Recipe Column: Celebrating the jewel of the berries
All I could see of my dog was the black tip of his tail sticking out of the brush. The fact that he’s only about six inches high didn’t help matters, but I wouldn’t have even noticed his tail-tip, except the bushes were moving in a quivering, shaking manner that caught my attention. Puzzled, I parted the vegetation and caught Homey, red handed, (or pawed in this case) delicately biting off the wild ripe red raspberries that are within his tie-out leash range.
‘He’s not such a dumb dog,’ I thought to myself, smiling. And then I knelt down beside him and picked a healthy handful, and brought them inside to sprinkle over my cereal.
I’ve always considered the raspberry the jewel of berries. They even look like little rubies with their deep red color and sweet aroma filling the air. The berry patch Homey was raiding is a wild one, and it conveniently grows close to the perimeter of my house. In other years I have picked a handful here and there, but this year the berries are profuse-even enough to make a batch a jam.
A few evenings ago I couldn’t resist wandering a little farther into the woods, and there I found a huge patch. While across the state apple and cherries crops are suffering because of the exceptionally warm spring we had this year, red raspberries, at least around my house, are flourishing. Some are even as big as my thumb tip, and filling a container is easy.
I was doing just that and I found my mind wandering back to when I was a kid and my sisters and brother all went berry picking. Mom would always make a batch of jam or some dessert for dinner. Anything made with this berry was a treat to us, and I can personally attest to the fact that opening a jar of homemade raspberry preserves when the snow is blowing and the temperatures are plummeting is a joy beyond compare.
Because raspberries have always been a favorite of mine, over the years I’ve saved many recipes to use them in. Seems like when you do make a recipe containing raspberries, oohs and aahs are profuse, and my favorite of these three are the Raspberry-Lemon Bars. I like bringing them to summer potlucks and get-togethers. They don’t last long.
And since this crop is coming into its own right now, I’ve been diligently picking a pint or two of berries every night when I come home after work. I’m thinking I’m going to make some jam, and then put some away in the freezer. I do bemoan the fact that the berry season is so short, though. You have to work fast to get a supply before they fade away, or in my case, before Homey eats them all!
11/2 cups mashed red raspberries
1/2 cup raspberry or other vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot or onion
1/4 cup water
2 to 3 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
Few grinds black pepper
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Brush on food only for last 15 minutes of grilling. (This sauce is good with ribs, pork chops, chicken and even fish.)
Raspberry Marshmellow Delight
11/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter, melted
50 large marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 8 oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups raspberries, mashed and slightly sweetened
11/4 cups water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
6 Tbs. cornstarch
In a bowl, combine the crumbs, walnuts and butter. Press into a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degree for 10 minutes. Cool. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt marshmallows with milk, stirring often. Cool to room temperature. Fold in whipped topping; spread over crust. In a saucepan, bring raspberries, 1 cup water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil. Combine cornstarch and remaining water; stir into raspberry mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Spread over marshmallow layer. Chill until firm, about 4 hours. Yields about 12-16 servings.
11/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, cold
3/4 cup raspberry jam
11/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup icing sugar
11/2 Tbs. melted butter
11/2 Tbs. lemon juice
Combine the 11/2 cups of flour and the powdered sugar, cut in butter (using a pastry cutter or fork), until mixture is well mixed and crumbly. Press the above mixture into the bottom of a greased 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Heat the raspberry jam on low heat in the microwave until just warm. Spread the jam on the baked crust. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, the flour, and the baking powder. Add eggs and lemon juice and mix well. Carefully (using a ladle), spoon the lemon mixture over the raspberry layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. For glaze, combine the icing sugar, melted butter and lemon juice, and blend until smooth. Spread glaze over raspberry bars and let set. Cut into bars.