Monday, July 18, 2011

A Berry Painful And Yet Somehow Delightful Weekend



Friday I headed up to Vermont to go raspberry, blueberry and cherry picking.  Man alive, I love Vermont!  I swear the entire state is just so stinkin' cute.  Or, the parts I frequent anyway.  I am pretty sure that I would make a fabulous raspberry farmer.  I mean, how hard could it be to grow a few rows of raspberries? 




Blueberry goodness!


I wore a sundress because it's summer and that's my uniform.  But I neglected to wear the most important accessory.  Sunscreen!  I seriously cannot believe that I didn't slather my arms and back up, y'all.  I am like a crazy lady when it comes to sun protection.  Seriously I am the most annoying person on the matter.  Don't even try to justify a visit to a cancer tanning bed in my presence.  Evil!  Anyway...I was just absent-minded and forgot to protect my skin.  And have been paying the severe price ever since then!




My arms, shoulders, back and back of my neck are throbbing in pain!  It was 1997 the last time I got this burned.  I hurt.  A lot.  Nearly every position hurts to some degree if for nothing else, because I am wearing clothes.  Damn society for looking down on nudity. 




I cannot believe I was such an idiot!  Ugh...




About an hour after I take two Advil, I feel a little bit better.  And standing seems to be an OK position to be in.  Plus, I am just bored watching nothing on TV.  So I made good use of my inside time (being in the heat more than necessary is so painful on my burn) by freezing all of those berries.  I never used to wash berries but according to the USDA, you are supposed to gently wash all berries except for blueberries.  Being a rule follower, I obliged.  Gently washing, gently laying on a clean but old (because berries will stain) towel to try for 30 mins, and gently placing them on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Freeze for a few hours until hard and then transfer to a freezer zip top bag.  You can use them however you please but my personal favorite is just to eat a handful straight from the freezer.  That's actually been a favorite since childhood.




Rinse, wash and repeat.  Literally.  And that pretty much describes my rockin' Saturday of pain and berry freezing.  I did actually run a few errands mid-day too but I regretted it almost immediately.  And I consoled the pup as she shivered in fear when a local festival concluded with fireworks.  Poor thing hates all boomy sounds! 

Sunday I was up early so I attempted to run a few errands that got cut short on Saturday.  Again...instant regret.  It was too hot and I was too uncomfortable.  Back in the AC at home, I decided to make my very first cherry pie.  Seeing as how this was my first for everything from picking cherries to baking them...I had to sort of wing in.  I don't own a cherry pitter.  So yeah, that process of took bloody forever.  And the kitchen looked like a murder scene when I was finished.  My left hand looked like it just committed said crime with the deep red cherry juice dripping from my hand and arm.  Yet again, no success with the gluten free pie crust.  I mean, it tastes fantastic.  I've got that down pat.  But I just cannot figure out a recipe where the dough will roll out like a regular gluten full pie dough.  I make vein attempts to roll it out, it goes to hell in a hand basket as it crumbles into pieces, and in the end I find myself mushing the little pieces into the pie plate.  Which is fine for the bottom crust as you are never going to see it.  But the top crust...pushes me to the brink every time. 




The thing is, I am a great pie baker.  Like really really great.  I have been making my own (gluten full) crust since I could stand.  I understand the chemistry behind it.  I do it by hand- not in a food processor- because that's the only way (in my not at all humble pie opinion) that one can really, truly know when the crust is complete.  I don't eat cake.  I've never really liked it.  But I LOVE pie.  So not being able to master a beautiful gluten free pie crust is personally upsetting.  I don't understand the ins and outs of all the gf flours yet to understand why they won't bind together long enough to roll out the dough. 




I thought that I could use a little star cookie cutter and just cover the top in stars.  But even that proved unsuccessful.  So in the end, it looks like a crumble topping.  But it's not.  That's actually pie dough in tiny pieces.  And a few stars in the middle.  Whatever, it tasted great and that's all that truly matters I suppose.




I made up the filling recipe as I went along so I can't really offer details on that.  But basically, I used a lot of sugar (my cherries were tart baking cherries- not the kind you buy in the grocery store to eat- though I did eat many of them because I thought they tasted fantastic), cornstarch, dash of vanilla and dash of almond extracts.  The fruit is still quite tart.  If I every do this again, I will add more sugar.  Or at least look up some sort of recipe.  But I actually loved the sweet of the crust and tart of the cherry filling so I was quite pleased with myself.

For dinner I made up a pad thai-ish recipe that was yummy but needs tweaking before I recommend it to y'all.  And for my breakfast meeting today, I made my very favorite muffin recipe.  I used mostly my gf flour blend mixed with sorghum and flax meal and soy milk though.  But that's really not important.  These are just sooo yummy!  They taste like a cinnamon roll in muffin form.  Mmmm!

So in review...I hardly left my house this weekend due to my stupidity on Friday.  But I did make good use of my time by filling my kitchen with the yummiest smells.  So it wasn't a total loss.

10 comments:

Prep in the country said...

I absolutley love cherry pie....yummmmmm. This made me hungry just looking at the picture. Oh and we had a fruit garden for years, berries are surprisingly easy to grow raspberries and strawberries ect. so give it a go and they taste so good when you've grown and picked them.

JulesTX said...

Your freshly picked fruit looks so good......

adozeneggs said...

OMG!! I WAS THERE ON FRIDAY!!
Did you go to Mad Tom's for the cherries and raspberries??
I went and got tons. I'm going back in the next couple of days!!

Lamb said...

Looks like so much fun! I love Vermont, it really is beautiful. My boyfriend grew up there and I love visiting, especially during the fall.

xo lamb loves

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Laura- shut the front door...we were both at Mad Tom on the same day and missed seeing each other?! Gah- that stinks! Next time we need to just set a date for berry picking and lunch in Manchester!

Dr. Blondie said...

I'm dying to go to Vermont--that's the only state east of the Mississippi that I haven't been to!

Your pie looks delicious, and remember that it doesn't matter how it looks as long as it tastes good, especially if you're just eating it yourself and aren't taking it anywhere fancy.

Sorry about your sunburn! Hope you're feeling better.

Prep in the country said...

I've tagged you in a post I hope you enjoy it.
Prep in the country.

REBrown said...

All of those berries (and the pie) look delicious!

I'm so jealous! We don't have anything like that around here.

Ruth said...

that is a lot of picking. I hope the sunburn is better today

Connie said...

Nothing is better than fresh raspberries and blueberries! Too bad the sun was merciless that day! Ouch!!

Your pie looks delicious!

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