Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lehne's Opens Friday

U-pick season is in full-swing now.  Norm Lehne Garden and Orchard in Garden Valley opens this Friday at 8:00 am with beans, beets, and summer squash to pick.  They'll also host the OSU Master Food Preservers this Friday and Saturday from 10 to 2 to answer questions and test your pressure canner gauge.  (It's very important to have you gauge tested every year!)

And, fresh from the East Coast, Wendy, Norm and Cinda's daughter-in-law, is back with her Garden Girl baked goods and jams. beans with basil butter, roasted beets dressed with olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and snipped chives, grilled zucchini and yellow summer squash...fresh veggies for every meal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Death By Chocolate Cookies

I tore this recipe out of a magazine years ago.  I don't think the folks at Baker's Chocolate will mind if I pass it along.  See my notes at the bottom for substitutions and changes I made. 

Baker's One Bowl
Death By Chocolate Cookies

2 pkg. (16) squares Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon CALUMET Baking Powder
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

HEAT oven to 350 degrees F.  Coarsely chop 8 squares (1 pkg.) of the chocolate; set aside.  MICROWAVE remaining 8 squares chocolate in large microwavable bowl on HUGH 1-2 minutes.  Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Stir in reserved chopped chocolate and nuts.  Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  BAKE 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch.  Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

My version:  I didn't have any Baker's chocolate today.  I used about a bag and a half of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (no chopping required).  I weighed them out so I had 16 ounces to start with. I always use dark brown sugar.  It helps to have the butter at room temperature.  You don't use a mixer, just stir it all together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  I use Clabber Girl or Rumford baking powder.  I used coarsely chopped pecans today.  I don't make the cookies as big as they say.  I used my regular cookie scoop but heaped the dough up--maybe 2 tablespoons worth.  I baked mine at 325 pure convection for 11 minutes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  I got about 3 1/2 dozen, not counting the snitches of cookie dough I ate (I know, I know, I'm not supposed to do that!).


Monday, July 9, 2012

Peaches at Brosi's

The first local peaches of the summer are here!  I bought quite a few at the Brosi's Sugartree Farms booth at the farmers market on Saturday and they have just softened up enough to eat.  They are sweet and dripping with juice.  I'll never be able to save up enough for a Perfect Peach Pie at this rate.

They will open the orchard for u-picking this week.  Check their facebook page or call 679-1472 for details.

Update on local berries

It's time to stockpile some berries for year-round enjoyment.  Big Bend Berries still has plenty of blueberries, with new varieties ripening each week.  I've been out there picking four times so far and I almost have my quota to last us until through next July.

I went back to The Berry Patch last Friday to pick some more raspberries, but I got side-tracked when I saw that the boysenberries and Marionberries were ripe and ready.  Once they get going, the berries all seem to come at once.

I picked a huge pan of the giant boysenberries and decided to save the Marionberries for another day.  I made my way to the raspberries and I had to hunt a bit as they are getting sparse now, but I did pick a whole bucket full.

I stayed up late and made a batch of raspberry jam and a batch of boysenberry jam--the regular, old-fashioned cooked kind, rather than the easy low sugar freezer jam I usually make.  I'm running out of room in the freezer with all the frozen berries in there.

Cherries are still on at Shady Lane and Brosi's.  The last week of sunshine should have sweetened them up quite a bit.

The heatwave is taking it's toll on all the fruit, so get out soon if you haven't got your fill yet.

Next up are the wonderful thornless blackberries at The Berry Patch that will be coming on around the 25th of July.  If we're lucky, they will last all the way into September.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Let the Blueberry Picking Begin!

Big Bend Berries (458 Big Bend Rd. off Garden Valley, 541-673-8767) is now open for u-picking!  They have tons of beautiful Patriot berries just waiting for you.  I dashed out there this morning and picked for about 45 minutes.  I'll head back tomorrow evening with the family.

Big Bend is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 am to noon and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 pm until 8:30 pm.  They WILL be open this Wednesday on the 4th of July until noon.  

Berries are $1.20/lb and they are not sprayed with anything--no fungicide, no insecticide.  Bring your own containers.  I always use the "bucket-on-a-belt" method for hands-free picking.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the new pamphlet put out by the Oregon Blueberry Commission when you weigh and pay.  There's a recipe for for Blueberry Chicken Salad Wraps that sounds delicious.  More luscious looking recipes on their website.

For a primer of blueberry picking, storing and freezing, check out my previous post here.