Picasso blue

Three things that I cannot get out of my head today.

1. blueberries
2. basil
3. Pablo Picasso

Okay, now let me explain.

. When it comes to blueberries in our house, we are a family of squirrels. You may have read here recently that we are a wee bit obsessed. Every summer, we drive down to a local fruit orchard and pick so many berries that the buckets overflow and our arms go numb hauling them uphill to be tallied up and paid for. We freeze them with the faintest of hope that they will last throughout the year.

This has been a longstanding tradition for me. A favorite weekend afternoon was to snack on frozen blueberries while watching old monster movies. I’m convinced that the pairing is completely unrelated to the campy marshmallow cereals. Or is it? To prepare the dish, I emptied a generous cup of frozen berries into a bowl, dusted them with sugar, and topped them off with milk. I sat cross-legged in front of the t.v. watching replays of the 1931 classic films: Dracula starring Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff and the 1935 class: Werewolf of London starring Henry Hull.

Basil. Fresh basil bouquets float in water filled glasses in our refrigerator. For several days, I chopped some basil leaves for a mini-stacked caprese salad with fresh mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes (the only rain soaked survivors), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. This summer with few tomatoes to spare, I’m counting on blueberries, a fruit growing in abundance to pair with blueberries. Basil’s slight licorice and clove flavors complement blueberry’s mild and sweet juices.

Pablo Picasso. The Old Guitarist (1903-4), a painting from Picasso’s blue period shows a monochromatic blue palette: crushed blueberries, dark bruises, and smoke blue all mixed with cut basil. From 1901-1904 Picasso painted melancholic portraits and scenes in shades of blue all under low-lit conditions. The paintings possess a quiet beauty beneath their somber subjects. Picasso blue.

Which is how I came to make you a little something special to celebrate the first anniversary of this blog. Blueberries. Basil. Picasso. Joined together in a summery open-faced pie with the quiet beauty of Picasso blue for you, dear reader. So, thank you! Thank you for being here, for reading and sharing. Now let’s eat…

Blueberry Basil Galette
adapted from Sweet and Natural by Meredith McCarthy and The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

(printable recipe)

Sweet Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (melted) or other light oil (walnut, almond, avocado, grape seed)
1/4 cup maple syrup
up to 1/4 cup cold water (as needed)

To make sweet tart dough, mix flour and salt. Melt coconut oil, then stir with flour and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add maple syrup gradually (if dough does not hold together on its own, add just enough ice water to hold dough together). Mix until a soft workable ball forms in the bowl; do not overmix. Add a small amount of flour if necessary.

Shape the dough with your hands into a flattened disc. Roll dough out between two sheets of parchment paper; dust flour over the bottom sheet and on top of the dough. Use quick gentle strokes to start rolling from the center outward in each direction, like a compass. Transfer the parchment covered dough onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate the dough on the baking sheet while preparing the blueberry filling.

Blueberry Basil Filling

3 cups blueberries
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or quick-cooking tapioca, crushed fine in a mortar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil (melted) or other light oil (walnut, almond, avocado, grape seed)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the sugar, arrowroot powder, and sea salt together. Rinse and drain blueberries in a strainer, then transfer to a towel and blot dry. Gently stir in blueberries, basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice; set aside.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Peel off top layer of parchment paper. Pour blueberry filling over tart dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the blueberry filling to form a pleated ruffle. Brush the folded dough border with 2 teaspoons oil, then pat the berries with the rest. Sprinkle the crust with 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Bake about 45-55 minutes, or until the galette is golden and thick juices bubble on top. Cool completely before serving.


  1. s. stockwell says

    Ahhh, this is wonderful! We love it all including the Picasso! Congratulations on a great Foodie Blog…Happy Anniversary. best from Montecito, CA, S


  1. […] this house, we have a weakness for blueberries, as you may have read about here and here oh here too which means every year, usually in the hottest parts of July or August, David, Luke, and I make our […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *