Blueberries are fading into a sweet August memory. Poetic, huh? My husband and I picked 14 pounds last Saturday with the sun at our backs and two whiney children at our feet. Not so poetic. I flash froze the berries that weren’t gobbled up fresh.
I never post about HOT! deals, but it’s hard to beat the pricetag on those gorgeous blackberries that are ripening as fast as school is approaching. For an invasive species, they sure are delicious. Peaches are also in season right now. Go to Pick Your Own to find an orchard near you.
Tomatoes are slowly ripening; the heat we’ve had recently has definitely helped. There will be a whole lot of roasting and canning in my future. More on that later.
It’s a good thing I live in the Pacific NW, because I don’t really follow the whole don’t-turn-on-the-oven-when-it’s-hot-outside line of thinking. I can’t help it. I love to bake, without worrying about how much butter is involved or how many degrees it is outside.
This week, I made the Easy Little Bread, featured over on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. The recipe title does not lie; this bread is both easy and little. You mix together the basic ingredients in two bowls, dump it into a buttered loaf pan, let it rise for 30 minutes, and bake it for 35 minutes. If baking with yeast is intimidating to you, this is a good way to ease into it.
In just over an hour, you can be pulling a piping hot loaf of bread out of your oven. This is a great recipe if you find yourself in need of bread for tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s breakfast or lunch, but have no desire to change out of your sweats to run to the grocery store. Easy Little Bread is also a perfect recipe to make with those little kitchen helpers in your life.
Speaking of bread, remember how much I adore Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes? Well, my loyalty is in jeopardy since discovering Jim Lahey’s no-knead method from his book, My Bread. It is seriously the best thing since, well, sliced bread.
The steps are very similar: you mix up water, flour, yeast, and salt in a big bowl, let it rise, and bake it in a hot oven. All with very little hands on time. However, with Lahey’s recipe you let it proof overnight (12-18 hours) before baking.
By following his simple method, you can achieve bakery quality artisan bread in your own kitchen. So far I have made his basic bread and pizza crust recipe, and both received rave reviews. People couldn’t believe that neither Little T nor Ken were involved
And just so our GF readers don’t feel left out, here you go: Gluten-Free Brownies. My sister called me last week and insisted I drop everything and make these. So I did. Yum. They are like a flourless chocolate cake, only better. So good, in fact, the pan was emptied before I could get a picture. You’ll just have to take my word for it and make your own.
Leave a comment! What’s going on in your kitchen/garden/home this month?
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Our wild blackberries are great this year. I’ve picked 5 quarts for a recipe that makes jelly and then ferments the pulp for more juice to be used for syrup (for Italian sodas, Kefir flavorings…). We’ve had tons of blueberries. They got off to a slow start but are still growing strong. The last three bushes have just started ripening. We’ve been making scones, pancakes and freezing a lot for winter.
The figs are also great, we’ve picked 20 pounds in the last 3 days. We used them for preserves, drying and a batch of fig wine.
I just love fruit season, the apples and pears look like they’ll be good to – sauce, cider, snacking
Where do you get your peaches? They seem expensive this year.
PS hey Em, Im heading out to my parents farm next week to pick FREE blackberries, wanna come with? The kids can play at Grandma Shierman’s and we can pick without little whiners! 🙂
Check that, mom says the berries are still green. 🙁 Post-pone for September?
It’s also time to get my food dehydrator going. Bonus garden veggies that I don’t have time to deal with in other ways can be sliced thin with a mandolin and dried. Perfect soup/stew ingredients for fall and winter, and I can store them without taking up precious freezer space or using up my limited supply of mason jars. The current issue of Mother Earth News is all about preserving and has great ideas for drying. I actually bought a magazine at newsstand prices because it looks so useful.
Also if you know someone who is likely to let their Italian plums go to waste, help them avoid setting a banquet for the yellow jackets by picking the fruit and making your own prunes. My mom’s should be ready to pick in about 3 weeks or so…
I will be freezing shredded zucchini for bread at Christmas time 🙂
I have tons of zucchini…how does it work for you, freezing shredded? I’ve done it before but it was so watery. Any way to avoid that?
And thanks for this post! I’ve got a bazillion blueberries in the freezer and a garden full of good stuff too. Today is zucchini bread and “pan de queso”. I am SUCH a carb freak!
If you set the grated zuke in a colander over a bowl for a couple of hours, you should be able to drain away excess moisture. You need some wetness still in the veg to make your bread turn out lovely and moist.
I always freeze shredded zuchini….usually the bigger, overgrown ones that I cannot use for anything else. In fact this is what I did all day on Monday. Place a colander in your sink and shred directly into it. When you’re finished, press it down a bit to release excess water. I use my food saver/vacuum sealer for freezing and place about 4-5 cups of the shredded zuchini in a large bag with extra room. Then after they’re sealed, spread the mess to each end of the bag, so the zuchini is about 1-2 inches thick. That way, when you need to get a cup or two out before next spring, you can easily break off what you need and then reseal the bag without thawing it all. It will always be watery as it thaws, but like thawed, frozen spinach, you can squeeze it out with a cheesecloth. Good luck!
Thanks for the tips, guys! I’ll do that. No baking today after all – found that my oven is broken. Oops. Sniff sniff.