Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apricot Love

It's all about apricots here. I am always drawn to apricots. Inevitably I succumb to the urge to purchase, and I am then disappointed when eating them out of hand. Cooked, however, they never disappoint.

The first baskets I bought were Orange Glows from Hillside Orchard in Michigan. My favorite fruit grower, I always beeline to Sarah when making decisions about my seasonal canning projects. They were perfect, unblemished and photographed beautifully. I threw them in a pan of hot simple syrup anyway. I used David Lebovitz's recipe for apricot jam and it's amazing. Check it out here.

I went back to Sarah for the third (and final?) batch. Ten pounds of Hargrands, an early apricot, beautifully sprinkled with raspberry freckles. They are a bit larger than the apricots I think of when contemplating apricots. The flesh was sweeter and a bit more peach-like causing me to rethink my previoius prejudice. I got a great deal since they were a bit overripe but perfect for cooking. A deal I couldn't pass up.

I blanched them and made puree that later became Apricot Honey. Two cups of puree blended with 1 cup of local honey then heated to thicken. The perfect breakfast treat while on the patio watching the hens chase the moths hiding in the grass.

Copious amounts of apricot sauce for ice cream, yogurt - or a spoon.

The July/August Everyday Food Apricot Cheesecake Bars were a big hit at a Fourth of July barbecue.

Finally, this beautiful birthday tarte. A simple crust and slightly sweetened mascarpone cheese topped with beautiful apricot sauce. The basil was just the right finishing touch.

As July fades into August, the canning continues.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just the Facts

What's new in the yellow house since my last post an eternity ago?

Allow me to fill in a few blanks.

A sweet little robin's nest in our grapevine. After spotting it and keeping an eye on it from a distance we realized that this little egg wasn't meant to be. Maybe mom bailed because of the throngs of kids in the backyard. Maybe she isn't the bird brain?

My vegetable garden continues to make me very happy. Pounds of pickles, buckets of beets - there is much pickling to do. There has been quite a haul made so far this year. Just ask the baby bunny that checks it out daily and has an affinity for organic green beans.

Blackberries. Lots and lots of blackberries. Blackberries free for the taking.

Max masterminded this ice cream Pac Man cake for his birthday. I love the way his mind works.

Ella blew into the double digits! Not to be out done by her brother - chocolate cake, chocolate mocha glaze and a crazy dark chocolate frosting. I love the way her mind works.

Apricots. Four pounds of apricots. Two pounds of apricots. Ten more pounds of apricots.

There has been cheese making, preserving, a really cool new kitchen toy and the 2nd Wing Thing is in the works.

You really just need to stop by the house again soon. There is lots I can't wait to share!