Berrylicious Sweet Rolls

Berrylicious Sweet RollsLabor Day Labors
Not sure if you noticed, but it was kinda hot over the Labor Day Weekend. With temperatures as high as they were, everything we had on our schedule got canceled. And, no one wanted to even think about going outside so we just laid around like slugs. Thank goodness it was the opening weekend for College Football.

The good news is that temperatures are coming down into normal territory. This is good for obvious reasons but also for one not too obvious. If I am not stuck inside bored out of my mind, I won’t find myself eating as much and I ate way too much this last weekend.

Because my daughter and I had cabin fever, we passed the time cooking. We made pasta salad, potato salad, and BBQ chicken. We also made an attempt at French Macarons. (We did okay for a first attempt but they weren’t too pretty…)

Amidst all of the dishes we whipped up, I did manage to make a new recipe for Berrylicious Sweet Rolls that I had been meaning to try out. You know, for the kids.

These rolls are a nice diversion from the usual cinnamon rolls, though nothing could replace cinnamon rolls on my list of awesome tastiness. Instead of cinnamon and sugar, the filling is made by mixing the frozen berries of your choice with sugar and some cornstarch. Personally, I am a fan of the frozen Marion berries we carry from Willamette Valley Fruit but you can use any good quality frozen berries.

These Berrylicious Sweet Rolls are not as sweet as you would think. But, they are definitely worth the work for a Sunday morning treat.

Be careful when baking them. Mine turned out darker than I intended because the original recipe called for too much baking time…or maybe it was just that hot in my kitchen…

Berrylicious Sweet Rolls
Yields 16 rolls
Start these the night before for a fantastic morning treat. Set them to rise in the fridge overnight, and just pop them in a preheated oven in the morning. (See instructions below.) Read more…

Gam’s Zucchini Fritters

Gam's Zucchini FrittersI’m All A Fritter
If you planted a backyard garden this year, chances are you are knee deep in squashes. All this lovely weather we have been having has produced an abundance of patty pan, crookneck, eight ball and of course, your classic zucchini squash.

I have always loved squash, even as a kid. Still love it but I am in the minority in my house. Nothing better to me than fresh steamed squash with a little butter and salt. The rest of my family? Not so much. Event though I enjoy eating it that way, one does grow tired of the same old thing.

My grandparents had a huge garden. They grew everything: tomatoes, melons, asparagus, artichokes, blackberries, strawberries and, of course, zucchini. My grandmother was another crazy squash lover. She had a killer recipe for zucchini bread that I still use for my kids. One of my favorite zucchini recipes of hers was something she didn’t make all that often: Gam’s Zucchini Fritters.

Any time you see the word fritter you know it’s going to be good because the word fritter implies fried. Deep fried, in fact. Southern Style! How can you go wrong with that? They know what’s up in the South….

These fritters are so good—be warned you can’t just eat one. They are best served while still warm alongside your favorite BBQ. Just don’t burn yourself when you pop them in your mouth rapid fire like…

Gam’s Zucchini Fritters
Yields approximately 2 dozen depending on size
Read more…

Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler

Quick and Easy Fruit CobblerGobbler of Cobbler
The fourth of July is upon us. So, let the BBQ planning begin. I gotta be honest though, there isn’t going to be much to plan. I’m going low key.

See, we just got back from a crazy (yet fun) experience back East and I just don’t have the mental capacity to put together a big party. I know we will be grilling and we will most likely watch the parade downtown. But beyond that? Not a whole lot going on…

There are some things that you must have on the Fourth. Potato Salad is one. The grilled meat of your choice is second and without fail there has to be some sort of dessert. For most that would be a pie—because nothing says Happy Fourth of July more than a pie. I like a good pie as much as the next guy, but just thinking about rolling out the dough makes me tired.

I’m going the lazy route and making a Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler. Nothing could be easier. You find your favorite fruit. You toss it with some sugar, a little thickener, throw some biscuits on top and Ta-da! Yummy, tasty dessert that took no time to make. Top it with some vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm and you’ve reached nirvana.

Peach Cobbler is probably the most common. And when peaches are in season, like right now, it can be fantastic. However, the berries that are currently available are also at peak season. And, when you run across a flat of plump sweet blackberries or a few quarts of blueberries, you have the makings of something pretty spectacular. Even better, you don’t have to choose. Mix your berries together to get a little bit of the goodness from each. Or get really wacky and throw some peaches in, too. There are no rules!

Whatever your plans for the Fourth of July holiday, I hope you get to spend some quality time with family and friends…and some cobbler.

Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler
Both tapioca flour and Instant ClearJel are good choices for thickening. They keep the fruit’s juice clear and the fruit flavor true. The resulting color and flavor is spectacular. Read more…

Avocado Toast

Avocado ToastToast of the Town
Sometimes food trends make me laugh. Recently I have been rather amused by the phenomenon known as Avocado Toast.

Why is this a thing? It’s tasty to be sure, but avocado toast is not a totally new discovery. To my knowledge, people have been spreading avocado on toast for quite some time. Is it a spoiled Californian thing? I mean we do take our immediate access to tasty avocados for granted but, really?

To be fair, what I am seeing on menus and online is not just a smear of avocado on some sourdough. There are plenty of twists and creative combinations and sprinkled with exotic herbs and spices—even some with carefully poached eggs—now that sounds super good.

No matter where you stand on the craze, avocado toast is a great option for breakfast or brunch or any time, really. So, next time you grab your favorite loaf and a ripe Haas, congratulate yourself for being a culinary visionary. And, enjoy….

Now, one might argue that you don’t need a recipe to make avocado toast, and that’s a good point! However, the basic recipe is a showcase for ingredients, so you want the best available.

Those hipster joints that sell avocado toast for $4 a slice are really selling you amazing homemade bread and great avocados. If your ambitions lie in baking your own loaf, we recommend this Hearty White Sandwich Bread or this Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread. If not, pick up a big loaf of crusty bread, perhaps from Acme Bread Company.

Avocado Toast
Here is our recipe for a basic Avocado Toast. There are countless variations, and here we  recommend a few of our favorites. Be creative! Read more…

Egg Sandwiches

Egg SandwichesChicken And The Egg
As a family, we have reached that stage where making scrambled eggs means using at least a dozen. Usually more. (I have teenage boys.)The good news is that because we have chickens, we always have fresh eggs around. Until we don’t…

If it’s 6 AM on Saturday morning and everyone is awake, chances are I am at the stove making egg sandwiches to go because we are heading to some sort of event—baseball, softball, volleyball, music. And, nothing is as portable or easy to eat in the car than an egg sandwich. This past Saturday, though, tragedy struck.

There are 5 people in our family. We had 4 eggs in the fridge. This almost never happens. With 6 chickens and a busy weekday schedule we normally have way more than we need. But, see, we have that busy weekday schedule and sometimes pancakes and eggs for dinner is the fastest way to feed a hungry crowd. Yeah, that was Wednesday night…Remember what I said about the scrambled eggs?

So while the kids were getting dressed and putting their gear together, I was pacing the kitchen floor like some expectant parent anxiously waiting for the telltale squawk from the back yard. I knew it was coming. I just needed some patience and more time which was in short supply. The girls are pretty regular layers and there is always at least one egg in the coop by the time we go to let them out in the morning. But, we were up a little earlier than normal. So, I was at the mercy of the flock clock.

Now, I get that this might weird some people out. There’s fresh and then there’s really fresh and some people are just more comfortable with a little more time distance between the chicken and the egg. I totally get it. But, I will tell you that if you ever get the chance to eat a really fresh egg you will no longer have that issue. There is that much of a difference and they are that tasty!

So, the girls came through in the end. After a rather vocal commotion in the coop, we had five sandwiches in hand, five butts in car seats heading down the highway, and a fight for the sandwich with the really fresh egg.

Egg Sandwiches
Here are two delicious version of egg sandwiches that make a fantastically quick meal. Of course, the variations are endless…you can play with the breads, cheeses, meats, veggies, and sauces. Your creativity is encouraged. Read more…