Not to the Store Blackberry Sauce

Not a picture of blackberry sauce

Not a picture of blackberry sauce

I almost went to the store yesterday.
There is nothing unusual in almost going to the store. Many days I almost go to the store. Many more days I refuse to go to the store. I hate going to the store.
Yesterday, however, I had an urge to go to the grocery store. But I fought it.

It’s like that old adage about what to do when you feel like exercising? Lie down until the feeling passes.
So I did.

What’s my big deal about going to the store?
I’ve been trying to see what I can make with what I have on hand. But I got into recipe hunting and then enthused by recipes for cucumbers and for blackberries and thought, “Oh, I must go get these ingredients.”

Or not.

So, lying on my porch glider with Ipad perched on my belly, I continued to wander around cyberspace.

One of the wonders of the internet is the ability to plug in search terms for anything you could possibly want to find.
One of the skills of researching is to narrow the search to what you actually need to find.

Googling blackberry recipes yielded plenty of wonderful stuff. But I had two salmon steaks in the freezer. Does blackberry work with salmon? And this is where everyone in Washington State salmon country with overloaded blackberry bushes screamed, “Yes!”

I found a blackberry sauce to go on grilled salmon…and I had all the ingredients in the house!  I reworked the dinner menu: grilled salmon with wild Maywood blackberry sauce; Greek salad starring Maywood cucumber, tomato, and oregano; sliced polenta. The farm-to-table queen rules!

The recipe is from tasteofhome.com. It was for a cedar plank salmon with blackberry sauce. I don’t care for cedar plank grilling, so we skipped that part. I only had one cup of berries and it was just for the two of us, so I halved the sauce. We had plenty of sauce to pour lavishly over two pieces of fish, so I’m guessing we could have drizzled it over four pieces.

It was seriously delicious. I would show you a picture but we were too busy eating it.

Wild Blackberry Sauce
(Yields about one cup)

Mix the following in a food processor:

1 cup blackberries
1 tablespoon white wine (I donated some from my glass)
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon honey (Maywood honey, of course)
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used Tabasco because it’s what was in the house)
pinch of salt and pepper

Strain the mixture through a sieve to get the blackberry seeds out. To the strained mixture add:

2 tablespoons chopped onion or shallot (I used red onion because I was out of shallot and the sauce is red anyway)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

That’s it. Just pour over hot grilled salmon.

And just so you know, I did go to the store today. I had to stock up at Wegman’s for an upcoming grandkid weekend and nearby Coldwater Creek, my favorite clothing store, was having a 90% off going out of business sale and it was my last chance to shop there ever.
Sigh. Now I really won’t want to go shopping because I have to find a new favorite store with clothes that fit. But I found some nice things real cheap, so I’ll have a few new things to pull out from now until long after the blackberries are gone.

I’m Gonna Get Squashed

On a fishing pier Saturday with my mom, watching the waves roll to shore beneath us, I said, “Pretend it’s a tsunami and you have to outrun it.”  Right. The great-grandmother to my grandkids had already walked close to twenty miles with me during our week at the beach. Running was not going to happen.

The garden tsunami beginsReturning home I encountered the first wave of our garden tsunami. Cucumbers. And yellow squash. And zucchini. With blossoms on the patty pans, acorn squash, butternut, watermelon and pumpkins.  My farmboy (oh, fahmboy!) husband loves to say, “As you wish” to his Princess Bride, but the profusion of squash plants in our garden is most definitely his wish.  His 100 x 100 foot fenced garden is about half filled with squash plants, including seeds from a ginormous pumpkin that promised to produce more ginormous pumpkins.

In addition to blueberries, the wild blackberries,  brambles, and raspberries are ripening.

In addition to blueberries, the wild blackberries, brambles, and raspberries are ripening.

When the blueberries ripened, I was pleased with the pacing of the harvest…just enough every day for us to eat. As the blueberries waned, the wild raspberries ripened. What a God treat to have the berries coming in delicate succession like that, like little waves lapping at our ankles.

Ah, but the squash. How to keep ahead of the tsunami of squash.  To be precise, what we have is a tsunami of cucurbits, or gourds.  Cucumbers and melons and summer squash and winter squash and pumpkins belong to the family of  cucurbits.  And here’s a little etymological tidbit to ponder while scooping the innards and adding fillings, dips, and soups: the word came into Middle English by way (of course!) of the Old French cucurbite which came from the Latin cucurbita, meaning gourd or cup.

So cucumbers are not squash.  They are cucurbits.

We picked four pickle cukes the day before vacation and immediately made two jars of pickles. One jar was gobbled on vacation and the other when we got home. But we came home to eight cukes plus about four that my in-laws saved for us with our mail. (That does not include the ones they ate while we were gone.)

Monday I began running to beat the tsunami.

The paletas are cucumber lime ginger popsicles.  They are amazingly good and just as amazingly simple to make. Daughter, grandboy and grandgirl joined me in sampling them.  There is enough ginger to provide grown-ups with a pleasant gustatory zip, but not so much to turn away a three year old and his one year old teething sister.  Follow the link above to the easy recipe at Bon Appetit.

The pickle recipe began with a refrigerator pickle recipe from Allrecipes.com, but after comparing a few recipes with ingredients I had on hand, I ended up with this. I share it here so that I will not lose it!

Refrigerator Pickles

The measurements for the brine make enough to cover 4 cups of pickles.  Adjust quantities according to the amount of cucumber you have.

  • 4 cups pickles, sliced in rounds or in spears, whatever you like
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Bring water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil.  Let cool completely. (Pouring hot brine on the cucumbers will soften them a  bit.  We want crisp cucumbers!)

Fill quart size mason jars with cucumbers.  To each jar add:

  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • sprinkle of dried dill weed or sprigs of fresh dill (for effect!)

Pour cooled brine into each jar to cover cucumbers.  Put lids on.  Store in fridge 3 days  before eating.  Pickles keep 6 weeks in the fridge…if you don’t eat them first.20140723-143512.jpg

So, I have used up all the cucumbers… for the moment. Now to outrun the zucchini…