Balsamic Blueberry Steak Crostinis

Balsamic Blueberry Steak Crostinis are the ultimate sweet and savory delight.  Caution though – these easy appetizers are very addictive!

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They are messy and sloppy and you’ll want to rip into them so be sure you’re serving them to friends and not the boss or someone you want to impress.  But oh man, are they delicious!

You can do this with any type of steak and it doesn’t have to be spiced with peppercorn but it certainly adds that extra bite.  Likewise with the greens – I used spinach leaves but feel free to use anything you have handy.   Arugula would be a scrumptious substitute.

Peppercorn Steak Crostini with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce | Simply Fresh Dinners

Did you know these important facts about blueberries?

  • A one cup serving of blueberries – about a handful – contains just 80 calories, but a whopping 25 percent of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C and 4 grams of fiber.
  • They slow the aging process.  Everyone wants a natural “fountain of youth” – and slowing the breakdown of DNA in your body might get you there.
  • Promotes heart health. Eating blueberries has been linked to reducing high blood pressure. It also reduces the stiffness in arterial walls, allowing the blood to flow more smoothly through your body.

Peppercorn Steak Crostini with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce | Simply Fresh Dinners

I added some fresh herbs to the goat cheese and whipped it to give it some fluffiness.  The blueberry/balsamic sauce came together in 4 minutes with a simple addition of maple syrup.

Some fresh chives on top with a few pea tendrils strewn about make for an attractive presentation, don’t you think?  Along with the herbs, the blueberries are fresh picked from Barrie Hill Farms and were beyond delicious.  I’m smacking my lips again just thinking about the taste!

Peppercorn Steak Crostini with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce | Simply Fresh Dinners

Another bonus about making these delectable little bites is that you can convince the grill master in your family to help out.  The more, the merrier – right?

I’ve been told by American friends and family that we have too many long weekends in the summer.  Is that really possible?!  Americans need to lobby for that extra August holiday – we celebrate summer on the first long weekend of each August.   And I suppose it’s also a  celebration of surviving our winters, ha!  Cheers, everyone!

Balsamic Blueberry Steak Crostinis

Blueberry sauce on steak is the ultimate sweet and savory delight.  Caution though - these easy appetizers are very addictive!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: blueberries
Servings: 8
Author: Robyn Gleason

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound peppercorn steak, or regular steak, cut of your choice
  • 1-2 tbsp black and white peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • handful of spinach or arugula leaves, washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • Additional fresh chives, chopped, for topping

Instructions

  • For peppercorn steak, rub the crushed peppercorns into the steak, pressing them lightly to ensure they stay while cooking. Melt butter in saucepan on high heat and cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side. (can be grilled as well)Steak should be medium rare for crostini. Remove from heat, tent loosely with foil and let rest while you prepare the other ingredients. Slice thinly after 10 -15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 and brush baguette piece lightly with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes until golden. Remove.
  • You can slice the goat cheese or whip it. To whip put in food processor or use mixer, adding chives and garlic. Whip until fluffy. 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Combine balsamic vinegar, blueberries and maple syrup in saucepan and bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Mixture should stick lightly to spoon.
  • Assembly:
    Place one spinach leaf on each baguette piece followed by a generous dollop of goat cheese. Place one slice of steak on top of cheese, and drizzle with blueberry/balsamic sauce. Top with chopped chives.
    Serve immediately
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Fresh Dinners,  A partner with Barrie Hill Farms in bringing fresh recipes to your table.

 

More Blueberry Recipes from Barrie Hill Farms

Berry French Toast Casserole

Blueberry Pizza

 

When are Blueberries Available at Barrie Hills Farm?A calendar showing when crops are available at Barrie Hills Farm.

 

 

Blueberry Picking 101 – How to Pick the Sweetest, Most Delicious Berries

Blueberry-Picking-Offers-Sweetest-Experience

Blueberry picking is another hallmark of a summer well-lived. The whole experience of taking the wagon to the blueberry patch, filling your baskets with these delicious blue gems, followed up with a tasty blueberry treat, is one to revisit every single year.

Blueberries ripen in July and August at blueberry farms in Ontario. They come in wild and highbush varieties. What’s commonly known as ‘wild’ is a berry that comes from a native stand of lowbush variety. These bushes aren’t intentionally planted, but are cared for with pruning and pest management. Highbush blueberries are cultivated and generally produce larger berries.

The striking blueberry not only packs a visual punch when you’re preparing dessert or a fruity summer salad. It also has an excellent nutritional impact. It’s low in calories and is a source of potassium, Vitamins A, C and B-6, Iron and Magnesium. Use a light hand with the sugar, and you have a healthy dessert option.

Blueberry Picking Tips:

  • Don’t forget the container! Choose a smaller container with a handle so you can loop it through your belt. This keeps it handy and allows you to use both hands for more efficient picking.
  • Be selective. Not every berry will ripen at the same time. Look for larger, plump berries that are firm to the touch and don’t have cracks. These will be the sweetest.
  • A ripe berry will roll off the stem easily and fall into your hand. Gently hold a cluster in your hand and roll the berries off. Ones that do not come away easily should be left on the bush to ripen further.
  • Like strawberries, blueberries don’t ripen when picked. So leave unripened berries for the next person in a few days.
  • Commit to a bush, and pick all the ripe berries on it, before moving onto the next one. This is the most efficient way, plus, you’re leaving unpicked bushes for the next person.
  • Once your picking is done, be sure to handle your berries gently and refrigerate them promptly.

At Barrie Hill Farms, there is a $5 pre-paid picking fee per person if you wish to take a wagon to the fields. This cost is deducted from your purchase of berries when you’re all done. This fee helps to support our clean and tidy farm and picnic area, and for your wagon ride. You can also simply enjoy the wagon ride if you decide not to pick! It’s a lot of fun to get out in the sunshine and explore the farm.

How to Freeze Fresh Picked Blueberries

Blueberries are excellent to freeze because they hold their nutritional value, shape, taste, and texture well. To freeze blueberries, simply wash and dry them thoroughly, removing any stems or debris, and lay them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. You don’t want the berries to be touching as they will tend to freeze together.
Once they are frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag, and you’re done! You can now use the berries for a year-round taste of local produce.

Our Favourite Way to Enjoy Blueberries

Blueberries make an excellent substitution for syrup on pancakes or french toast! To make blueberry syrup, simply simmer 1 cup of washed blueberries, 1 cup of warm water, 1 cup of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice on the stovetop until the berries are soft and the syrup is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Leftover syrup can also be frozen for a delicious mid-winter breakfast that reminds you of summer.

Visit Blueberry Farms in Ontario

Blueberries are native to Canada, so they’re an amazingly hearty plant built to withstand Ontario’s harshest winters. This makes them an excellent choice of crop for Ontario farms. Show your support for fresh, local produce, including blueberries by spending a day blueberry picking each summer.

Savour the Taste of Fresh Ontario Produce – Making Dill Pickles

Yummy-Dill-Pickles-from-Fresh-Ontario-Produce

Preserve your favourite fresh Ontario produce with pickling. This long-forgotten tradition originated in India, but has found roots globally. Before refrigeration was possible in Canada, most people pickled and canned their produce to ensure that nothing went to waste.

Now that we have freezers and refrigerators and virtually any food you want can be purchased at the grocery store, this practice has gone by the wayside. But perhaps it should be revived.

While store-bought pickles will do in a pinch, the homemade version is even better. In addition to using local farm fresh produce, you can also control the ingredients, making a healthier version without extra salt, sugar or preservatives. That makes this one guilt-free, low fat, low-calorie snack.

Pickling cucumbers are a favourite fresh Ontario crop, and for good reason. They are refreshing and cool to eat during the summer months.  But when paired with dill and vinegar, the cucumber is transformed into a crunchy, salty, delicious addition to your pantry or refrigerator.

Pickled Fresh Ontario Produce is Good for You

Thanks to pickling, the goodness of your food is preserved. You can still get essential vitamins, as well as electrolytes.  In fact, pickle juice is touted as the perfect post-marathon drink for runners, as it quickly replaces salt and minerals lost in sweat, reduces muscle cramping and speeds recovery.

How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Refrigerated dill pickles will last several weeks in your fridge, and because they aren’t processed in a hot water bath, they won’t lose their crunch. You can experiment with flavours, although traditionally dill pickles are flavoured with garlic, dill, and salt.

  • Bring water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a pot until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Cool completely.
  • In a large glass container, add cucumber spears, garlic cloves, and fresh dill, and pour over the vinegar mixture.
  • Seal the container, refrigerate for a minimum of 3 days, and then enjoy!

Your dill pickles should last about 4-6 weeks in the fridge.

You can find the full recipe here.

Once you discover how easy it is to make pickles, you can experiment with other veggies, including beans, carrots, pearl onions, beets, asparagus. You can also try making pickles from around the world, like spicy Korean Kimchi, which is made of cabbage.  

Whether you love the salty tang of pickles or not… there’s one thing you can love about the process of preserving Ontario’s fresh produce.  That’s the experience you get from eating farm to table: buying from local farms in Barrie and preparing healthy and delicious food with your family at home.

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on Roasted Chicken

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on Roasted Chicken is the a unique taste that let’s you celebrate the berry season with style.  If you’re a berry lover and want to experience every flavor possible, this recipe is a must make!

I cooked them on a rack over a foil covered baking sheet so the clean up was a snap.  You’ll want to cook the chicken with a simple salt and pepper first and add your sauce in the last few minutes of roasting.  Prepare the sauce while the chicken is in the oven and presto – easy, healthy dinner.

If your family eats a lot of chicken, this is a budget-friendly meal that changes up the flavour wonderfully and the kids will love this.  If you decide to make this in the cooler months, frozen raspberries will do just fine.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical to take the first bite – they looked delicious but raspberry and chicken?   No need for hesitation – scrumptious!   The raspberry flavour is absorbed into the skin and it tastes like a natural combo – a home run!

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on Roasted Chicken

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on Roasted Chicken  is the a unique taste that let's you celebrate the berry season with style.  If you're a berry lover and want to experience every flavor possible, this recipe is a must make!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: raspberry chipotle sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Robyn Gleason

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks (8-10)
  • kosher and freshly ground black pepper t
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pints raspberries
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobe sauce, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons adobe sauce (from bottle of chiles)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey (raw, if you have it)
  • Fresh basil or cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels, ensuring it's completely dry. Generously salt and pepper and place on oil-sprayed baking rack on top of foil covered baking sheet or large casserole pan.
  • Roast chicken for 30 minutes, check on it at 20. Use your thermometer - we want it at 185 F.
  • While chicken is roasting make your sauce. Spray a medium sized saucepan and sauté onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes until onion is translucent.
  • Add raspberries, chiles, adobe sauce, lime juice and honey. Mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. (see note about raspberry seeds in post)
  • When chicken is close to being done, remove from oven and baste one side generously with sauce. Return to oven and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove, turn chicken and baste again, returning to oven for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes, tented, before serving.
  • Top with fresh herbs and sesame seeds if desired.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Follow us on Facebook for more delicious farm-fresh recipes, and updates on our growing seasons!

Recipe courtesy of Simply Fresh Dinners,  A partner with Barrie Hill Farms in bringing fresh recipes to your table.

More Raspberry Recipes from Barrie Hill Farms

Gluten Free Raspberry and Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Berry French Toast Casserole

 

When are Raspberries Available at Barrie Hills Farm?A calendar showing when crops are available at Barrie Hills Farm.

 

 

Pre-Paid Picking

Dear Barrie Hill Farms Followers/Supporters,
We are part way through what has started off as a rather challenging harvest season. The recent heat wave has been unprecedented for farmers across Ontario. None of us can ever remember so much heat, without a break, at this time of year. Global warming? Climate change? Normal variability? Who knows for sure? Whatever the reason, it means the strawberry season is going to be a short one this year. What’s in store the rest of the way is anyone’s guess.
Since we’re just at the start of the harvest season, I’d like to take the opportunity to clarify, and clear up some misconceptions that may have arisen with the introduction of our new “Pre-Paid Picking” policy.
First of all, let me say the introduction of “Pre-Paid Picking” or “Promise to Pick” has been a direct response to:
1. the provincial minimum wage increase of 25%, and the associated legislation
2. the increased cost of fuel
3. the increased cost of electricity
Labour is the single biggest cost of running this farm. It accounts for almost 2/3 of total operating costs. And fuel and electricity are significant costs as well. Barrie Hill Farms employs over 100 people during peak harvest season.
The government has forced us to look at every possible way to be more efficient. But there are limits to what efficiencies can be achieved. All of our customer service positions require human resources. And so do our growing and harvesting operations. We have mechanized to the greatest extent possible. Robots to do this work don’t exist. And that’s OK. I enjoy working with people and providing meaningful summer jobs. And I don’t like self checkouts at the grocery store. I prefer the human touch.
But without a change, prices would need to go up drastically. And that’s not what I felt was right. I hope to continue making healthy, local food affordable for as many as possible. And for many years into the future.
So “Pre-Paid Picking” has been our attempt to mitigate cost increases and keep the business sustainable into the future.
How does it work? Simple. Promise to pick $5 worth of pick your own products per person (age 6 -96), if you take a wagon ride to the field. If you do, then your $5 fee is deducted at the checkout. We’re not checking birth certificates. That’s not what it’s about. Young children are the berry pickers of the future. Children are always welcome. But at a certain age, we feel it’s important for children to understand that the farmer has invested a lot in producing a crop, and therefore needs to be paid for his/her work. Use the wagon ride to show the kids the pipes, and all the equipment necessary to grow your food.
$5 amounts to roughly a quart of strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Five pounds of apples. 7 or 8 cobs of corn. Not a lot. A mom, dad and two kids would pay $10. A basket of strawberries. A couple of quarts of raspberries or blueberries. So in most instances, you are simply paying in advance for what you’re going to pick. No extra charge. Just a promise to pick some product if you’re going to the fields. And if you choose not to pick, and only wish to take a wagon ride to the field to see how the crops grow, take some selfies, or simply enjoy the ride, then we feel $5 is a reasonable charge for a ride in the country sunshine. Especially at apple time when the apples & pumpkins are ready, and the fall colours are at their best.
So it’s not about charging more. It’s about being unable to provide free services (wagon rides, clean farm, clean restrooms, tidy picnic area) for customers who are not picking our crops in the field, unless we drastically increase our prices for all. And that’s not what I thought was the best way forward.
So I’m hoping this has clarified any misconceptions there might have been. Have we done a good job of educating during this transition? We’re trying our best. Maybe our best hasn’t been quite good enough, and if that’s why there’s been some confusion, I apologize. We will continue to educate and familiarize you during this period of transition.
And if you’ve been hearing that rumour going around for quite some time, it’s not true. The farm has NOT been sold!! I hope to remain “Farmer” Morris for many more seasons.
Hopefully, you will stick with me, my family and the rest of the team, as we try to keep growing healthy food for you and your families for many years to come.