A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blackberry Slump

It's berry time again! As we headed over the Santa Cruz Mountains to our go-to you-pick berry patch, we tried to remember when it was that we made this trip last year. Of course I track dates and time by the food I ate or the recipes I made, so I looked back in the blog. Sure enough, it was the same weekend last year that we hauled home many pounds of blackberries and strawberries. The Daiquiris,  Blackberry Ice Cream and Blackberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt posts tell the tale of last year's excursion.

So what to make with this year's bounty? A slump, of course. What the heck is a slump?! In short, it's stove top fruit dumplings. Unlike a cobbler or a grunt (or other strangely-named fruit desserts), a slump is made on the stove top. It's lovely not to have to turn on the oven in the summer! I like to use a big cast iron pan with a heavy lid. The fruit goes in the pot and a biscuit-mixture is dropped on top of the fruit. The pan lid goes on and the magic happens: the fruit bubbles away while the biscuits steam, making fluffy, fruit-covered dumplings.   You can use whatever berry you have -- blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries -- or other fruit (stone fruit works great). Sugar amounts may have to be altered for different types of fruit.  It's a brilliant idea. And absolutely delicious.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Triple A Salad

Well, it's back to blogging! After many months of wedding planning, celebrating, and then honeymooning, Bill and I spent our first weekend back at home, reveling in the simple pleasure of being married, and relaxing, cleaning out the garage, doing three weeks worth of laundry, making short work of a dozen pounds of ripe plums, vacuuming and hosting friends. Another great opportunity to reflect back on Jack Kornfield's Buddhist book, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.

I really enjoyed planning our wedding weekend, and I absolutely LOVED every minute of the celebration. Now it's also strangely enjoyable to be doing household tasks. Even while dusting and lugging bags to the Goodwill, little wedding memories click through my mind and make me smile.

Here's a sneak peek:

I'll do a post with more photos and details soon, and (hopefully) have a recipe for our wedding cake -- a banana cake that is out of this world. But today's post is a recipe that came to me during a sweet bridal shower hosted by a most creative, generous and resilient friend. She hosted a beautiful brunch, and collected recipes on index cards from all my friends (I'll be posting more of those in the weeks to come -- there are some real winners... everything from savory Bulgarian pastries to Texas sheet cake to Grandma Paddy's ricotta pancakes).

This was the recipe she passed on to me, from Cynthia Lair, a professor at Bastyr University. I frequently make salads, but this is a favorite. The Triple A is named for the primary ingredients = Avocado, Almonds and Arame (a nutrient-rich seaweed, a relative of kelp. Make it with mixed greens, a nice butter lettuce, baby spinach or arugula (to make it a Quadruple A!). I usually like to dress my salad separately, as I'm picky about what constitutes just the right amount of dressing, but this salad is an exception -- I love this dressing and the amount always seems perfect. I didn't do much cooking over the past couple months, but I did make this salad quite a few times -- and that is saying a lot (it was this salad and take out for the last two month rush before the wedding)! On more than one occasion this salad served as a meal in itself.