BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘cherries

The Best of Corvallis: Our Neighbor’s Cherry Stand

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An umbrella to shade the heat-swollen cherries.

Here in the stone fruit-and-berry rich Pacific Northwest, kids sell cherries freshly picked from their backyard trees in lieu of having a lemonade stand. At least on our street in Corvallis, they do. These are not the crappy, under-ripe and non-organic Hood River ones sold along the highway on the Oregon Coast last week. These are ripe, beautiful, juicy, seemingly chemical-free Bings.

The organic Raniers grown under high tunnels on the OSU research farm.

Apparently, and ┬ábased on the neighbor’s harvest, Oregon is having a bountiful, if delayed, cherry season this summer. Often, the constant spring rains will force many blossoms to drop before pollination. They seemed to fare better this year. Giant organic Ranier cherries especially flourish, when protected and heated up by high tunnels, on an OSU research farm here.

How I will miss these cherries, and the raspberries and blueberries and especially the Tayberries, upon our relocation back East. So I’m savoring them now. A $20 bill got me 10 pints from the neighbor’s stand. Then Dan decided to surprise us with a box on his bike ride home, so we had 11 in total. Several have already disappeared. Theo loves cherries and, fortunately without incident, appears to have swallowed his first cherry stone. Maybe he’ll have a sister, Cherry Stone, someday:)

No, you can’t take them with you. Please don’t accuse us of hoarding cherries. Freezing them won’t do this year. I’m also liberated from canning.

Now it’s time to make clafouti, or brandied cherries, or the bing cherry-rhubarb brown betty I discovered our first summer here. That was the first year I bought the neighbor’s crop. Apparently, the young boys have doubled their asking price since four years ago. That seems fair.

It’s a self-serve stand operating under the honor system.

There’s something hopeful, and of course entrepreneurial, about young boys holding a cherry (or even lemonade) stand. These boys work for their allowance. Their mother also has them play their fiddles for change sometimes at the farmer’s market. So mothers begin to instruct their sons to make a buck the honest way.

Written by baltimoregon

July 7, 2012 at 12:18 am

Rhubarb Season’s A Comin’

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Back from the Dead: Ruby-Red Rhubarb Stalks Emerging in the Garden.

I realized it was finally time to use that gallon-size bag of sliced rhubarb I had frozen when I saw the ruby-red stalks poking up through the mulch in the garden. I couldn’t get enough rhubarb last spring. I think I o.d.-ed on the stuff last April and May, returning home with big bunches of it every time I visited the farmers market. But I never touched that frozen bag of it last fall or winter. I think, as with asparagus and blackberries, and of course, fresh tomatoes, I just prefer to eat my heart out when it’s in season and then abstain until the fresh crop emerges the following spring or summer. That first fresh bite never tastes as good as their frozen counterpart from last season.

So before rhubarb arrives, I’m trying to use up the frozen stuff. I made a soupy strawberry-rhubarb crisp last night, with the frozen local strawberries I also ignored this winter. I might make rhubarb compote/syrup with the remaining chunks. The rhubarb crop should be early this year, if my garden is any indication. It’s amazing how the perennial plant completely dies back, disappears, when it gets cold, only to reappear again, through its mulchy mound, come February. But I might not crave the tart pie plant as much this spring, since I’m indulging in the frozen stuff now.

What will you make with it once rhubarb season begins? On second thought, maybe you should freeze some so once cherries are in season, you’ll have enough on hand to make this fabulous Bing cherry-rhubarb brown betty I discovered last season.

Neglected All Winter: My Frozen Local Rhubarb and Strawberries.

Written by baltimoregon

February 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Bing Cherry Brown Betty

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DSC03475DSC03482Thankfully cherries have come full into season just before we quit town. We’re having our fill. Instead of a lemonade stand, a little boy down the street sells Bing cherries, $1 a pint, from the family’s backyard trees. What a steal. I’ve bought six pints worth.

What a sweet yet firm flesh the Bing’s have.

I’ve also had delicious first-to-ripen French Burlats here, which taste like Bings but have much more fragile flesh.

So what to make for dessert with such luscious, fleeting fruit? Luckily, my review copy of Rustic Fruit Desserts arrived just in time. If you, like me, always order fruit over chocolate at the end of a meal, this book is for you. Better yet, it’s written by Portlanders Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. Looking forward to having them on the radio show to discuss the book.

Immediately, their Rhubarb and Bing Cherry Brown Betty appealed to me for its simplicity. Spring rhubarb and summer cherries to bridge the seasons. I took a shortcut by using store-bought Lorna Doone Shortbread for the topping but feel free to make your own. And Grand Marinier was a fine substitute for kirsch or brandy. Nor did I butter my pan, but since it was silicone nothing stuck.

Here’s the recipe (from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, June 2009):

Baking Time: 45 minutes/ Serves 8 to 12

2 tableslespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan

1 pound vanilla bean shortbread, crushed (approximately 18 cookies, or 4 cups crushed)

1 cup (7 ounches) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/4 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 6 cups or 1 1/2 pounds prepped)

2 cups (12 ounces) Bing cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted (can substitute any other sweet cherry variety)

2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 3-quart bakign dish.

Rub the sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, then add the rhubarb and cherries and toss to combine. Stir in the liquor, then let sit for 15 minutes t draw some of the juices from the rhubarb and cherries.

Evenly spread half of the crushed cookies in the prepared pan, then add the rhubarb mixture and all of its juices and gently spread it over the crumbs. Top with the remaining crushed cookies.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and, using the back of a large offset spatula or something similar, gently press down on the betty to ensure the rhubarb mixture is submerged in its juices. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Test the rhubarb with a paring knife to ensure that it is soft. Cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with a dollop or Chantilly, whipped or ice cream.

Storage: This betty is best served the day it is made, but any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature 2 to 3 days.

Written by baltimoregon

June 29, 2009 at 12:38 am

Life is a Bowl of Cherries…and Frass

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I was pleasantly surprised to find the first cherries of the season at the Corvallis Farmers Market today. Of course I sprang for them. They were sweet and perfectly ripe, with firm burgundy skin enclosing soft flesh. Thank you Denison Farms! And at their stand, I learned a not-so-lovely word today: frass. It refers to the feces of insects. Yum! But Denison also described frass as chaff, or the scriveled up brown detritus that you have to clean off cherries.

Written by baltimoregon

June 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

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