We've been exploring our new neighborhood, and one of the things we've found is blackberries. Everywhere! We've been going out (ok, Mike has been going out- I went once) and picking blackberries. Just a few minutes of picking reaps a whole bowlful of berries. It's really wonderful to find these up here, because growing up we had a huge patch of raspberries and it was so wonderful to have fresh berries anytime you wanted!
The abundance of berries has resulted in a flurry of baking. First up, Mike baked a fresh blackberry pie. It was a chilled pie, with a graham cracker crust. As you can see, it didn't last long!
Next I made blackberry scones, which are just now cooling in the kitchen. I had planned to substitute yogurt for the heavy cream called for in the recipe, but discovered that the container I thought held yogurt actually contained jaggery, an ingredient for Indian cooking! I ended up using soy milk instead and they are just delicious. We have guests coming over the next few days, and these will be great to share with old friends.
We froze the rest of the berries and are planning many smoothies and more pies! We're planning a baked pie next, with a traditional pie crust & top crust.
The cookbook we used for both these recipes is the New Best Recipes from Cook's Illustrated. I love this book because just like the magazine, they detail all the variations they tried in order to get to the very best, most ideal recipe included in the book. It gives insight into what makes a good recipe, and has many good tips for attaining perfection in baking. Everything we've made out of this book has been absolute perfection.
I also want to make a note about the butter we've been using. We got it at the Farmer's Market yesterday and it is just incredible! Organic and local and sustainable just makes all the difference. It's so creamy, so lucious, and so flavorful. I'm in love.
In the midst of all this baking, knitting continues, although it is not very exciting. I'm working my way through the second skein for Lelah. It spends its days at the top of my brand new knitting basket.
Also flying off the needles are cupcakes, for all those August birthdays. I had high hopes of knitting everyone socks, but I only got through one pair. I turned one slightly ugly cupcake (darn you, acrylic yarn!!) into a much cuter pin cushion. And for my brother, I tried to make a slightly more manly cupcake. I tried my hand at imitating the swirls of piped on frosting. It's the vanilla frosted chocolate cupcake on the left in the photo. The cedar chest is the one made by Poppy, my great-grandfather, and is where I'm storing all my yarn.