Save Room for Willamette Valley Pie

No holiday meal is complete without pie. But making pie might mean more work and clean-up in a kitchen that’s already limited in counter and oven space. You could buy grocery store pies, but you’d end up with unfamiliar ingredients and unnecessary additives when you could have had a pie made from local ingredients you would have used yourself. Willamette Valley Pie Company sets high standards, making it an easy choice to buy locally made pie. Not only are their pies visually appealing and delicious, you can feel good about serving a pie packed with locally grown berries from the Willamette Valley and… See More

The Empress Plum Crumble Tart

Fall baking is so darn satisfying, don’t you think? We can say goodbye to summer heat and think about turning on the oven again. Bonus: The house gets filled with all the warm fragrances of Fall, like cinnamon, allspice and cloves. This week I spied a box of Italian plums at one of my local farmers market stands and it brought back fond memories of weekly trips to the farmers market when the San Francisco Bay Area was home. These little beauties were commonly found in late summer and early fall. The Empress plum, commonly known as Italian “prune” plums, is really quite a perfect fruit for baking…. See More

What Mom Never Told You About Figs

If you don’t give a fig about figs, you may not have indulged in fresh ones or gotten the fig life lesson from your mom. A perfectly ripe Black Mission is a far cry from a Fig Newton. The dark leathery skin and tender flesh surround their crunchy seeds/ for a textural trifecta unmatched in the edible world. So for a few months a year, make it your mission to find figs at the market (or, if you’re lucky, a nearby backyard). Originating in the Mediterranean, figs are one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops. In some circles they’re considered the cause of man’s… See More

DIY Holiday Gifts: Dehydrated Fruit Jars

Looking for a fun and easy holiday gift that you can whip up in just a few hours?  Avoid the traffic mayhem and try dehydrating fruit from your local farmer’s market this holiday season. Wrapping up dehydrated fruit is a gift that friends and family will know comes straight from the heart… their health is your top priority!  Not only is this an optimal way to store fruit throughout the winter, but it’s also a convenient and healthy way to take snacks on the go; your friends and family will love the thoughtfulness that goes into a handmade gift like… See More

Pomegranates: The Juicy Contest

“How do you eat this thing?!” That’s the first question you might ask when confronted with a pomegranate. If you imagine it will be a messy affair, you might be right depending on whether your kitchen personality. But pomegranate seeds – called “arils” – are a tangy, sour-sweet treat, either eaten straight from the fruit or sprinkled on a salad, and it would be a shame to miss out on these juicy jewels for fear of staining your shirt. So, there’s quite an array of ways to extract these ruby gems. Let us know which one is going to be… See More

Easy-to-Make Freezer Jam

Forget the intimidating, time-consuming process of canning when you think about making jam this year—think Freezer Jam! This far less daunting form of preserving your summertime fruits is perhaps one of the easiest, freshest ways to go. There’s no need to cook the fruit for hours and hours, so don’t bother hauling out bulky canning equipment. All you’ll need is fruit, some sugar, a little pectin, a few containers, and you’re ready to go! The process is incredibly simple: Gather your fruits and any other ingredients you want to add, (lemon zest, for example, is a great flavor enhancer, or… See More

Peach Pecan Galette

  Makes two small galettes, so you’ll have plenty to share. Or you could halve the recipe…but why would you want to do that? Pecan Frangipane Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Ingredients 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg Directions Finely grind nuts in food processor. Mix in flour, pulsing 3-4 times. Add sugar and butter, and blend until smooth. Mix in egg. Transfer filling to small bowl. Cover and chill for at least two hours and up to two days. Pie Crust Adapted… See More

Summer of BBQ: Grilled Fruit

A great meal deserves a sugary finale, but in the summer, baking just doesn’t hold much appeal. Keep your kitchen cool as a cucumber, and your guests satisfied, by making your grill do double duty. Grilled fruit makes a wonderful and healthy dessert. Sliced pineapple, peaches, nectarines, and even bananas (grilled banana split, anyone?!) can be placed directly on the hot grill. The sugars caramelize, and the slight smoky cooking environment adds an extra layer of flavor. It doesn’t take long; two to three minutes on each side should be enough to soften the fruit and brown the sugars. Eat… See More

Cocktails Fresh From The Garden

If you’re like us and think summertime means relaxing with a cool, refreshing drink after gardening, then you’ll love the idea of combining the two by using fresh ingredients from your garden to create cocktails that will cool you down. Fresh strawberries, cucumber, mint, and basil are just a few easy-to-grow items that are perfect for backyard gardens, and all make for delicious additions to cocktail and spirit-infusion recipes. Vodka and Gin are both frontrunners in the summertime cocktail category, as both are famous for their refreshing qualities, and both can be mixed with just about anything. Try some locally… See More

Taste a Summer Harvest at Andy’s Orchard

Andy’s colorful, inviting orchard. All photos by: Samantha Clark Taste forty different varieties of cherries of all sizes, colors, and flavors, plus some stone fruits, artisan jams (like Agave Apricot and Cherry Chocolate Almond), and chocolate covered cherries. Then grab a red bucket and follow the humble and keen Andy Mariani of Andy’s Orchard to pick the ripest, freshest, and most delicious summer fruits. That’s what tour go-ers did this past Father’s Day. During the summer months, only a handful of Harvest Walks are offered, and each one features a different fruit during its peak ripeness. Andy Mariani was crowned Cherry… See More