Grilled Peach and Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

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I admit that I have an addiction to u-pick farms. I saw the website for Sauvie Island Farms proclaiming the availability of the first Early Red Haven peaches of the season, and I had to go and pick 8 lbs of them, which have become peach ice cream, peach-thyme bellinis, and this grilled peach salad, respectively. 

This was dinner a few nights ago, and it was a very refreshing and tasty summer salad.  It’s also a very easy salad to customize as the seasons (or your tastebuds!) change. The only recipe I really followed was for the vinaigrette. So take my salad ‘recipe’ as really just a rough outline and do with it what you will. I ended up with about half of the vinaigrette left over, so I’d say the dressing is enough for 4 large dinner salads, but the rest of the ingredients and the 1 bag of salad are enough for 2 hungry adults. I don’t have a grill (yet), so I used a grill pan over medium heat and lightly sprayed it with nonstick spray. I still got the pretty char marks on the peaches, and they came off the pan without falling apart, yay me!

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1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons chopped shallot

1 teaspoon honey

Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, shallot, and honey in blender. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

For salad:

3 small peaches

1 bag butter lettuce or your favorite salad greens

½ cup raspberries

2-3 Tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnuts (another Oregon staple! I love Freddy Guys- order online or buy in person at the PSU Farmer’s Market or several local grocery stores)

1 cup shredded roasted chicken

goat cheese, to taste

salt and pepper

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Remove from the pan and let them cool a bit while you compose your salad:

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter lettuce (5 oz bag or the assorted lettuce lovingly harvested leaf by tiny leaf that morning from your back 40 acres, if that’s your thing) and toss with some of the vinaigrette- start with a little less than half, as you can always add more but can’t as easily take away.

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Arrange the dressed lettuce on two dinner plates. Top each with a sprinkle of goat cheese, the chopped roasted hazelnuts, 1/2 cup roasted chicken, 1/2 of the grilled peaches, and 1/2 of the raspberries.

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Enjoy!

Breakfast Apricot Crisp

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Apricots were the first of the stone fruit to show up at the farmer’s market, so i’ve been happy to experiment with various incarnations of fresh apricots.  I used this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, though she had also posted it on her blog years ago. I only made a few minor changes, such as adding more almonds, some cinnamon and a little toasted wheat germ because I felt like it. It was very tasty served with yogurt for breakfast since I ran out of blueberry muffins (not sure what happened to them. :-P)

Recipe:

1 pound apricots


3 tablespoons sugar


1 tablespoon flour


½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of grated fresh nutmeg

Topping:

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons, 2 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes

6 tablespoons granulated sugar (or turbinado/ Sugar in the Raw)


1/2 cup oats


1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour)


Pinch of salt


2 Tablespoons toasted wheat germ (optional)

1/2 cup sliced roasted almonds

Prepare fruit: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pull apart apricots at their seam, remove pits, and tear them one more time into quarters, placing them in a small baking dish (one that holds two to three cups is ideal). Stir in sugar, flour, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg.

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Make topping: Combine sugar, oats, wheat germ, flour, salt and almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the 4 Tbsp of butter and work into the mixture until large clumps form.

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Sprinkle mixture over the fruit. 

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Bake for about 30 minutes and serve warm, ideally with a serving of Greek yogurt, like so:

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Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins with Streusel Topping

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Those crumbs are there because I couldn’t stop eating this muffin.

I used this recipe from Joy the Baker, though I did make a few minor modifications, such as adding more blueberries and reducing the streusel topping because I ended up with extra the first time I made the recipe.  Brown butter looks kinda ugly, but it smells (and tastes!) nutty and delicious, so I encourage you to not skip that step.  I loved this recipe so much, I went back to Sauvie Island today and picked 5 lbs more blueberries (plus 8 lbs peaches….stay tuned for their debut!) so I can make more muffins, as well as various other baked goods.  

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And so we begin:

Muffin 

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

zest from 1 medium lemon

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 cups fresh blueberries

Topping:

2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners, set aside.

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To make the muffins:  Melt butter in a small stainless steel saucepan over medium heat-if you use a dark teflon-coated pan, it will be difficult to tell when you’ve reached brown butter nirvana or yucky burnt butter hell.  Remove from heat when butter solids become a medium brown color and butter smells slightly nutty.  Immediately pour hot butter into a small bowl, or the butter will continue to cook in the hot pan.  Allow to cool slightly.

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In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, yolk, zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until combined.  Add browned butter and whisk to combine.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a medium bowl.  Add milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

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To make the topping: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and rub together with clean fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the muffin batter in cups.

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Bake muffins 18 to 20 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the pan for 15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Makes 12 Muffins.  Muffins will last, at room temperature in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.  

Marionberry Cobbler

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It’s July, which means summer has arrived in Portland! And with early summer comes the much-anticipated, scrumptious fruits that grow so prolifically here in the Pacific NW.  So what do you do after you drive to Sauvie Island with your foodie friend and you each pick 10 lbs of berries (blueberries, raspberries, and marionberries for $2 A POUND!!!) ?  If you are not from Oregon, you’re probably wondering what the heck a marionberry is: it is a native-to-Oregon type of blackberry; it is the cabernet of blackberries, if you will (I read that on wikipedia, and it made me laugh).  So if you can’t get The Cabernet of Blackberries for your cobbler, you might just pull through with some normal blackberries.

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So the raspberries that were not devoured by Mr. Portlandivore were made into a sauce, which most of will be going into an experimental raspberry-buttercream-ala-Rembrandt’s-in-Chattanooga that Mr. P was so fond of during our college days, and the rest went into a raspberry ganache, which in turn was piped into my latest batch of raspberry macarons.  

The blueberries are still awaiting their ultimate fate, though I better get to baking them before the husband finishes all 3 lbs by himself (last check the bag was less than half full 2 days later).

And that brings me to the marionberries! They were the most delicate of the three berries, so they were dispatched with posthaste. By which I mean they were made into a delectable cobbler immediately after I got home.

I used my tried-and-true favorite cobbler recipe from Martha, with only a few changes.  My marionberries were rather tart, but I thought the contrast between tart berries and sweet biscuit topping was just right (and you might as well throw on a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream while you’re at it!)  I just recommend tasting the berries before you add the cornstarch, and add more sugar to make it as sweet as you prefer.

*Butter Tip of the Day*- I cut the stick of butter into small cubes and then put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes until very cold. The reason for this is so the butter will not melt when you are working it into the flour with your hands. 

Cobbler topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup cold heavy cream

Berries:

8 cups (4 pints) marionberries (blackberries)

1/2 cup sugar (add more if berries are very tart)

4 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more if needed

zest from 1 medium lime

Sparkling sugar (or regular granulated if you don’t already have decorating sugar on hand) for dusting the top of the cobbler.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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Stir together sugar, zest and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add berries; stir gently to coat. Transfer the berries to a 9x13 baking dish (my pan was 9 1/2 x 12, and the original recipe only called for an 8x8 pan though it had 1 pint less of berries than I used, so the baking dish size isn’t as important for the outcome of a cobbler as say, it would be for a cake.)

Stir flour, baking powder, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the very cold butter, and work it into the flour with your hands (or if you insist, a pastry cutter) until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Add the heavy cream, mixing with a wooden spoon just until the dough comes together (if it’s a little sticky, it’s ok, just don’t over-mix it!  Divide dough into 9 equal pieces, and form each into a ball, then gently pat the balls into flat rounds. You can dust lightly with flour before you divide the dough if it is sticking to your hands too much.  

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Place the dough rounds evenly-spaced over top of the berries, then sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Bake until berries are bubbling in center and biscuits are golden brown (and delicious), 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack, and let cool slightly before stuffing your piehole. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.