August 26, 2014

Blueberry Lime Layer Cake

My August video just had to be about blueberries because we recently took part in Coastal Mountain Land Trust's annual free blueberry pick at Beech Hill Preserve. And it was magical! Plus it was a good excuse to sneak in one of my favourite Amelia Curran songs, "Scattered and Small" (whose title I thought was quite fitting for a video featuring wild blueberries). The little blue jewels are indeed, quite scattered and small, but such a delight to seek out, pluck, and pop in one's mouth (or bucket, if you're a faithful picker).

It's so fun to see people of all ages come out to pick on Beech Hill, and when you look up, you see the ocean in the distance and dozens of colourful silhouettes scattered all around, hunched over their blueberry containers, deep in concentration. Because it takes a long time to hand-pick wild blueberries, it's a meditation of sorts. 

I hesitated whether to make a cake with our precious cargo, but we also just bought a big box of organic wild blueberries from our neighbours at Elderflower Farm, and this persistent idea for a blueberry lime layer cake had been floating around my thoughts for a while, insisting… I could tell it wasn't going to go away unless I buckled and made the cake.

Introductions are in order: this is a moist cake, fragrant from the addition of plenty of lime juice and zest. It's then cut into layers, and each one is slathered in whipped cream cheese icing and topped with blueberry gin compote. (Ok, the gin is optional, but it does give a lovely kick to the whole affair). I also recommend making extra cream cheese icing because if you're like me, you may be unable to refrain from devouring half the bowl before it even gets onto the cake. Yikes! 

All in all, this is a late summer dessert that is sure to please a crowd. You can find my recipe over here at PBS Food. Bon appétit!

August 13, 2014

Cucumber Dill and Yoghurt Salad

This simple salad has been one of my great summer pleasures this year. I make it all the time. 

One day I had little in the fridge other than cucumbers, yoghurt, and dill, so I threw them all together and something wonderfully fresh and tasty emerged. 

I'm since told that this salad is actually a traditional dish in Turkey, and also in Iran. It's also very similar to Greek tzaziki. You know you're onto something good when you're eating something shared across so many cultures. Basically, it boils down to this: yoghurt and cucumber are the bomb together, so just add a bit of your favourite fresh herbs and you've got yourself a cooling summer salad!

I like my version to have LOTS of crushed garlic and LOTS of dill. And in my opinion, the yoghurt has to be full-fat whole milk yoghurt, as creamy as you can get it or make it. My yoghurt of choice is the unbelievably thick Greek Yoghurt made by our friends at The Milkhouse here in Maine. 

To read more about my obsession with whole milk yoghurt and get the recipe for this salad, go to my post on PBS Food. Bon appétit!

July 28, 2014

Daylily Fritters

Shh, don't tell anyone, but there's a little song that goes off inside my head when I'm eating flowers. It's the flower eating song! I like this song… as you may have noticed from my posts on Rose Petal Coconut Semifreddo, Dandelion Marmalade, and Lilac Scones.

I think it's the same song I used to sing when I was little and building elf castles in the woods. It's the song of magical things.

The first time someone told me daylilies are edible, I had a mini epiphany. I remember carefully chewing on the petals, taking in their flavour and marvelling that this common flower can not only be admired for its majestic beauty, but also eaten. (Possibly imparting magical flower kingdom superpowers… just possibly.) 

The petals are delicious in salads and you can eat the young shoots of the plant, and even boil the tubers like potatoes! (I haven't tried those yet.)

But what I want to tell you about today are the buds… oh the buds. As delicious as asparagus, in my opinion. I love to sauté them in a little butter and garlic or make frittatas with them.

But dipped in an apple cider batter and deep-fried like this, they are a real treat. 

Daylilies are so-called because they bloom for only one day. Hence why I was able to easily capture the blooming time lapses in this recipe video (waking up with the sunrise in order to catch them unfurling their elegant petals). And also hence why I feel a little less guilty, stealing future flowers, and taking some of the bees' food away from them. They are a prolific flower. But as with most wild foraging, it's good practice to pick sparingly, and not leave too visible of a dent or sign of your passage. 

But if your backyard is bursting at the seams with daylilies, I'd say you can go to town. Have a daylily feast.

But before you go to town, a word of caution: daylilies are not actually "true lilies" and some true lilies (which grow from bulbs rather than a tuber) such as Easter lilies are toxic for humans (and animals too). So be sure you've properly identified the daylily. And as with any wild food you've never tasted before, it's a good idea to start with a tiny taste, and see if you have an adverse reaction such as an allergy or upset stomach.

I highly recommend eating these daylily fritters as a summertime campfire treat. You may even be able to forage for them around your camping site.

Whichever way you chose to prepare them, I hope you'll have a little taste and enjoy one of summertime's unusual culinary gifts.

To get my recipe for easy apple cider (or beer) battered daylily bud fritters, catch my post on PBS Food.

Bon appétit!