Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blackberry Grunt

Today at Target blackberries were on sale, so I decided to buy some and search out some sort of recipe for a blackberry dessert. I ended up making a Blackberry Grunt--Alton Brown's recipe. Apparently a grunt, similar to a cobbler, is a dessert with a fruit filling topped with biscuits. I was a little nervous about the biscuit topping, but it ended up being really delicious. The biscuit soaked up the juices quite nicely and added some stability to the super sweetness of the blackberry filling. It was a great summer dessert, and paired with some vanilla ice cream, it was heavenly! Here is the recipe just in case anyone wants to give it a shot!

The Recipe:


  • 9 1/2 ounces all purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk (fyi if you dont have buttermilk on hand you can make it by combining 1 Tbsp of white vinegar then add milk so that the total volume is 1 cup--let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 pound 3 ounces fresh or frozen blackberries, approximately 4 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a piece of foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings.

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 to 4 pulses. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until about half of the fat disappears and the rest is left in pea-size pieces. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until it comes together. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper that has been lightly dusted with flour, shape into a ball and wrap and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Combine the blackberries, sugar, water and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer decrease the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator and gently drop it on the fruit mixture using a 1-ounce disher or large spoon, evenly distributing it over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the grunt to cool for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finally....Vacay Days 6-9: CHARLESTON!

Sorry that I haven't been able to blog as I promised...we didn't have the internet at the beach house in Charleston, so I wasn't able to. We drove to Charleston on Sunday and left on Wednesday morning. We stayed with some friends of mine that I used to work with at Vanderbilt, and we had a GREAT time! It was a long drive from DC to Charleston, but it was well worth it!

Trev ready to be there already! :)

The AMAZING beach house that we stayed at--it is my friends Lauren's parents, and we were so thankful to be able to stay there. It was pretty much right on the ocean, which made for such a relaxing time!

The dining and living room

The kitchen

One of the beautiful porches, where we spent time reading, hanging out, and just relaxing!

View from the porch--I seriously think that I could wake up to that everyday and never get sick of it!

Lauren and Andrew's adorable little girl Sarah Frances--she wasnt so sure about us at the beginning of our stay, but she definitely warmed up, and she LOVED Trevor!

Trev relaxing with their dog Ruby Mae

S.F. on the beach--I absolutely love this pic!

Lauren and I--it was so great to visit and catch up!

We stayed on the Isle of Palms, which is named that because there are palm trees everywhere!

For lunch on Monday we went to Poe's Tavern--it is definitely one of my favorite places to go in Charleston! It is a burger joint, and all the items on the menu are named after a Poe story or something in Poe's life. I had the Gold Bug and Trev had the Tell-Tale Heart! It is so fun!

Trev playing with S.F.--she must have knocked these blocks over a hundred times!


Trev and I before we went out to dinner on Monday. We went to Hank's, which is a wonderful seafood restaurant! It was so nice to go out and have a nice dinner with friends!

Lauren and Andrew at Hank's

On Tuesday we explored downtown Charleston. It was fun, but definitely an adventure. First of all, we parked really far away, so we walked like a bazillion miles. Then, it poured on us....TWICE. By the end of the day we were wet, tired, and grumpy...but at least it made for a good story! :)

Rainbow Row

Me at the battery

Trev and I in the park at the Battery--this was about 3 minutes before it started pouring for the first time

A pic of the park in the rain, while we waited at the pavilion in the center of the park

Trev waiting under a church's awning during the second rainstorm. We decided to just walk in the rain after a while because there was no end in sight.

After walking in the rain for what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the Market on Market St. where we could take cover for a while

After the rain had stopped--I was soaked!

We cooked dinner on Tuesday night and played Sequence. It was a fun night in!

Breakfast at the Sea Biscuit Cafe--yum!

S.F. loving on her bunny :)

We had a GREAT trip and are sad that it is over. We are so thankful for both the Wolcott's and the Pittard's for being awesome hosts! Hopefully this was just one of many awesome Castle family vacay's to come!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vacay Day 5--Annapolis

Today we took a mini road trip to Annapolis and visited historic Annapolis and the Naval Academy. It was really cool, although the weather was a little bit gloomy. At least we werent sweaty and hot! :) It was so neat and it made me want to take a whole "New England" trip and visit lots of old, historic town....maybe that can be our next Vacay.

There were all these HUGE hanging petunia baskets everywhere--they were so beautiful! How come mine never looked like that!

A pic in front of the harbor

There was a whole case full of golden footballs from the times that Navy has beaten Army--it was pretty cool.

David Robinson's Hall of Fame pic

Me sporting my new Navy sweatshirt :) So cute!

A random wall of keys at the Crepe place that we ate lunch/dinner at....I thought it was kind of neat!

We ate crepes at Sofi's crepes, and it was delicious! We had one with gruyere cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and sunflower seeds and also an apple crisp one! YUM

A pic of the capitol building

Today was our last real day in DC. Tomorrow we will go to church and then head out to Charleston to visit some friends! It should be a great way to wrap up the trip!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacay Day 4

We had another great day in DC today! We were pretty busy, but it was lots of fun. First we went to IKEA for breakfast and a little shopping. I sure do wish they would put an IKEA in Nashville!

Next we went to Great Falls, which is an area of the Potomac River where there some huge waterfalls. The city has been in water restriction for a while so the falls were actually alot more dry than they usually are, but it was still pretty cool to see.

A group pic :)

Next we went to Georgetown Cupcake, which is the bakery that is featured in TLC's new show "DC Cupcakes" The line was wrapped around the building when we got there, so we had to wait for about 10 minutes. The cupcakes were AWESOME and totally worth the wait! I am excited that we got to experience something famous!!!

The line that we waited in!

Finally, me with our cupcakes! We got coconut, strawberry, lemon, and blueberry coffee cake--they were all delicious!

So many cupcakes to choose from!

Sharing a cupcake once we got home--I know this is cheesy but we had to do it! :)

Then we went to a Washington Nationals game. It was really cool cause we got to see Strasburg pitch--their rookie pitcher who is really good! It was lots of fun...although you never know who will be sitting next to you or behind you at a ball game--those people can make for an interesting experience!

Overall it was a great (but HOT) day! Tomorrow we are taking V and A to the airport for their trip to Mexico. Then we are heading to Annapolis to go to the Naval Academy--should be another fun day!