August 29, 2009

Rosehip Tea

Rosehips, for those unfamiliar, are the little fruits that appear on the rosebush after the flowering is done. They start off yellow, then darken to orange and finally red, at which point they are ready for you! Those in the picture came off of the wild rose bushes behind my house.

Rosehips are, among other things, very high in vitamin C. It being flu season - and a bad one at that, with the swine flu coming my way - vitamin C is a great thing to have! Rosehips can be eaten fresh or dried. I tried both and didn't find a particularly strong taste either way.

I took my hips and set them in a cupboard to start drying. After a day or two I sliced them open and removed the seeds. The necessity of this step is debatable, but I got rid of them and dumped them in my garden. Maybe I'll get a rosebush next year! Anyway, after de-seeding them I left them alone to continue drying.

Once the hips are dried they can be stored or used whenever you like. I put them in a pot with 2 cups of water and simmered it for about half an hour. This produced a mild-tasting tea which I livened up with a bit of honey. Next time I'd like to do a blend with some other herbs. Maybe a bit of ginger or peppermint.

UPDATE 3/24/10: I'm really enjoying throwing a few dried rosehips in with a pinch of dried mint leaves and a few slivers of cinnamon. Fantastic tisane!

August 23, 2009

Molasses Crowberry Cake

Berry season makes me cook a lot! Apparently blueberries and molasses are a good combination, so I decided to use my own berries for this. I had about a cup of crowberries, a cup of bunchberries, and a few cranberries and leftover blueberries in this mix. The berries are a sweet contrast to the stronger molasses flavor - this is a definite keeper!

3/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
2 c berries
2 T flour
2 T hot water

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses

2 c flour
pinch salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

1 t baking soda
1/2 c hot water

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix the water and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, then add the berries. Simmer for five minutes. While simmering, mix the flour and water together and slowly stir into the berry mixture. Return to a boil until it thickens to a syrup-like consistency.

Blend the brown sugar, oil, and eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in molasses and set aside. Mix together the flour, salt and spices in a second bowl. In a separate cup dissolve the baking soda into the hot water. Blend the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, alternating with the water and baking soda.

Pour batter into a lightly greased square pan. Swirl in 1/2 to 3/4s of the berry mixture. Reserve the remaining berry sauce for topping. Bake for 45 minutes.

August 21, 2009

Berry Crisp

The absolute best part of fall is that it is time for berries. I have been remiss this fall for several reasons, but today was my day off work as well as one of the most gorgeous days we've had all summer. Hopefully it's not our last! So, when a friend asked if I wanted to do something, berrying was the obvious answer! So excited that I couldn't wait for her to arrive, I checked out my backyard and found a whole bunch of bunchberries which I gathered. There were crowberries and low bush cranberry, but the former were rather wimpy and the latter not quite ripe. Bunchberries it was. After my friend arrived, we headed out to Arctic Valley in search of blueberries. We didn't find many, the more accesible bushes having already been picked over (and with my friend some eight months pregnant, hiking a mountain or two was out of the question), but the crowberries and cranberries were beautiful!

Now, you don't need to go pick your own berries to make a crisp, but it does taste better. Use any berries you'd like for this recipe. I had a lot of tart berries, so if you go with a sweeter mix you might want to reduce the sugar.

2 c berries
2 t sugar
1/2 c oats
1/4 c brown sugar
2 t chai spice blend
1 t sugar
pinch salt
3 T cold butter

Preheat oven to 375. Toss the berries in the 2 t of sugar. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, chai spice, salt, and remaining sugar. Mix, then cut the butter in to form a crumb topping. Grease four small ramekins. Spoon berries into the ramekins, then top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is browned.


Akutaq (a-goo-duk) is what people commonly refer to as "eskimo ice cream." Traditionally, it was made with lard rendered from animal fat, sometimes fish, and berries. I decided that, for my first ever akutaq, I'd better go a bit more modern. It sounds weird, but it really is tasty!

2 c berries (if frozen, no need to thaw!)
1/2 c crisco
1/2 c sugar

Whip the crisco and sugar until fluffy. Fold in the berries and refrigerate. Simple as that!

Spinach-stuffed Chicken

I'm on a bit of a spinach kick. Made this one a while ago, but I've been lazy and only just got around to getting pictures off of my camera. Hopefully I remember how I made it!

1 chicken breast
1 c baby spinach
1 T sweet mustard (honey, etc. I use the mustard-based house dressing from Melting Pot)
1/4 c grated parmesean and asiago cheese
salt, pepper, garlic

Puree the spinach and mustard in a food processor. Stir in the grated cheese and set aside. Rub the outside of the chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic. Slice a pocket into the breast and stuff with the spinach blend. Heat a lightly oiled skillet. Once it is hot, add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.

August 6, 2009

Chicken Spinach Gorgonzola Soup

This is my attempt at recreating a soup I had while visiting the family back in Connecticut. I fell in love with the silky texture and delicious flavors and decided that I couldn't live without it! This first attempt is fairly close to my memory of the original, though not precisely accurate. Next time I think I'll reduce the cheese slightly and find another way to thicken the broth. All measurements are approximate.

1 chicken breast
2 c chicken broth
1/2 c frozen spinach
8 oz crumbled gorgonzola
3 T tawny port

Boil the chicken in the broth until cooked through. Shred with a fork and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until cheese is melted and flavors meld.