It was on a trip to Ashland decades ago that I first enjoyed these baked eggs. We'd booked a room at the Chanticleer Inn, a charming Craftsman bungalow near downtown and the Shakespeare Festival grounds (yes, it's still there). The night before was a performance of one of the Bard's plays—not the one where some inventive but misguided director thought it would be totally cool if a lunar module descended from the rafters in the middle of the performance—and we'd walked back to the inn in the moonlight, the next morning rising to have coffee and breakfast in the quaint dining room.
Now, a dish can burrow its way into your brain for lots of reasons—a romantic setting, great company, a few too many mimosas—but this one was alluring because of its simplicity. Just butter, eggs, cream and cheese baked to a golden finish, crispy yet creamy, the yolks still oozing.
I'd begged the recipe from the innkeepers and we'd made them often in the years since, but it had been a long time since we'd pulled the stained, yellowed card out of the recipe box. Fortunately Dave was in the mood for making something besides his (perfect) version of Julia Child's cheese omelet, and I was so glad he was. This is one memory that's stood the test of time, and one we'll be enjoying for another umpteen years.
Chanticleer Baked Eggs
Great for brunch for a crowd (baked in individual ramekins) or just for one, the recipe below is an adaptation of the original from the inn. You can also add green onions, fresh chopped herbs, sautéed greens or potatoes, or chopped, cooked bacon before putting in the eggs…or just keep it simple. Come to think of it, this would be great with a breakfast salad, or for lunch or dinner!
1 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine 1 Tbsp. cream or milk 2 eggs Cheddar or other cheese(s), grated Salt and pepper, to taste
Butter a 3 1/2-oz. ramekin or custard dish. Add cream or milk. Gently crack two large, farm-fresh eggs into the ramekin. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in pre-heated 425° oven for 8-10 minutes or until white is firm and center still wiggles.
Back in my college days in the 1970s, bran muffins were lumped into the category of "hippie food" along with granola, hummus, brown rice and pretty much all whole foods.
In my grandmother's time, bran and other foods, like prunes, were used as "digestive aids," a euphemism for their laxative properties. I remember my grandmother, a ranch wife in Eastern Oregon, putting up a dozen jars of stewed prunes every winter, the little black fruits doled out in moderation lest they prove too effective at their task.
I, of course, would sneak them out of their hiding place in her fridge whenever I thought she wasn't looking, enjoying their savory sweetness and even sipping the syrup they were preserved in—with no discernible ill effect as far as my grade-school self could tell.
(I was kind of a weird kid, foodwise, preferring having a slice of pie to a frosting-slathered cake, chewing on raw rhubarb to sucking on candy and generally favoring savory to sweet. But I digress.)
After my grandmother's day, bran's laxative superpower slid easily into the "health food" arena, synchronizing nicely with the booming weight loss industry of the 1950s and 60s. One television commercial from the era advised that if you consumed bran cereal it would promote "youthful regularity," and an article on the contemporary history of bran stated that "multiple diets emerged on the scene promoting bran as either the foundation of a healthy nutrition plan, or the secret weapon for preserving a rapid weight-loss strategy."
Here at home these days, bran is a fortuitous byproduct of Dave's home-milling, a result of grinding whole wheat for his sourdough bread and then sifting it to remove some (but not all) of the bran to get the result he wants. The recipe below probably uses bran from the same sifting process—the Washington State University (WSU) Breadlab, a group of WSU researchers, are dedicated to developing better tasting, healthier, affordable grains to support small-scale organic farmers while not pricing people out of staple foods. (Read more about The Breadlab's origins.)
As for the dead-simple recipe below, apples of all stripes are available this time of year, so find a nice tart variety—we are currently in love with Ashmead's Kernel from Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale and Liberty apples from Queener Farm—and make your own applesauce, or simply core and dice one up, sauté it in a knob of butter until it's slightly tender, then mix into your muffin batter.
Applesauce Bran Muffins
From the WSU Breadlab: These apple sauce bran muffins are made with 100% unsifted Climate Blend, with a ton of extra bran added. We say it every few months, but we do not understand bran muffins that call for white flour. Our lab, along with soil scientists, plant breeders, food scientists and medical professionals, is participating in a USDA-funded Soil to Society grant to create more nutritious, affordable and accessible whole grain-based foods. From the soil to your table, we think a muffin is a good start.
1 1/2 c. any whole wheat flour 2 c. bran and germ (if you sift use that) or a good all-bran cereal 3/4 c. tart apple sauce [or sauté 1 medium-sized chopped apple in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender] Scant 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 c. milk 1 egg 1/4 c. oil
Soak bran in milk for a few minutes. Add all other ingredients. Mix by hand. Adjust moisture as needed. [We didn't need to add any more milk.] Line a muffin tin with parchment baking cups and fill with batter. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°. If needed, you can broil for last 30 seconds or so to brown the tops. [We've never needed to broil them.]
Some seasonal treats are worth waiting all year to make. Think of a tart rhubarb crisp or maybe a berry jam from the first berries of summer when the pectins are at their peak. Or nocino, a walnut liqueur made from green walnuts in the embryonic stage before they form a hard outer shell.
While plums are delightful, their cousins the Italian prunes are some of my personal favorites for preserves or desserts, and this time of year I'm bound to literally run across them on the sidewalks of my neighborhood.
A fascinating piece of local history I came across is that Oregon owes the introduction of the Italian prune to one Dr. Orlando Pleasant Shields Plummer (below right).* Other sources credit nurseryman Henderson Luelling with the introduction of the Italian prune to the state around the same time.
Plummer was a medical doctor, professor and the first dean of the medical school at Willamette University, in addition to being a telegraph operator and a fruit farmer. He was also elected to both the Portland City Council (1865-66) and the Oregon Legislative Assembly (in 1880 and 1882).
An avid horticulturist, he owned a 20-acre fruit farm in Southwest Portland, planting his first prune trees, a variety called Fellenberg, in the late 1850s. By 1927 the variety had grown in popularity to the point where there were 55,000 acres of Italian prunes growing on farms in Oregon and Clark County, Washington.
Obviously some were also planted in parking strips in my neighborhood, and their fruit makes a mighty fine cake.
Plum Upside-down Cake
For baking pan/dish: 3/4 c.butter, softened, divided 1/2 c. packed brown sugar (for buttered pan)
For cake: 2 c. fresh prunes or plums, pitted and halved 3/4 c. sugar 1 lg. egg, room temperature 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. milk
Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt 1/4 cup butter; pour into an ungreased 9-in. round baking pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange plum halves in single layer over sugar.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spoon over plums.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
* From Corning, Howard M. (1989) "Dictionary of Oregon History," Binfords & Mort Publishing, p. 199.
In the most recent Beaverton Farmers Market newsletter, Market Master Ginger Rapport waxed eloquent about the eggplants grown by one of the market vendors and included some recipes I definitely want to make.
Farmer Eric Hvidsten of Black Dirt Farm was not always in love with eggplant and explained how his opinion changed since he started growing them:
“Over the past few years, I've come to really enjoy growing eggplant," Hvidsten said. "They are absolutely gorgeous, and it's been fun exploring and experimenting with different varieties. 'Annina' is the variety that first got me hooked. Its flavor is similar to the typical Italian eggplant, but it has beautiful purple and white speckled skin that looks like marble. It looks unreal. I'm growing a long slender Japanese variety for the first time this year. It might be my favorite to cook with. Its tender skin and smaller diameter make it easy to slice into long strips or small coins. A lot of customers have recommended round Thai eggplant this year. I'm looking forward to trying these out next season.
"Growing up, I was not a fan of eggplant. Eggplant Parmesan was the main eggplant dish in our house. I found it mushy and sometimes bitter. As I've experimented with new dishes I've come to really enjoy them. (See recipes linked at bottom.)
"I think its flavor really shines when paired with Greek or Middle Eastern spices like za'atar. I've also found slicing it thin and frying it briefly before adding it to the rest of the dish keeps the eggplant from getting mushy. This discovery was a game-changer for me."
As for what it's like as to grow them, Hvidsten said, "Eggplant has grown well on my farm, but it can be a challenge. They are relatively heavy feeders—home gardeners will want to amend the soil well before planting. The big challenge growing eggplant in the PNW is that they like heat. I always grow eggplant in my hoop house. For home gardeners I recommend planting eggplant in the warmest spot available.”
About how he started Black Dirt Farm, Eric said, “I started Black Dirt Farm six years ago with the goal of growing good food for my neighbors in a way that would benefit my local community, economy, and environment. I strive to work with nature to improve the soil, control pests and diseases, and grow healthy plants. Despite the challenges, it has been a joy to grow the farm and build relationships with my customers and other growers in the area. Growing with the seasons, and working with nature gives me a wonderful sense of connection to the world around me. I am so thankful for all my customers who support the farm and help me live this dream.“
Simple Eggplant Bites
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil 2 medium-sized eggplants 4 Tbsp. flour 2 cloves garlic Dill sprigs, chopped finely, plus more for garnish 2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt or mayo
Cut eggplants into ½ inch slices. Pat dry and dip into flour.
Oil has to be very hot before frying the eggplants. Fry both sides for about 2 minutes each. In the meantime, crush garlic, mix with yogurt or mayo, and add dill. Once the eggplant is golden-brown, set on a paper towel to drain excess oil, sprinkle it with sea salt, and drizzle sauce on top. This makes a perfect quick appetizer!
This tabouli recipe, from this week's Beaverton Farmers Market newsletter, is intriguing because it calls for literally bunches of several herbs—always irresistable in my book—and also because the grain is not presoaked or cooked but simply absorbs the liquid from fresh lemon juice and oil. Try it yourself!
We are at the peak of summer which means our farms and gardens are in high gear providing us with an abundance of all the foods we love to eat. For those of us who planted herbs in the spring, this is the time of year when we need to be looking for ways to use the armfuls of fragrant leaves our plants are producing. One of our favorite ways to showcase our herbal bounty comes from none other than our own Bruce Lindner from Pony Espresso.
An accomplished cook and cookbook author, Bruce’s riff on tabouli salad is exciting because it is packed with flavor from all of the herbs he uses. Give it a try and we promise you will never make a different tabouli recipe again.
Bruce Lindner's Tabouli Recipe
Yet another recipe that I’ve taken credit for by cobbling together several others. This one is a combination of the classic Lebanese version, an Israeli version and an Iranian version, with a few extra tweaks of my own thrown in—so now I claim it as mine! This is one of those recipes that you have to sort of eyeball the measurements, but in time it’s like riding a bike.
3 c. bulgur wheat (dry; do not presoak) 1 large bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley 1 large bunch cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, you can leave it out and add additional parsley) 1 large bunch fresh mint 10-12 scallions 1/2 c. chopped fresh dill 1 small bunch fresh tarragon 2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground 10 lemons 1-2 c. olive oil 2-3 Tbsp. coarse salt Pepper to taste 1 head Romaine lettuce
Wash and dry all the herbs and the scallions, then chop them finely with a food processor, being careful not to liquify them. Scrape into a large bowl. Take two of the lemons and zest them, then add the zest to the herb mixture. Toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, and allow to cool. Then pulverize in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and add to the bowl of chopped herbs.
Juice 8 of the lemons and add to the bowl, being careful strain out any seeds.
Notice the level in the bowl where the mixture is, then slowly dribble in the olive oil until the volume has almost doubled (this may seem like a lot, but it isn’t; the dry grains will absorb most of it). Stir it all in, and then again take note of where the level of the mixture is within the bowl—you’re now going to add the dry grains of bulgur to double that.
(NOTE: Virtually every recipe for tabouli I’ve ever seen requires that you first soak the bulgur in water before using it. Don't do that! This recipe is unique because the lemon juice and olive oil soaks into the dry grains, and isn’t displaced by water in previously soaked grains. Besides, when you soak it first, it usually turns pasty after the first day—I like to live off my tabouli leftovers for a few days.)
At this point, stir the mixture together and taste for seasoning. It’s going to need a lot of salt, so stir it in now. I use around two or three tablespoons for a batch this size, but you can adjust it to your liking. Add pepper too.
Remember, as the grains absorb the liquids, they also absorb the saltiness. You might need more later. If the tabouli seems too dry, stir in the juice of another lemon or two, and add another splash of olive oil.
Put the tabouli into a covered container and refrigerate for at least two hours while the grains absorb the liquid. Once you’re ready to serve, taste again for seasoning, and adjust with more lemon juice and olive oil if necessary.
Spoon a serving into a Romaine lettuce leaf for each guest. For a little added color, sprinkle on a little paprika or sumac.
Warning: This recipe serves a small army!
NOTE: [From Kathleen] I made this recently and the flavor was stunning, though with the bulgur from the bulk aisle at the supermarket it was definitely a make-it-the-day-before type of grain salad—the bulgur was much too chewy after two hours and needed an extra few hours to absorb the olive oil and lemon juice. I ended up adding about 3/4 cup of water about an hour before serving for dinner the next day because it seemed like the grain needed some additional softening and the amounts of olive oil and lemon were already sufficient. And it really does make a lot—I'd say around two quarts, so halve it if you're not serving a crowd!
The Beaverton Farmers Market is a generous sponsor of Good Stuff NW. E-mail through the newsletter link (on the upper right of this page) if you'd like to join them in bringing more information about our food system to our community.
My neighbors Bill and Jen, as I may have mentioned before, have an amazing garden where, on a typical Portland city lot, they grow enough herbs, vegetables and even fruit to pretty much last them through the winter. They also ferment a fair amount of the onions, beets and cukes in their raised beds, as well as canning and smoking albacore and salmon.
Needless to say, I'm gratified when they ask me to babysit their garden in the summer when they're out of town, harvesting whatever looks good—which is, needless to say, just about everything.
This last week they were visiting friends in Alaska who are fishing for salmon this time of year, so I was told to help myself to the beans, zukes, tomatoes and anything else that was ripening. The costata romanesco, a ribbed zucchini, my favorite type, and another variety, the rampicante, also delicious, were putting out flowers with abandon, so I snipped a dozen of the male flowers—not the ones that eventually grow a squash but are simply a flower on a stem—and brought them home.
I had a few padron peppers that had come with my CSA share from Cully Neighborhood Farm, so stuffed squash blossoms with blistered peppers sounded like a perfect snack for a leisurely happy hour on the patio. No recipe was required, just zhuzhing some cream cheese for stuffing into the blossoms, rolling them in flour and egg, then frying in hot oil. You could make a schmear with smoked fish, too, or combine herbs, chopped hot peppers and a melty cheese—think jalapeño poppers—or any other combination that appeals at the moment.
Inspiration is what this time of year is all about, so my advice is to get creative and make the most of the season. Time's a-wastin'!
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
10-12 squash blossoms 2 oz. cream cheese 1 green onion, green parts only, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, pressed (or mashed and finely chopped) 1-2 Tbsp. parmesan, finely grated Salt 1/2 c. flour 2 eggs, whisked well 1/4 c. canola oil
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, green onion, garlic and parmesan. Salt to taste. (As noted above, you can make the stuffing with whatever soft filling suits your fancy.)
Put the flour on a plate or flat-bottomed pan (like a cake pan or wide pasta bowl). Whisk the eggs in another cake pan or wide pasta bowl.
To prepare squash blossoms, take a paring knife and make a slit from the base to the top of one side of the blossom. Open the blossom carefully in order to remove the hard yellow anther—it is edible, so this is not strictly necessary, but I'm not fond of its texture. Then, depending on the size of the blossom, use anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon to fill the base of the blossom. (It will take less than you think, and a little goes a long way.)
Fill all the blossoms, twisting the flower tops to help close the blossom, then heat the oil in a large frying pan until almost smoking (300° is the target temperature). While the oil heats, take four blossoms and roll them one at a time in the flour to coat, then roll each in the egg, then roll in the flour again. Make sure the slit in the blossom is closed so the filling won't leak out—this is why you don't want to overfill with stuffing—and place the blossoms in the hot oil. Fry until golden on one side, flip over with tongs and fry the other side. Repeat with remaining blossoms.
Grain salads are my go-to in summer when the garden lettuce has bolted in the heat but cucumbers, beans and summer squash are still going strong. They pair perfectly with grilled foods and a platter of sliced tomatoes for rave-worthy backyard entertaining, and also make a quick solution for a weeknight dinner.
In the past I've experimented with salad made with farro and frikeh (or parched green wheat), but this summer I decided to try a whole grain, organicunhulled barley from Camas Country Mill—I buy mine through the PDX Whole Grain Bakers Guild—rather than pearled or hulled barley. While it has to be soaked overnight before cooking, it definitely adds texture and a slightly nuttier taste to the finished salad.
Barley Tabbouleh with Lemony Mustard Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette: 1/2 c. olive oil 6 Tbsp. lemon juice 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp. dried oregano Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad: 2-3 c. cooked barley, either hulled or whole grain 1 c. coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves 1 c. coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley 1/2 c. finely sliced spring onions, red onion, or sweet onion 1 medium cucumber, diced (or 2 Persian cukes) Salt to taste
If using unhulled barley, soak overnight prior to cooking.
Put 8 oz. uncooked barley in the bottom of a large saucepan and cover with 2-3" of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, adding water if it gets too dry, until the barley is cooked through but still has a nice resistance when you bite into it…don't let it get mushy. (Unhulled barley will take longer than hulled barley.) Drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Transfer 2 to 3 cups, depending on how much grain you like in your tabbouleh—I like less grain, more herbs—to large mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and enough dressing to moisten. Combine and, if time allows, let it sit for an hour or so for flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature.
While the barley cooks, make the vinaigrette. Take any tightly lidded container—I often use a leftover (clean_ salsa container or glass jar—put all the ingredients into it, put on the lid and shake like the dickens over the sink in case, as once happened, the lid didn't seal as tight as I thought and I ended up dressing the kitchen instead of the salad. It can be made ahead and stores well for several days in the fridge.
This is the time of year when the fishing is good, for Oregon's fishing families and fishing communities, as well as for shoppers looking for a great deal on some of our most treasured local food. So when I saw that whole sockeye salmon was on sale at our local supermarket for a fraction of its usual price, I called and pre-ordered two fish.
I was even more excited when I found out that my fish was brought to us by Portland-based Kenai Red Fish Company, founded by father-daughter team Clint Benson and Allison Jones. Kenai Red is dedicated to responsible fishing practices and a transparent and direct supply chain starting in the waters of Alaska's Cook Inlet, to its processing plant in Ninilchik, Alaska, to its Community Supported Fishery subscribers and its retail partners.
If you're tempted to order whole fish, you can have the store filet it (usually at no charge), but be sure to ask for the head and bones to be included. After all, you're paying for them, too. There's good meat left from the fileting process that's easy to strip off the bones after they're roasted, and then the stripped bones can be dropped into a pot of water and simmered for stock. (See my guide to buying, freezing and using whole fish.)
After bagging and freezing three of the four gorgeous, deep pink filets for later in the summer, Dave claimed the last one for grilling that evening with roasted potatoes and grilled bok choy (left). I roasted the bones for a half hour at the same time as the potatoes, then stripped the meat—almost a pound!—for salmon cakes. The cooked (or any leftover) meat can also be used in salads, quiches, chowder, omelets, schmear…whatever strikes your fancy. The stock is my secret ingredient for a rich paella on the grill, and fish soups or chowders are always deepened by its presence.
The recipe for salmon cakes below is based on one from my friend Hank Shaw—who literally wrote the definitive book on catching and cooking fish in his Hook, Line and Supper—via his pal Bryan Voltaggio's recipe for Maryland crab cakes. I substituted the cooked salmon for raw, and also used David Leite's recipe for homemade Old Bay-style seasoning mix, then made a quick sriracha mayonnaise to go with it (top photo).
Alongside a simple slaw, it's definitely a keeper, and one that'll adapt for almost any fish or crab.
Sockeye Salmon Cakes
1 lb. cooked salmon 1/3 c. salted crackers like Saltines, crushed in a processor 3 green onions, finely sliced 1/4 c. mayonnaise 1 egg 1/2 tsp. sriracha or other hot sauce 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. dry mustard 1/2 c. extra crushed crackers, crushed tortilla chips or panko, for coating 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 3 Tbsp. canola oil
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for extra crushed crackers and the canola oil.
In a cake pan or other rimmed pan, mix crushed crackers (or whatever crumb coating you're using) and red pepper flakes.
Gently mold the fish mixture into small cakes about 2-3" in diameter and 1/2" high, and gently place in pan of coating mixture, patting quickly to embed the mixture and flip to coat other side.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Carefully place fish cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about four to five minutes. Flip cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about four minutes. Serve warm.
Radishes are coming on strong at the farmers' markets and in CSA shares. But just how many can you slice into salads, scatter on butter boards or scoop into a crock of creamy butter? The idea of roasting them was a revelation, one I'll be forever grateful to a long-forgotten writer for describing.
I want to like you. I really do. Your blushing cheeks, your round perfection. Your peppery bite that gives a spicy twist to every encounter.
But there's that harsh edge to you that's always held me back. Though other people can't seem to get enough of you; so I keep thinking it's me, not you. After all, it just wouldn't be spring without seeing you out in the garden, the way you reliably pop out of the soil within a couple of days of poking your seeds in the ground.
Then I heard about a way to mellow out those rough edges, even make you slightly sweet without totally losing your crisp appeal. I think we may have a future together after all. How about it?
x's and o's,
Roasted Radishes with Pasta and Radish Greens Pesto
For the roasted radishes: 2 bunches radishes Olive oil Salt Thyme sprigs
For the pesto pasta: 3 c. radish greens 1 c. Italian parsley 3 cloves garlic 1/4 c. pine nuts 1 tsp. salt 1/2-3/4 c. olive oil 1 c. parmesan, grated, plus more for sprinkling 1 lb. dried pasta
Preheat oven to 400°.
Separate greens from the radishes. Set the greens aside, rinse radishes, halving them if they're very large, and dry with a towel. Place in medium bowl and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Place in baking dish and sprinkle with salt and thyme sprigs. Roast in oven for 20-30 min. until skins are crinkled and radishes are tender when pierced with a fork.
While radishes roast, bring a pot of salted water to boil on the stove.
Rinse and dry greens. Put greens, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and salt in bowl of processor. Turn on processor and drizzle in olive oil, processing until mixture is smooth and slightly wet. Pour into medium mixing bowl and stir in cheese.
Cook pasta till al dente. Drain and mix in half of pesto or enough to generously coat pasta. Serve with roasted radishes alongside and extra parmesan for sprinkling.
The appearance of Hood strawberries marks the official beginning of summer in Oregon. While other strawberries may appear sooner, it's the Hoods that people await with bated breath, pestering farmers and greengrocers with the question of, "When???"
And no other strawberry will do for a true Oregon strawberry jam, according to devotées. The section on Hood strawberries at a website dedicated to these signature gems notes that Hoods are only available in a short window of two to three weeks at the very beginning of strawberry season.
Fans will nod in agreement upon reading that Hoods are known for their high sugar content and deep red color throughout and, when ripe, they are much softer in texture than other varieties. And, as anyone who has bought a flat of Hoods and put off using them until the next day knows, the description solemnly notes that they "need to be eaten fresh or used in jams or baking within hours of being picked."
Discovering a flat of mushy brown berries the next day is, as the Mavericks sang in 1994, a crying shame.
Hoods were officially released to fruit growers and the nursery industry on April 16, 1965, a cross between a cultivar called "US-Oreg 2315" and Puget Beauty. It was grown and selected by legendary plant breeder George F. Waldo, who was said to have transformed Oregon's berry industry with the introduction of the Hood strawberry as well as the Marionberry.
When I brought home two pints of freshly picked Hoods from Greenville Farms at the Hollywood Farmers Market, Dave, prescient as always, immediately claimed them for a batch of his justly famous strawberry sorbet. The bar for summer has been set!
Adapted from Sheila Lukins
2 pints fresh strawberries 1 1/4 c. simple syrup (recipe below) 2 Tbsp. orange juice
To make the simple syrup, in a medium saucepan combine two cups each of water and granulated sugar. Heat until just boiling, stirring occasionally. Cool.
Purée the strawberries with 1/4 cup of the simple syrup in a food processor until smooth. While the seeds of the Hood strawberry are quite small and fine to use at this point, if using other berries you may want to strain the pulp through a fine mesh sieve to get a smoother purée.
Stir in the remaining syrup and the orange juice. Transfer to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.