablespoon shredded fresh mint
Pour vinegar into a small saucepan over medium heat. Split vanilla bean. Scrape seeds into vinegar and add vanilla bean to vinegar. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and reduce vinegar/vanilla mixture by half. Remove (and discard) bean, cool mixture and reserve.
In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, blueberries, lemon juice, shallot, salt, mustard, lemon zest and black pepper and blend until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and corn oil.
With blender on low speed, slowly drizzle oils into blender until smooth. Stir in mint. Transfer vinaigrette to an airtight jar and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using. Vinaigrette may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; shake before using.