Blackberry Quick Bread

Come on. Confess. You’ve been hoarding those berries in the back of your freezer. It’s time to get them out. Have some faith that spring is near.  This flexible quick bread can be made with any berry,  just be sure to defrost them completely before using.

Makes 2 loaves – one for you and one for a friend (who will truly appreciate the sharing of your freezer stash)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 white wheat (or whole wheat) flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
about 12 oz. blackberries, gently mashed
almonds (optional, for sprinkling on top)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. This bread will mix up faster than your oven can preheat – it’s that quick! Grease and flour 2 bread pans.
  2. Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, salt.
  3. Stir in flavorings, eggs, oil, and applesauce.
  4. Fold in blackberries. (Don’t be alarmed. Your batter should be bright purple. Baking will tone it down a little.)
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  • Do you have a lot of frozen berries? How about dessert? Kids love roly poly or mix berries for an easy crisp.

Tips for Eating Locally Through the Winter

With the opening of the farmer’s market this week, I finally feel like winter is over.varitable vegetable variety

So, how did we do? I think we faired much better this winter than last. I’m happy  to say that we just used the last of our storage onions, still have some potatoes left over, and though I haven’t seen them in awhile, there may still be a  few green vegetables in the bottom of the freezer. Oh, how far we’ve come. I’ve been repeatedly told that it’s not true, but last winter, I feel like all we did was eat squash.  This year, we were able to make it through the winter with variety. And so, while it’s still fresh in my mind, I’ll lay out a few things that I learned when I look back on this, our second winter,  of eating locally.  It’s never too early to plan for next year.

How to survive the winter and eat more than squash:

  • Start preserving right away. Each time you go to the market, put a little aside for the winter. Did you get an especially abundant CSA box? Think carefully at the beginning of the week and put away anything that you won’t use. (Don’t wait until the end of the week, when that arugula is wilting.)  This website tells you how to best preserve food, no matter which method you prefer.
  • Learn new skills. Don’t discount a little food project, just because you’ve never done it.  Put canning, dehydrating, and pickling on your list of things to learn. This book is one of our favorites.
  • Swap. Do you have too many beans? Maybe someone else has too many apples. It’s in our natures to keep all that applesauce to ourselves, but really, sharing leads to variety.
  • Constant vigilance. Be on the lookout for food. Read local websites that connect you with farmers. If people know that you’re looking, some delicious things might just come your way.  For our area, I recommend, the KCAA site and  Sound Food.
  • Take field trips. Some markets go year-round. With planning, you can make trips and stock up.  Check out the Seattle markets and our favorite, Ballard’s Sunday market.
  • Start a root cellar. It doesn’t have to be underground or even a real cellar – ours is just a corner of the garage with a fancy thermometer.  Learn what stores well in your temperature and humidity – and unless you want a bag of rotten carrots (er… that never happened to us… no, of course not) learn how to prepare your vegetables for storage.
  • Store food in food. Many things store well in prepared foods, which you can freeze after making.  Put the spinach in a calzone.  Make a tomato sauce from summer’s best.  Put corn in your chicken potpie (though it freezes nicely by itself).  Not only is this a great way to add variety to your meals, but it saves you time on a busy night.

Many thanks to the farmers who were at the market Saturday morning with grins and delicious variety.

Enjoy Summer’s First Corn

It’s not a rumor! Corn is available! The first corn of the season has finally been unveiled here, and it’s time to eat. I have been dreaming of corn since last summer, so I was all in a fluster about what to make. Well, we just steamed it and ate two ears each the first night. Today, we were more patient and enjoyed one of our favorite recipes:

Puffy Corn Omelet

3 ears of corn
4 tbls. of unsalted butter
4 large eggs
salt and pepper
a few chopped chives, or onion tops, or scallions

  1. Prepare the corn and take it off the cob.
  2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch, ovenproof skillet (cast iron works well). Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low, until it begins to smell like corn. Put corn aside, leaving some butter in the pan.
  3. Separate the eggs. In one bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp. of pepper. In another, larger bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt with an electric mixer. Mix until the egg whites become stiff and can hold a peak (or until your patience runs out. Just know that, the longer you beat the puffier your omelet will be.)
  4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the yolks, and then gently stir in the corn.
  5. Spoon the mixture back into the buttery skillet. Bake at 350F until golden (and puffy!) This takes about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Loosen your omelet all around the edges and invert on a plate. (If it’s really stuck, just slice it as you would a pie and serve it from the skillet.) Sprinkle chives over the top.

This is a recipe that you can easily make with frozen corn, when it’s cold and you need a little bit of sunshine. Don’t forget to put some of that corn away for winter.

Send your favorite corn recipes in, and we’ll post them!

It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Winter

From juicy fresh berries to sad freezer blobs

It’s easier to eat locally during the summer, when the markets are overflowing with delicious choices. In the winter, things get a little bleaker and, if you’re not careful, you could get sentenced to five months of salad greens. Here’s what I learned from last year: plan ahead. We were lucky to have storage potatoes and carrots, but I hungered for the variety of summer. (Berries!) For me, it’s so painful to take beautiful, fresh produce and commit it to the freezer bag, but if you want to eat in January, you’ve got to find some way to preserve summer. So far this season, I’ve frozen strawberries and rhubarb, dehydrated cherries, and turned spring’s plentiful arugula into frozen cubes of pesto. I’ve come to rely on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website to help me figure out how to do it all. It’s a great resource for any question that you might have about preparing produce for the freezer, drying, or preserving in other ways.