Two new cookbooks from Maine summer resident Cynthia Graubart focus on two of the state’s favorite summer fruits: strawberries and blueberries. On its own, either “Strawberry Love” or “Blueberry Love” would make a nice hostess gift for any berry-loving, cooking-loving friends, though don’t give them away as a set, as some of the recipes – Rich Blueberry Ripple Ice Cream and Rich Strawberry Ice Cream, or Blueberry Coffee Cake and Strawberry Crumb Cake – are repeats with a berry swap (which is not to say I wouldn’t lick the bowl or hoover up every crumb).

Each book contains some 45 sweet and savory recipes that range from classics (such as blueberry buttermilk pancakes, English Summer Strawberry Trifle) to modern (savory blueberry ricotta pizza, strawberry gazpacho, fish tacos with strawberry salsa). Graubart incorporates new equipment (an Instant Pot cheesecake) and new(ish) trends (gluten-free donuts, shrubs, slab pies, cocktails), and she pairs each recipe with an eye-catching photograph. A number of recipes are interlaced; Grilled Turkey and Cheese on page 58 of “Blueberry Love,” for instance, calls for Blueberry-Onion Jam on page 49. About that love, by the way, Graubart dedicates that book, in part, to “the love of all things Maine.”

For the most part, the recipes are not overly demanding, which is a good fit for summer, when local berries are around, but for many of us, the lure of the beach, the lake or the garden is stronger than the call of the kitchen. Graubart doesn’t shy away from the occasional shortcut, either, like store-bought pie crust or puff pastry. For her Blue Ribbon Ginger-Lime Wild Maine Blueberry Pie, though, Graubart does provide a recipe for homemade pie crust, which may be what helped earn it a blue ribbon at the Blue Hill Fair in 2019.

Strawberry season was fast and early this year. You’ve missed it. But blueberries are ripe for the picking – and cooking with – now.

Whole Roast Chicken with Blueberry Chutney

Recipe from “Blueberry Love” by Cynthia Graubart.

Makes 4-6 servings

CHICKEN
1 (3½ pound) whole chicken
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
1-2 sprigs rosemary

CHUTNEY
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the chicken, rub the skin of the entire bird with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut both ends off the lemon, then cut the lemon in half. Insert the lemon halves and rosemary into the cavity of the chicken and transfer the chicken to a roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour, or until the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then carve and serve with the chutney.

To make the chutney, while the chicken is roasting, combine the shallots, vinegar and sugar in a skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the blueberries, ginger, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and pepper flakes, and cook until the excess juices begin to evaporate, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the chutney sit until serving.


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