Sunday, August 28, 2011

Urban Harvesting

As much as I am a city girl, I do love being out in the "country". For me the real appeal lies in the necessity and ability to plan, plant, tend and harvest your own food. I have been accused of taking this concept a touch too far in my own personal life. In an upcoming post I'll go into more detail - but I made strawberry marshmallows. From scratch of course. And the strawberry flavouring? From the jam that I made from the strawberries that I painstakingly picked from the farm. A true full circle moment that Martha Stewart would be proud of - not that she would admit it. She would probably smile, put her hand on my shoulder and tell me that I should have strained the jam before stirring it in. Anyway, I didn't have an opportunity to pick blackberries this year. The trip out to the farm is pretty long and I couldn't justify going solo just to pick a couple pounds of fruit. I was lucky that the local grocery store had a special on and I managed to get my blackberry fix.

I finally got to make a recipe that has been sitting in my book for a couple of years now; waiting for that day when I would come home with a few buckets of freshly picked blackberries. So maybe not this year, but there is always next.

I made Martha's blackberry shortbread squares - and they were so good. The dough incorporates ground almonds and orange and as I pressed it into the pan, I inhaled the scent, an intoxicating melange of almond, butter and sugar. Even the ground almond meal gave off that very distinct smell that only seems to come out when the nut has been pulverized, allowing the oils to release. It's a pretty basic dough that you pat in the pan and then sprinkle 4 cups of blackberries on top (whole). A cup of dough is reserved to sprinkle on top. Even though it came out great, I think it could've used another 8 minutes in the oven just to really crisp up the middle. It came out a touch soft (no matter when served on a plate with ice cream) but I think a few hours in the fridge should solve this nicely for tomorrow's distribution.

As you can see, I had a terrific time taking pictures of these beauties. When the light is good and the product is fresh, it's effortless, the best models you can get.

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