Hotlips Makes it Big

HOTLIPS enjoys the viewNow it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Hot Lips Soda, hand-crafted, real fruit soda which sources extra fruit from local farmers. Earlier this year, we were excited to know that you could purchase it in Seattle (though it had been well worth routing your road trip though Portland to pick it up.)

Now, HOTLIPS has made it big. Check out their blurb in the NYT.

Stocking up for holiday guests? Make the yummy soda choice. Read: Some Soda Starts at the Farm.

The Fruits of My Research

dreaming of fruitSo, I’m terribly greedy. Here I am surrounded by beautiful vegetables, vegetables that I’ve dreamed of all winter, and all I can think of is: FRUIT! Being a breath too late to secure some strawberries at the Bremerton farmer’s market yesterday has only made me more impatient. (The man said, as I was getting my money out and my mouth was watering, “No, you can’t buy these, they’re all sold.” Oh!)  Soon, I know that we’ll have strawberries at our home market, and I’ve heard rumor that they’re already out in the Seattle markets. To make your mission easier, here are some things that I have learned about finding fruit:

  • Rob, of All One Family Farms, is taking orders for fruit to be delivered later in the summer. Check out which route you are on and make decisions about what you would like. Order forms, due June 15, are on his website: http://www.allonefamilyfarm.com/
  • Tiny’s, an oft prevalent Seattle vendor, always has scrumptious organic fruit. They have stands at Pike Place Market and many other locations. They have a really handy harvest schedule on the front page of their website, so that you will know exactly when certain fruits start coming out. If you’re looking for a lot of fruit to can, you are able to make a large order. They take orders when the fruit is ripe and not ahead of time. You can arrange delivery to the closest farmer’s market.
  • Soon, it will be time to forage. Salmon and thimble berries are starting to show themselves around here, and the countdown to wild blackberries begins.

Don’t forget to plan ahead. Think about how you’re going to store some of this fruit for the winter. You’ll be glad that you did!

Strawberry update: The Day Rd. farmstand is open! You can buy strawberries by the flat or pint. Look for the strawberry flag and go early.

Quince!

All those who played the game were correct. I believe it is indeed a quince. I poached it from a heavily laden tree in the park, now what to do with it? Alice, in Chez Panisse Fruit, a book I just happen to have from the library, says:

“The decline of the quince may be explained by the fact that it is not a convenience food. The yellowish-white flesh of raw quince is inediblely hard, dry, and astringent and must be cooked before it becomes soft and flavorful and turns a lovely pink color. The few steps in preparation are quick and easy, but the cooking takes a long time.”

The one I picked was fuzzy and it seems that the less fuzz, the more ripe it is. She says that it will keep for a week or two on the counter or longer in the refrigerator. When I have time, I will perhaps try a very small quince and apple tart. It looks like they have to be poached before being turned into a tart. Stay tuned.

Making Homemade Yogurt

When school is in session, I eat a lot of yogurt. It’s a quick and easy breakfast food and something I can throw in my bag in the morning when I haven’t thought ahead and packed a grand lunch. I made the plunge last year and began making my own. It’s very simple to do, but I have to admit that I miss the variety of packaged yogurts. Of course you can stir in delicious jams, honeys, and more, but it’s just not the same as a smooth, happy yogurt.

So, in trying to create this ultimate fast food, I’ve been doing a lot of research. Google searches seem to only lead to shady or impractical websites. ( “Of course, nothing equals a yogurt from Crete, made with goats’ milk…”) Library books have let me down. And no one on the baking circle even responded to my plea for help. So, I took to experimenting!

Here I find myself, a whole lot of jiggly yogurts later, in the position to give some advice. I’ll save you the experimentation.

How to enjoy homemade yogurt, a condensed version of my journey…

1. First, get yourself a yogurt maker. Yes, you could be tough and make it without a gadget, but really, make it easy on yourself. I like this type of maker, because it has individual glass jars which make packing lunch and making different flavors easier. I use this starter, which is stocked in the cold section of my grocery store. To save on buying starter, you can make a chain, reserving one jar of plain yogurt to be the starter for the next time. You can also freeze this, if you’re not going to do it right away. The more you extend a chain, however, the more tart it will get.

2. Decide if you like plain yogurt. If you do, you’re in luck. Here’s a great recipe:

Plain Yogurt
Follow the directions on your starter or-
Heat about 42oz of milk in a saucepan until it boils. Stir and watch. (If you burn it it on the bottom, the yogurt will taste BAD. Trust me.) Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Put a little of this milk in one of your jars, add starter (or 5 tbls. live active plain yogurt), shake all around, and then add back to the batch. Whisk in 1/3 cup of dry milk powder (optional, but makes for firmer yogurt). Pour into your jars and incubate for about 6 hours. Don’t be tempted to jiggle it while you wait. It should remain still or it may have trouble setting.

3. Try stirring in different combinations. I like:

  • jam
  • local honey
  • homemade fruit sauces (like blackberry or strawberry)
4. Make smooth, pre-flavored yogurts.
Vanilla yogurt
Follow the directions for plain yogurt. After you stir in the starter, add 1tbls. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.* (Be sure to use the milk powder option.)
Coffee yogurt
Follow directions for plain yogurt, adding 1 tsp. espresso powder and 1 tbls. sugar.*
Fruit ‘on the bottom’
Cook 1/2 c. chopped fresh fruit, 3 tbls. sugar, and enough water to cover the fruit, over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Cool. Mix in after starter.
*These are the measurements for a half batch. I usually pour one jar of plain, then make three jars of each flavor. To make an entire batch of one flavor, just double the measurements.
Do you have a tried and true recipe? Please share!