Saturday, July 30, 2011


I can still hear my grandpa singing in the berry patch...

It's coming up on four years since he passed away, and I still miss him every single day. While I was picking blueberries at Rouster's this morning I heard a woman several rows over singing, accompanied by the whirring of cicadas and clucks of hungry robins. It struck me that it's something you don't hear much anymore - someone singing in public, not caring who hears them, just expressing their contentment through song. I was immediately brought back to childhood days spent at my grandparent's farm, helping Grandpa in the strawberry patch, hearing him tremulous tenor echoing out over the fields.

Even though it's been steamy hot lately, the morning was quite pleasant, the dewy berry bushes kept me cool while I reached under and over branches to pluck handfuls of jammy blueberries. I ended up walking away with several pounds for around $ can't beat that.

When I got home I immediately got to work washing and packaging up my haul, preparing them for the new (wait for it) chest freezer that my parents gifted us! Yes, we are now the proud owners of a Kenmore 13 cubic feet chest freezer, and she is a thing of beauty.

We now have room to put up as much fruit, vegetables, pesto, dinners, bread, and anything else we want. Once the freezer got cool enough, I transferred my already-frozen tart cherries, black raspberries, and rhubarb, and then added the freshly picked blueberries. Only a very small dent was made in the space, so I'm confident that we're not going to be lacking for freezer room anytime soon.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

She was a saucy little tart...

One could say that Lodi apples are a tradition in my family. The use of any other apple variety to make applesauce, jams, butters, or pies is tantamount to sacrilege. Lodis are medium-sized light green apples with a mouth-puckering tartness - unless you have a stomach of steel you probably wouldn't want to eat one raw. I love them because of this tartness; they aren't sugary sweet like a Gala or Golden Delicious.

At a small family get together this past Saturday there was an exchange of Lodis between my mom and aunt, courtesy of Rouster's Apple House. I was in luck - five apples found their way into my hot little hands. So what did I do? I made a rustic apple tart, of course. I like to think I've honed my traditional pie-making skills, but I had yet to make one of those whimsical raggedy-edged tarts that are all the rage right now. Turns out its pretty darn easy, even if you don't consider yourself to be a baker.

This is definitely something I'll be making again in the future - that tart appley bite, the sweet cinnamon juices, and the buttery-crunch of the crust - it will melt your heart.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cauliflower Love

Been a while since I've posted - it seems like we've been so busy lately. Family stuff, canning, cooking, working, reading, exercising like a fiend,'s catching up to me.

Yesterday I was doing some research to find my mom a new frittata recipe for brunch this weekend. I came across several tasty looking write-ups, and it got my mouth watering for some fluffy eggy goodness...that coupled with the recent abundance of fresh eggs and veggies from our CSA.

So tonight I made a Feta and Cauliflower Frittata and added in some fresh sweet corn and white onion - can I tell you that I have never had cauliflower taste this good before? And the bonus is that it's really quite healthy - not laden with tons of cheese and butter like many other frittatas (not that I don't love my fair share of cheese and butter).

You may wrinkle your nose at the thought of cauliflower with eggs and sharp feta, but trust me, a little gentle heat really brings out the sweet side of this much maligned veggie.

I paired it with a crisp salad starring some sweet cherry Sungold tomatoes from the garden and some ice-cold cubed local cantaloupe for dessert.

Corn, tomatoes, melon - can you get much more summer than that?