Monthly Archives: July 2011

Raspberry-Picking 101 at Boxx Berry Farm in Ferndale, WA

It’s that season again! Time for U-Pick everything… (or just about.)

As a fairly-new seasonal berry-picker I may not have the most advice to offer (though I’ve been picking blackberries since I was quite young) but Colin has been doing so for longer than I.

We went to Boxx Berry Farm (my favorite place to pick berries) to pick raspberries, my #2 berry preference, just behind blueberries. Raspberries are the easiest to pick, in my opinion, requiring little reaching or bending down/hunching over to yield the best results. They’re also super cheap; they’re a much better deal than buying berries at the store.

Berry Picking Tips:

  • Wear clothes you don’t care about; they may get stained or dirty
  • Call ahead to see if there are enough berries/make sure they’re open
  • Compare the cost of  gas for driving to picking location to in store prices from same farm
  • Go when it won’t be busy (on overcast days), even though sunny days can be more fun
  • Pick berries as close to stem as possible, discard attached stems
  • Give stems a twist if they aren’t snapping off
  • Some farms have a minimum-pick-limit; be sure you can pay for the amount you pick
  • Don’t pick overripe berries as they will get squished
  • Look high and low; don’t accidentally overlook perfect berries
  • Fill bucket only half full as to not squish berries
  • RAINYDAYGAL also has a great post on how to store your picked berries
  • Have lots of fun! Find a farm you love and return there!

The process:

The results:

With this many berries we will be making jam and raspberry bars in the near future and they will be included here of course!

Post by: Colin Diltz and Melissa Rook
Photos by: Melissa Rook and Colin Diltz


Summer Peach Iced Tea

Everyone knows the perfect summer drink is iced tea! Today, we decided to go to the store and get some peach tea in order to create our own iced tea. Because we recently went raspberry picking, we decided to add a few raspberries in the mix as well as some fresh lemon slices, to add that summery hint of lemonade flavor. We also put in one can of Sierra Mist, (free of high fructose corn syrup) to lighten the flavor and give it a little bit of fizz. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

2-6 cups of water (depending on pitcher/serving size)
one lemon, sliced
raspberries (or other summer fruit if desired)
3 teabags of your choice (we used black tea, peach flavor)
sugar (if you would like)

Recipe:

1. Boil the water on the stove (or in microwave.)

2. Pour water into pitcher. (Be careful!)

3. Place teabags in water to steep.

4. When water is room temperature, add lemons and place in fridge.

5. Remove from fridge when cold enough.

6. Remove teabags.

7. Add summer fruit.

8. Add Sierra Mist or other lemon-lime flavored carbonated drink.

9. Enjoy! You can add ice to keep it cold and you can be all fancy and garnish the glass with a lemon if you would like. 🙂

Post by: Melissa Rook
Photos by: Colin Diltz and Melissa Rook


Breakfast for Dinner: Huevos Rancheros

I always seem to have a craving for Mexican food. However, when Colin suggested huevos rancheros I was hesitant. I’ve never liked incorporating eggs into my meals other than a simple scramble for breakfast, or fried eggs alongside some toast or an English muffin. However, this turned out very well!

Ingredients:

6 eggs
6 flour tortillas
1/2 can chili
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 Tablespoon Dried ground ancho pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes
Rice a Roni Mexican Rice (optional, side dish) 

Recipe:

1. Fry all the eggs to your preference.

(Be sure to pepper the eggs)

2. Combine chili and tomatoes in a pot and cook on low heat.

3. Add the spices to the chili mixture and cook until liquidy like a sauce.

4. Cook tortillas in microwave or on stove.

5. Place tortillas on a plate, with an egg on each.

6. Drizzle with sauce and whatever other toppings you would like.

7. Plate with Rice a Roni Mexican rice, refried beans, etc.

8. Enjoy!

Post by: Melissa Rook
Pictures by: Melissa Rook and Colin Diltz


Grilled Pepperoni Pizzas

I had pizza three days in a row over the last weekend. And let me tell you, it was totally worth it. I’ve never endeavored into making pizza from scratch before, so I’m glad Colin was so enthusiastic about trying something new!

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of flour
1/2  Tablespoon sugar
1.2 Tablespoon salt
1 Teaspoon yeast
.875 cup water
1.5 Cups pizza sauce
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped onions
2/3 pound grated mozzarella cheese (or less…)
Pepperoni (or your preference of meat)
Spices for sauce: red pepper flakes, pepper,  dried cilantro, ground cayenne pepper
Your choice of toppings (we used garlic, pepperoni, mozzarella, mushrooms, you can add peppers, etc.) 


Recipe:

1. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together in a large bowl.

2. Add the water and oil and stir until dough forms a ball.

3. Wet your hand with water and work the dough into a smooth ball (IF DOUGH BECOMES STICKY, FLOUR HANDS AND BALL INSTEAD)

4. Let dough sit for about 15 minutes.

5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be soft and no longer sticky.

6. Section off dough into 5 balls, roughly the same size.

7. Coat the dough balls in olive oil and place in tray. Let sit at room temp. for 30 minutes.

8. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 3 hours. Remove dough 90 minutes prior to when you want to cook.

9. Roll out dough with rolling pin to desired size/shape.

10. Sautee your veggies and prepare your cheese, etc.

11. Combine spices in sauce and mix.

12. Place dough on grill on medium heat till it is cooked on one side. Turn the heat down low before flipping.

13. Flip dough and cover in sauce, veggies, cheese, and other toppings.

14. Enjoy your pizzas! Repeat steps for additional grilled pizzas.

Post by: Melissa Rook
Photos by: Melissa Rook and Colin Diltz


Perfect Pie Crust! (With pictures)

I may have cheated, because this is from a book. I have no claim to this recipe, but as it is the best I have come across and produces the best results I thought I would share. Summer is perfect for pies! 😀

Cut the lard into the flour.

Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is non-sticky and easily holds together.

Flour the cutting board and place the ball of dough on top.

Roll out the pie dough very thin, but not to the point of breaking.

It should be larger than the pie pan. Fold in quarters gently and place in pan.

Spread the pie crust out and spread with egg to keep golden brown. Pinch edges to desired size. Then just bake it! Be clear that with 2 crusts you want to poke holes in the top crust to allow it to vent while baking and cool down after. Otherwise, have fun making pies! (Also, if you want to bake a sweet pie you can add cinnamon to the dough.) Another option is using this crust for mini-fruit pies which you could make in a cupcake pan.

Pictures by: Melissa Rook and Colin Diltz
Post by: Melissa Rook


Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is more of a “fall” food but after this rainstorm:

Summer doesn’t seem like summer anymore. So we went ahead and made it anyway. Colin makes the BEST pie crust ever and now I really want to bake a normal pie, like a blueberry pie because they are the best berries! Anyway, this is just a simple pie made with steak and garlic mashed potatoes. I’m going to include the pie crust recipe in this post, but you can use a pre-made crust if you would like.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds steak
salt and pepper
A splash of lemon juice
Grated Pepperjack cheese
One package of garlic mashed potatoes (or a package-sized amount if you make your own)
pie crust
(For pie crust: I wish I could site where this came from! I’m sorry. It’s the recipe I use.)
 

You can always choose to just use a pre-made crust, or your own favorite crust recipe. I will include the pie crust pictures and recipe in another post.

Recipe:

1. Make sure steak is thawed. Stick in pan over medium heat.

2. Cut into sizeable chunks and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

3. Brown steaks in a pan.

4. Cut into strips.

5. Tear strips into small, shredded pieces with your hands.

6. Make your instant, (or from scratch), garlic mashed potatoes.

7. Bake your pie crust for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Add your meat, topped with your potatoes and cheese, to the pie crust.

9. Bake until potatoes are slightly golden/crispy.

10. Enjoy!

You can also add so many other things to this, like peas, carrots, corn, gravy, bacon, etc.  Just experiment. 🙂
I never thought that I would like Shepherd’s pie but I LOVED this. I can only imagine how much I’d like it with corn and bacon (or even bacon bits to keep it simple.) I totally recommend this for those cooler summer days. And the pie crust is even better, in my opinion, when filled with fruit! Try a peach pie for something different.

Post by: Melissa Rook
Photos by: Colin Diltz and Melissa Rook


Greek yogurt chicken

This food is a grilling type of food, but for some reason it reminds me more of the fall. If the weather was nicer I’m sure we’d do more outdoor cooking, but we get by.

This chicken can be cooked on the grill or inside, in a pan. If you wanted to, I’m sure you could even bake it. Enjoy! You could even grill the whole chicken breast if that’s more your style.

We also made some side dishes to go along with our meal. We chose to go with zuchinni and cinnamon-pineapple. It was so good.

Ingredients: 

1/2 pound chicken breast (cut up)
2 Tablespoons cumin
2 containers of plain greek yogurt
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

For the Pineapple:

Cinnamon
Pineapple chunks 

Recipe:

1. Put the yogurt in the bowl.

2. Take the chicken and either cut it up or don’t, depending on your preference, then stick it in a bowl.

3. Mince the garlic.

4. Add cumin to the bowl.

5. Add the minced garlic.

6. Coat chicken in all ingredients.

7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

8. Leave in fridge for 6-12 hours.

9. Remove bowl from fridge.

10. Either skewer chunks of chicken for grilling, stick in a pan for frying, or place whole chicken breasts on grill. Scrape most of the excess yogurt off.

11. Cook thoroughly. If you want to, during this time you can also grill the zuchinni and pineapple dusted with cinammon.

12. Done! You can work through this recipe the same way with the pineapple and the zuchinni, which you cook in a pan with a little bit of oil.

Photos by: Colin Diltz and Melissa Rook
Post by: Melissa Rook


Snacking on chickpeas

I love trail mix and rice crackers, and in general all sorts of salty snack cracker/crunchy things. This, in turn, gives me the perfect opportunity to introduce chickpeas to the blog.

While watching tv on Tuesday, Colin stumbled upon a recipe for some delicious baked chickpeas on the show Five Ingredients or Less. We made these later that day and they turned out great! (But they’re also pretty spicy.) They make a great substitute for more high-calorie crunchy snacks.

Ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
A tablespoon each of cumin, ground red cayenne pepper, and paprika
A tablespoon of olive oil

(That’s it! Can you believe it??)

Recipe:

 

1. Open and drain both cans of chickpeas.

2. Remove any extra skins on the chickpeas and dry them with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a bowl, combine cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika.

4. Add the olive oil to the bowl and mix.

5. Add chickpeas to same bowl.

6. Coat chickpeas in mixture.

7. Place chickpeas on baking sheet/pizza tray/something you can stick in the oven.

8. Make sure chickpeas are spread evenly and put in oven for 10 minutes. These smell so good when they’re cooking!

9. Toss chickpeas in bowl and stick back in oven until you have achieved desired level of crispness.

10. You’re done! Enjoy this delicious snack at home, on the go, or while hiking in the outdoors.

Post by: Melissa Rook
Photos by: Colin Diltz


Pork fried rice

I love Asian food! From teriyaki to gyoza (which may be posted later this week, we’ll see) it’s one of my favorite things to eat.

When my dad worked in Seattle he used to bring me pork fried rice from Uwajimaya and comic books from Kinokuniya bookstore. So I would call this comfort food, as it reminds me of my childhood. 🙂

Ingredients:

3 large cloves garlic, minced finely
2 small heads of broccoli, chopped
1.5 large carrots, chopped
4-5 stalks of green onion (or chives, one)
3 eggs
1/2 large onion, chopped
1.5 lb of pork, chopped and seasoned with salt & pepper (you could also substitute chicken, beef, or shrimp)
1 cup of peas
rice of your choice (be sure this is done before the rest of the mixture!)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup water (1:1 ratio) 

Recipe:

1. Chop garlic, broccoli, carrots, green onions and onion.

2. Chop pork and season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until golden.

4. Add cubed pork, cook thoroughly.

5. Transfer mixture to plate or bowl.

6. In the same pan, cook the onion, carrot and broccoli on very low heat. Add peas halfway through.

7. Transfer veggies to separate bowl to rest.

8. Add the eggs to the pan, on low heat, and scramble with green onion slices.

9. Add pork and stir.

10. Add vegetables and mix.

11. Add rice and stir mixture.

12. Make soy sauce and water mixture. Stir and add.

12. Cook down until liquid is gone.

13. Enjoy!

Photos by: Colin Diltz
Post by: Melissa Rook


Seasoned Summer Steak Frites

Summer provides so many great opportunities for grilling. Even if the morning is cloudy it often clears up right around dinnertime.

This is a quick and easy meal for a summer day. 🙂

The steaks were seasoned with a dry-rub consisting of black pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin and smoked paprika.

Then, we stuck them on the grill.

Grill marks!

After they were cooked we plated them and finished them off with store-bought fries. Yum!

What do you like to eat with your steak? How do you season it?

Post by: Melissa Rook
Photos by: Colin Diltz