Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bountiful (or not) Berries #2 - Because My Other Office Needs Love Too

Blackberries are a much less cooperative fruit than raspberries. They grow at extremely different rates. A berry that is overripe and shriveled could be on the bush right next to a berry that is still turning red, unlike the more consistent raspberry bushes. The best and most abundant berries are the ones that grow far away from the paths, making you push past the blackberry briars and scratch yourself up to get at them. You're also risking tick bites, bee stings, and poison ivy. The reward may be a very scant harvest, even at the peak of the season.

As I said in my previous post on wild berries, picking as many as I can on a given day and then freezing them helps increase the supply. To deal with the scratches I have stopped changing into shorts after I ride and do my berry picking with my riding pants still on (although I don't wear the $200 Tailed Sportsman breeches on berry picking days). I make sure I'm well-protected by insect repellant and keep a hat on my head. I've managed to survive the ordeal.

Wild berries can be sour at times, but every once in a while I managed to pick a blackberry that was the essence of everything a blackberry should be. The taste would linger on my tongue that was both a way of extending the pleasure, but also served as a painful reminder that I might not experience such blackberry sublimity every again.

So what do I do with that scanty blackberry harvest in the freezer?

Although I have done no Sweet Treat of the Week this summer, I have done some baking. All of it has been for my part-time NYC office in hopes of making more friends there. What about my regular CT office, where I may not have many more friends, but where everyone expects me to bake for them since I do it so often. Shouldn't I make them a dessert too? How about using those blackberries for them?

Ealier this year I had the good fortune of winning this gorgeous cookbook from Sue in a giveaway.

I want to visit the Blackberry Farm so badly after seeing these beautiful photos. I need an excuse to go to Tennessee. Hmmm...Kevin has relatives in Memphis. Too bad Blackberry Farm is nowhere near Memphis.

So Sue tried the farm's blackberry cobbler recipe. It sounded absolutely wonderful. I wanted to try it.

Did we forget how many blackberries I had?

How about some peaches?

Behold, a peach-blackberry cobbler. Just use the recipe in the link but substitute peaches for some of the blackberries. I used 1 cup of blackberries and 7 small peaches.

I did have to make some other adjustments to the recipe because I was a doodyhead and forgot to give the recipe one last read-over before shopping. I bought regular milk instead of buttermilk and forgot the lime.

The buttermilk was no big deal. I simply added a small spoonful of vinegar to the reulgar milk.

The lime was more troublesome. I think the lime was really what makes this cobbler distinctive. I was fortunate enough to have a half a lemon in the house, but lemons are so much more conventional tasting. Oh well. Giada and Ina would approve of lemon zest!

Sir Pickypants came home and saw the fresh-out-of-the-oven cobbler and asked if he could have any, or if I was saving the whole thing for the office. I said, "You can have some, but you don't like peaches." He said he wanted to try it anyway, so I gave him some after dinner. He ate the crust, had a few bites and said, "You're right I don't like peaches." What a waste!

I brought it into my office the next day. This was my CT office and not unappreciative NYC office. I put that thing out at 8:45 and by 9:40 it was gone. It's nice to be appreciated!


Sue said...

Hi Rach,
Thanks so much for the shoutout. It IS a really gorgeous cookbook, isn't it?

I cannot believe several things:
- That you used even one precious blackberry for your office (even if it was for the GOOD office).
- That you used the blackberries after what you went through picking them. I would keep them in the freezer for eternity and occasionally look at them.
- That you didn't make Kevin sign an agreement that said IF he was going to eat something with peaches he HAD to like it.

But I'm sure it was awesome. I hope YOU had some.

bellini valli said...

Yes it is definitely nice to be appreciated!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sue - You crack me up! I can't take those blackberries with me though. I'll pick a new batch next summer. As for Kevin, going forward, he is going to sign that agreement! (Yes, I did have some and it was yummy)

Val - It was about time!

Angie's Recipes said...

That looks like a great cookbook! Do share more recipes in future as I adore the berries a lot.

Heather said...

I sometimes use plain yogurt or sour cream instead of buttermilk. It's never failed me yet! Good call on mixing peaches and blackberries, they'er really superb together.

The Blonde Duck said...

I like blackberries with blueberries and raspberries, but not alone.

The Blonde Duck said...

Have a good weekend!