This is the second pie of the season - actually the year. I don't make pies much - usually just at Thanksgiving or Xmas or occasionally a nice big fluffy dream pie if I'm feeling kinda retro. But with the mass quantities of blackberries I've got access to, I figured I might as well fill my pie hole.
This here is a blackberry cherry pie - with a jar of Trader Joe's cherries (drained) and about 3 1/2 cups of fresh blackberries - and 7 T cornstarch and 3/4 c of sugar (it could have used a whole cup).
And even with the crumbly breaking crust issues - the whole thing came out really good. I used crisco instead of butter for the first time in a long time and it was a bit more of a mealy crust than a flakey one - but that could have been cause the crisco wasn't as cold as it should have been. I don't know really, cause it's been so long since I used crisco.
This here is a shot of how amazingly well the filling stayed together (without being like a gummy pie) and another very good example of my extremely decelerated photography skills. The lighting is soooo freaking yellow.
Someday I will get back up to speed with the photo opps - but for now....
So I went out this morning and decided to pick a little over half of my corn crop - which I didn't water enough. I found out by talking to a neighbor, who is also a farmer, that the corn needs way less water when the stalks are growing - but that when it flowers and after that is when it needs to be really well watered. I pretty much did the opposite - or something. Whatever I did it only gave me 4 decent sized ears and the rest were various forms of small.
But they tasted pretty freaking good in this Zucchini Corn Chowder that I made. I did what I usually do when I cook something new - I looked up a bunch of chowder recipes and made my own amalgamation. I'm just gonna list generally what I put in it - mostly cause I think it's all up to your own taste - what you would want in yours anyway. I had a wedge of gorgonzola camembert and thought it would be good in this and, by jove, it was! It had a faint gorg flavor - that wasn't too strong and added a lot of complexity and creamyness. I totally dug it. In fact I had a hard time stopping eating it. And the more I ate the more I wanted to keep eating it. Pretty crazy for a soup.
Zucchini Corn Chowder with Gorgonzola Camembert Creamy Goodness
Enough fresh corn to make 4ish cups
about 1/2 pound of bacon, chopped up (I used scissors)
1 large onion, diced
about 3 T flour
zucchini, cut bite sized
a wedge of gorgonzola/camembert cheese
1/2-3/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper
So, after cutting the corn off the ears I cooked the ears in about 4 cups water for like 10 min. If you aren't using fresh corn you could use veg stock or chicken or something like that. In the meantime, I cooked the bacon till it was well done and took it out of the pot (a large enameled cast iron dutch oven) then sauteed the onion in the fat. When the onion is soft add the flour and cook a little - then, very slowly, add ladels of the corn stock and whisk it into the flour/onion mix. This takes a little practice. It's how a gravy is made. Basically what happens is if you add the liquid too fast it can cause the flour to cook into hard little balls that will never be incorporated into the rest - so you just want to make sure that you add the liquid and keep everything moving until you have a kind of softish - mashed potato-like - mass. Then you can add the liquid a little faster. It's best to use a whisk or whip type instrument - but if all you have is a fork and a strong sense of determination - you go!
Ok, so next in goes the zuc (I used one whole large one - about 3 cups) and potatoes (I used 4 small russets - about 3 cups) so that they can cook. At this point the consistency was a little on the thin side - but it cooks down a bit and gets pretty thick in the end. After about 20 min add the corn and cook about 5 minutes, then the cheese in small bits and let it melt, then the sour cream. Don't let it boil after this point - just keep it hot. You could add cream or half and half instead of the sour cream - but it's what I had. Then add salt and pepper and the bacon and it should be done. Oh, and about 1 T butter thrown in at the end to finish it off. It is a chowdah for chrissake! You could add some herbs at the end too - parsley, maybe some sage or thyme. Whatever.
And that's some goood soup! Especially for a nice fall day like today turned out to be (even though it's still summer, but I don't mind at all).
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I don't know how much this looks like - but it's a LOT. I picked berries for almost 4 hours this morning. I would guess that I picked at least double what I picked for the blackberry syrup I made - and that was 12 cups.
I decided to make juice - mostly for the fruit juice kefir that I have been making. But also so I can make jelly or something with it later.
What I did was put one of those big bowls of berries in a pot and cover them with water - boil and strain. Then I put all the juice in this big giant pot, and it is over half full - maybe 2/3 full. To this amount of juice I added 5 cups of sugar and it tasted really good.
This here is the pulp - which I am actually going to use to make a fermented blackberry syrup. I'm excited about it - but I'm also glad it takes 3 days to ferment - cause all that picking and juice making today just about killed me (I'm lying on the floor as I type this). I'll post the recipe for that when I make it. My fingers are crying right now.
And here is the finished product. 9 quarts (plus a half quart that I am going to use tonight!) of fabulously good blackberry juice. I honestly never in a million years thought I would have access to this many blackberries. Last year I made wine with the ones from the patches I found on our property - but this year I have ventured way back behind our chicken coop - onto some property that is totally unused - just woods and this HUGE blackberry field. It is so crazy. When I go back there I am up to my knees and hips in blackberry bushes - and I just knock, cut and stomp them down to get to where I want to go. I could probably go out every day and pick a whole bowl full - but it's a lot of work. I might try every other day or every 3 days - just to give my body, and my hands, a rest.