What I'm up to
  • Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon
    Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon

    everyone needs these, many of them.

  • Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan
    Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan

    Scarily, I can say I have enough copper. Not many people can utter those words.

  • Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset

    The same thing could be said for Le Creuset, but still. Great for braising and soup making.

  • The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    by Amanda Hesser
  • Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware

    What did I do before I started using this half sheet? Cry.

flora and flying. Get yours at bighugelabs.com

Entries in raspberry (2)


Fig tart with raspberries - summer's best tart

Finished fig raspberry tart

I originally wrote this post in September 2006. While the words still ring true, the recipe has changed for the better.  The tart is easily adapted to other fruits, but please take advantage of early figs and the last of the summer raspberries and make it now.  If you read this is August, fear not. Some think that Fall raspberries are better than July ones and the figs will still be available.


still life with figs

While I sit and listen to Ernest the puppy sneeze thirteen times in a row (yoghurt up the nose?) I am hearing TH sigh happily as she finishes her piece of fig raspberry tart. My first exposure to such a beast was in June 1992 when I flew to Berkeley after TH's mother died. While I never had the honor of meeting her, that day began a seven year relationship with her father that started with a meal at Chez Panisse and continued on with love of food, bassets hounds, landscape history, France, geography and his daughter to bind us.

I had only heard of Chez Panisse before that day, and that meal upstairs was very good. I can't remember what my main course was, but the dessert was a fig tart with raspberries and lavender honey ice cream was memorable. I have made it for the last fourteen and change years. The recipe is simple and elegant and brings back memories of a more innocent time with a start of a great relationship.


pre-baked fig configuration

Fig tart with Raspberries (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts, 1984.)

One lb puff pastry (thawed - I use Delaurenti's and one lb is the right amount). Pepperidge farm will do as well. One sheet.
1 pint fresh figs (mission, but if you have kadota, why not mix it up?)
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 T sugar
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 T milk for egg wash
2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F

Rinse figs, cut off tops, cut into quarters.

Roll or fold out pastry, score the ends and sides and fold over so you have an edge. Brush edges  of puff pastry with egg wash. Place figs with cut sides up in rows (overlapping if you can). Brush figs with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Place in oven for 25-30 minutes or until puff pastry starts to brown and figs are softened but still hold their shape.  Remove from oven. While still warm, sprinkle raspberries over top of tart.  Serve either warm or at room temperature with lavender honey ice cream, vanilla ice cream or on its own.


Wayward Fruit and Lost Buttermilk - Buttermilk Fruit Smoothies


Its all in the pink.

They say summer doesn't start in Seattle until July 5th.  This year it started the day before and we were blessed with a marvelous 4th of July to spend in the company of friends and family and to watch the fireworks from near or far.  The weather is supposed to stay warm and sunny for the foreseeable future. For this my tomatoes and raspberries are grateful.

In praise of soft fruits of the drupe etc.

In praise of  the soft fruits.

This also means that the berries are starting to ripen at a pace that makes it hard to keep up.  I will admit that it is hard to not drive by the berry stands in Anacortes and not stop for Skagit Sun Hoods or Sakuma Farms Shuksans.  I have many raspberry plants bearing fruit from now until September.  Our marionberries and blueberries are starting to color up too.TH and I will make our annual pilgrimage to the blueberry farm sometime soon.  It also means finishing up the berries in the freezer that we vowed that we would get through by February because we would eat them every day. We made a good dent in the berries this year, but I could make 16 pies this week and we would still have berries to eat. The dent might be more like a ding. Now, it is the race to the end of the fruit and smoothies are the vehicle of choice.


milkshakes made with buttermilk

The real deal - Superior Dairy Products  strawberry and chocolate shakes

In 2008, TH and I attended the Vernacular Architecture Forum Meeting in Fresno, California. The meeting was awesome. We toured Fresno and the Central Valley farms saw worker's housing, ethnic neighborhoods and ate some amazing food. That is what is so amazing about the VAF meetings - they don't just focus on the buildings, but on the social and cultural factors that shaped the communities and landscapes of settlement.  One place we visited, Hanford, California had the requisite things in a settled agricultural center - mills, town common, courthouse, commercial district and a great little ice cream shop and diner called Superior Dairy Products that good VAFers flocked to after touring the town.   There TH and I had shakes made with buttermilk instead of milk.  The tangy and thick buttermilk added a dimension to the shake that I can't really describe, but it worked.  Guess what? It works in a smoothie as well.  At Superior, you can have them add ground walnuts to your shake.  While I did not partake on that trip, I am now adding ground almonds and they are delicious.  This smoothie is the best thing to do with the lingering 3/4 quart of buttermilk leftover from your famous pancake batter.

Buttermilk Smoothie - where wayward fruit and lost buttermilk meet

Makes 1 12 oz smoothie (can be doubled)
We use a old stick blender, but if you have a nice vitamix/waring/smoothie maker, by all means use it.

1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen fruit (I use mixture of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
8 oz of lowfat buttermilk
1 T almond meal or ground walnuts (optional)
1 T ground flax seed (optional)
1 T maple syrup (optional, but good if you want things a little more sweet than tangy)
1/2 t vanilla (optional)

Place fruit, buttermilk and any or all of the above ingredients in a 1 pt wide mouth mason jar or your blending vessel of choice.  If you like things icy, then start your blender/hand blender/vitamix and blend until smooth. If you like things a little less refreshing,  let the mixture sit for a bit to soften up. Go check your email and walk you dog. Then return to your smoothie making and blend until smooth.

Drink up.