Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Fruit Recipe Round Up

A Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

It's a summer fruit fest spring through fall in the Northwest. It's every dog for himself so I grab what I can before it all disappears into the freezer or dehydrator.  I remember fondly the year I first arrived and I'd snagged a dish towel off the counter that was filled with nectarines and plums, and my cohorts rushed in and helped me dispose of the evidence quickly.

Now, I'm sad to see apricots are no longer at the market.  At least they were in our market bags this Saturday. Last year the Lady made this fabulous cool Apricot Soup infused with Mint.

This year we made this fresh apricot vinaigrette for salads.

I'm amused to hear people say, "We eat with our eyes first."

No "we" don't. People have lost the art of really smelling the nuances of food and they try to make up for it by spouting nonsense.  Most people are scent handicapped when it comes to appreciating the scents of the world.

That's how I find strawberries on the bush because I don't see red.  I foraged for strawberries shamelessly and allowed the birds to take the blame once again for our small harvest.  Sure the Lady caught me a few times, and but my nose leads me to exactly where those berries are hiding.  

Check out this strawberry shortcake recipe and substitute raspberries or blackberries.  It's all good when it comes to berries.

And what would summer be without our favs--North Star Cherries from Grouse Mountain Farm?  Pie cherries have priority for the dehydrator since they make fabulous holiday gifts.  Of all the cherries in the Northwest, North Star cherries have the very best flavor.  Well, according to the Lady anyway. Sweet or tart, I love them all.

This crisp recipe originally came from The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook.  The Lady uses a version of this combined with the recipe from her cookbook, for just about every fruit that comes down the pike.  

It really is as good as it looks.  My job is the "prewash" so bowl scrappings are all I get when it comes to desserts around here.

And then come the berries . . .

Ayers Creek (Gaston, Oregon) Certified Organic  Chester Blackberries
The sweet perfume of summer berries begs me to linger over the boxes.

Here's the same crisp recipe.  Who needs new dessert recipes all the time?  Just change the fruit. Management claims the best topping is Double Rainbow coconut sorbet.  Who needs dairy when nondairy is this good? 

So close; maybe too close.

What happens when the photographer is too slow.  It's tongue twister.
For lots of berry recipes check out this website.  Dumplings, fritters, Romanoff and even berry pizza.  I prefer to gorge on fresh berries myself.

The Lady rarely uses written recipes for berry desserts.  "How can you go wrong with berries?" she's fond of saying.  

Oh I might disagree.  Here's one berry cobbler that went horribly wrong in the looks department. Look like someone stepped in it.  But so what?  Unlike humans, canines don't consider looks the most important aspect of a recipe, and it isn't when you think about it.  I've seen this disaster more than once in our kitchen. . . .  and it all gets eaten, proving that not everything that tastes great at home has the eye-candy, foodporn look.

The important part is whether you've licked every drop from your plate.

When melon season arrives, I can't bark loud enough.  Check out these Japanese melons from Mair Farm-Taki.

I'm all for eating melons fresh.   We get fresh melons from River Farm.  A little over a week ago Liz and Eric's house burned down in the Taylor Bridge Fire.  I think this sweatshirt was one of the fire. casualties :(.   All dogs and people accounted for and safe :)

These cantaloupes wouldn't last long around here.  And the best part is River Farm has a bumper crop this year.  Why not support the farm and buy lots of their amazing melons?  You can find them at the U-District  and West Seattle markets. 

The best cooling summer fruit around, melons are the sweetest when grown in the dry heat of summer. That's why the best melons in Washington come from east of the Cascades.

Here's a few chillin recipes for melon:

Or cool off with a Melon Lime Cooler

It that doesn't chill you out, check out this Coconut Melon Soup

And who doesn't love popsicles

I'll take a heaping helping of fresh melon.  You can get great deals on seconds at River Farm!

Hold the phone; is this my share?   I'll be begging again soon.

Begging is hard work, but it's a dog's job, and the payoff isn't so bad.

An Abundant Crop of Cookbooks 

I'm just the recipe tester, but the Lady takes lots of ideas and recipes from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook (Timber Press, 2010). That's how we developed an appreciation of Oregon fruit in a big way.  It's also why the lady takes better photographs now.

The book grew out of  Local Vegetarian Cooking (LOC Press, 2004) the Lady's first book that was more local, with only Washington farms and farmer profiles.

John Huschle from Nature's Last Stand in Carnation

Local food is still trending and a new crop of Northwest local food cookbooks with farmer profiles has sprouted up this year.  Neither book has as many recipes, but they've got lots of color photos. Eye candy for humans.   They look promising and I'd say I can't wait to read them, but I'm all about sampling when it comes to food.

Maybe I'll just put my feet up and relax with a blueberry cooler--blueberries, crushed ice, coconut sorbet, banana, and fresh orange juice.  

Wait--I think I found the tiniest party in the world in this pot.

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