Monday, June 24, 2013

Apricot Vinaigrette

Maybe cherries are the first stone fruits but apricots aren't far behind.   I got another bag of rivals (I think) from Pipetone farms, and when I put them in a bowl, I thought about all the things I could make with them.  Sure you can eat them as is, the original fast food, but it's fun to get creative with them while the season lasts.  And, remember if you like them dried, there's nothing better than enjoying treasures from the market dried, in the middle of winter.

I've mostly found Rival and Tilton apricots at the markets.  Tilton are one of the best varieties canning and drying varieties for West of the Cascades.  

Last week I discovered they were perfect with berries.  Why not cherries?  Or why not black cherry cider vinegar?  I've made this dressing before, and it's different every time.  

Last time I used dried garlic from Rent's Due Ranch.  I don't think they offer it anymore, but last winter River Farm had a small quantity of dried garlic.

I also used more apricots and less vinegar, this time I wanted black cherry vinegar.  I loved that sweet black cherry soda when I was young.  This vinegar brings back memories (but not the sugary sweetness).  It's a seasonal treasure at Rockridge Orchards.  I got the last bottle Wade Bennett was selling on Saturday, but don't worry--Wade said his berry ciders vinegar are just a few weeks away.  

Don't let the calm of this picture fool you, my Cooking Assistant was alert and waiting a few inches away. 

Finn is a big fan of all the summer fruit.   He especially loves it when neglected summer fruit outside calls his name.   On a walk recently, he discovered someone had planted these rather neglected berries outside their fence.  Maybe they did plant them for birds and squirrels, but I bet they never expected to see a basset hound, up on the rock ledge picking and eating as fast as he could.

These Tilton apricots from R& R Farms will be at the U-District market soon.  They only come to the market to sell apricots from their wild-crafted orchards.  These are just about as wild as you can get for apricots.

Here's the new version of salad dressing.   What do apricots inspire you to create?  Jam?  Sorbet?  Soup?  Muffins?  Tell me your favorite.  I think I'm up for apricot cobbler next week!

Apricot Vinaigrette
(Makes about 3/4 cup)

2 or 3 apricots
1/2 cup berry or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1teaspoon agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt or to taste

Wash and pit apricots.   Puree with vinegar, Dijon mustard and agave nectar or honey.  (An immersion blender works well for this.)   Blend in olive oil, chile powder and sea salt.

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