Do you remember Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? She’s the little girl who holds the world record for chewing gum and she insists on trying Willy Wonka’s gum that takes on the flavors of a whole meal. He warns her that they are still working out the kinks and he says the gum is not for sampling. Violet ignores Mr. Wonka, chews a piece, and turns into a blueberry, leaving the tour of the chocolate factory only to be banished to the juicing room!
When I think of blueberries, Violet often joins those thoughts. As a child, I watched that film every year. It’s funny how impressions from childhood stay with us as adults. Another big blueberry impression of mine is spending time in Maine working as a nanny for a family that had a summer home there. Until that time, blueberries only came from the grocery store! But those summers, my charges and I would go on blueberry expeditions of lowbush, wild Maine blueberries. After sampling a few, we usually only came back with enough to make a small tart and a little left over to toss into our morning yogurt. Those little berries were truly the highlight of our summers.
We’re pretty lucky in the United States, most produce is readily available to us whether it’s in season or not, due to the fact that food is more easily imported from other parts of the world now. I live in New York City and most of our blueberries don’t have to travel that far, they come from some incredible farms in New Jersey. Did you know that there is a North American Blueberry Council? And did you know that in 2003, the NABC actually lobbied with the Department of Agriculture to achieve a proclamation declaring July as National Blueberry Month?! We've got one last day of July, let's celebrate!
I'm making these lamb chops with a blueberry balsamic sauce, a recipe I created for Stoneridge Orchards. Last July I was at their harvest in Royal Ridge, Washington eating fistfuls of fresh cherries and blueberries. I actually felt a little like Violet and that I might turn blue and become a human balloon too. Luckily, they pick and dry their perfectly ripe fruit so we can enjoy it long after the season is over.
So throw some lamb chops on the grill, pull up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Netflix, make this dried blueberry sauce, and celebrate the last day of National Blueberry Month!
Mrs. Beauregarde: Violet, you're turning violet! What's happening?
Willy Wonka: Well, I told you I hadn't quite got it right, 'cause it goes a little funny when it gets to the dessert. It's the Blueberry Pie that does it. I'm terribly sorry!
Violet Beauregarde: Mother, what's happening to me?
[continues to turn purple and starts to grow]
Grandpa Joe: She's swelling up!
Charlie Bucket: Like a blueberry!
GRILLED LAMB CHOPS WITH DRIED BLUEBERRY BALSAMIC SAUCE & TOASTED PISTACHIOS
- 6 baby lamb chops
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
- 2 t. Stoneridge Orchards Dried Blueberries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons of toasted, chopped pistachios
Below are the instructions:
- Mix the brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper and pat the seasoned sugar into the lamb chops.
- Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Grill chops, working in batches if needed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb registers 125°F for medium-rare, 1 1/2 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by a third. Add the blueberries and honey. Cook for another minute. Stir in the tablespoon of butter.
- Arrange the chops on a platter, spoon blueberry sauce over them and scatter with the toasted pistachios.
This is my favorite recipe of mine that Cheryl of Stockshot Studio has photographed. I am so lucky to have her capture my food creations!