Seattle’s Joyous Summer Sweetness

 

We all have wonderful memories of summer, and Seattle is no different.

The warmth of the glorious sun has finally arrived; everything has shed the color of grey that we live in for most of the year. But nothing reminds us more of summer than the different kinds of berries.

When summer comes, we no longer just dream of sweet strawberries, that beautiful redness of raspberries, or blueberry studded pancakes for breakfast. Western Washington is known for our berries, and fresh and local items can easily be found at the Pike Place Market, the farmers’ markets all over the city or head out to a farm where they hand you a bucket to harvest your own

Even better, there are many that just grow wild on the side of the road or in the parks where I can just pick a few to snack on as I watch the sunset!

All the vibrant colors of these berries bring me back to childhood; moments with family and friends at the berry farms. As I got older, I learned to turn these various berries into jams, into muffins, into cakes, into sauces. I really enjoy the discovery of what I can make out of them but more importantly, to be able to still enjoy these flavors months after the sun has faded back behind the grey clouds!

Here are two very simple recipes that are quick to make. These can easily be made with the implements in your vacation home, or you can use these at home to remind you of summer in Seattle! The tarts are great for picnics or dinner at home.

Seattle Blueberry Spread:

Equal amounts of blueberries and sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (optional)

Cook blueberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Mash them.

When the liquids are released, add your sugar (and lemon juice, if you are using). Bring it to a boil but constantly stir to avoid burning. It will take approximately 10 minutes.

You can also decide if it is ready based on how thick or thin you prefer your spread.

When it is cooked, pour the spread in a bowl, cover with a film wrap, and let cool completely. It is now ready to serve or refrigerate.

Please note that the 10 minutes of cook time is based on a small batch, 1-2 cups of blueberries.

Lemon-Raspberry Tarts:

1 box puff pastry shells (Pepperidge Farm ready to bake)
2 jars lemon curd
Whipped cream (optional)
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling)
White chocolate shavings (optional)
Raspberries

Follow the directions on the box on how to bake the shells. Let cool completely before filling.

I have two options on how to present this dessert:

(1) place lemon curd in a bowl and carefully (or not!) fold some of the raspberries then fill the shells, top with a little whipped cream, or

(2) fill the shells with the lemon curd but not all the way to the rim then place the raspberries on top, pressing them down slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with a some of the white chocolate shavings.

I hope this summer you will go out there and really appreciate all the wonderful berry flavors and colors.  

Seattle Foodie Tip:

For an added bonus, do not miss the golden raspberries and marionberries out there. They are great fresh, but also quite delicious in pies,with that lovely orange glow and deep dark color.

Now, what should I make next?


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