Sometimes you just have to go with the pros! Ally and I were tossing ideas around for our upcoming holiday weekend. We’ve been blueberry crazy the last several weeks but have been limited on our annual handpicking adventures.
Two things happened at about the exact same time that sealed the theme for this article. I was researching some facts on blueberries when I came across the perfect Fourth of July recipe. At just about the exact same time Ally walked into the kitchen and suggested that I call our friend Louis Varnell.
Many people in Chattanooga know Louis as the director of the Southeastern Veteran’s Museum and the History Company. You may have seen him Louis around the area dressed as a Civil War solider or an American WWII G.I. while offering verbal history lessons during an event. Or, you may have seen some of efforts in various movies or productions that he has consulted on.
Besides being a historian Louis grew up on a Blueberry farm. Today Louis and his wife Rene tend to the history related businesses as well as one of the area’s oldest blueberry farms. It’s an adventure where customers can hand pick fresh blueberries. It’s perfect for families, chefs or just someone that wants some fresh blueberries.
I knew things were coming together when Ally mentioned Louis and Rene just as I came across the recipe for a Red, White and Blueberry Pound Cake. Think about it… a patriotic blueberry recipe teamed up with a local Chattanooga area resident who’s a living military historian who also grew up in the blueberry business. Talk about a nice fit!
So, this week I’m proudly handing over the reins of the Comfort Foodie to a few Blueberry specialists - Louis and Rene Varnell of Varnell Blueberry and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council for their great recipe and photo.
Cost: $1.25 per pound
Note: - Call ahead to make sure they are open. Holiday hours will vary. Different areas of the farm come in at different times depending on weather, rain etc. Also, it’s a great idea to bring some bug spray, sun block and comfortable shoes.
Hours: Wed – Sunday 8am – 8pm. Please call ahead just in case.
Phone: 423-332-4697Address: 719 Cap Elsea Road. Sale Creek, Tennessee. 37373
Red, White and Blueberry Pound Cake
Recipe and photo are Courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
1 package (10 ¾ ounces) frozen pound cakeRaspberry-Orange Sauce (recipe follows)
1 container (8-ounces) whipped cream cheese
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1-½ cups fresh blueberries, divided
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Slice frozen pound cake lengthwise in three layers. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet with top layer cut side up. Pierce layers with fork tines. Spread each with 2 tablespoons of the Raspberry-Orange Sauce. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes so that the cake absorbs the sauce. Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together cream cheese, sugar and orange juice until well blended.
To assemble cake:
Place bottom layer on a serving plate. Spread evenly with a third of the cream cheese mixture. Arrange a third of the blueberries evenly over cream cheese. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon Raspberry-Orange Sauce over blueberries. Repeat with center slice of cake. Place top layer cut side down. Spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Decorate cake to resemble an American flag using remaining blueberries and the strawberries. Serve with remaining Raspberry-Orange Sauce
Stir together until smooth 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam and 6 tablespoons orange juice.
Kent Whitaker is a cookbook author and culinary writer with 10 published books. He is also member and AUXCHEF for the United States Coast Guard Aux. Kent and his wife Ally live in East Tennessee with their son Macee and two spoiled dogs. Kent's books are available, or can be ordered, at any book store or online at www.thedeckchef.com Look for Kent on twitter at www.twitter.com/thekentwhitaker