Oregon is widely known for both its cultivated and wild blackberries. Here in Southern Oregon, wild blackberries can be found along roadsides, on fences, and on the banks of creeks and rivers. In some places, there are so many blackberry vines that some people consider them to be noxious weeds and try removing them completely from their property or backyards. By mid to late summer the local Southern Oregon blackberries are ripe and ready to pick. Something to consider when using blackberries in any of your favorite recipes is knowing that the cultivated berries tend to be bigger in size, are slightly sweeter and can be a bit a juicier than their wild counterparts. Whether they are cultivated or wild, blackberries are wonderfully versatile little fruits that taste simply amazing.
One of my favorite ways to use blackberries is to make a sweet and tangy blackberry vinaigrette and drizzle it on my Oregon Blackberry Salad with Beets and Carrots. My Oregon Blackberry Salad is a colorful combination of some of the best local ingredients that I can find during the hot summer months. The sweet juicy blackberries combined with the earthiness of red beets and crunchy carrots makes it a stunningly vibrant summer salad. My Oregon Blackberry Salad with Beets and Carrots is easy to make, and tastes absolutely fantastic! Enjoy! Tessa
Blackberry Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 cup fresh picked blackberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs shallots (minced)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper or to taste
1 Tbs water if needed
In a blender, add the blackberries, red wine vinegar and pulse until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water if the blackberry vinegar mixture is too thick. Remove from blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl in order to remove the seeds. Discard seed mixture. Add to olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, minced shallots, salt and pepper into the blackberry mixture to the bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Taste and correct your seasonings. Store the blackberry vinaigrette in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes 1 cup or 8 servings.
For one salad:
2 cups fresh green lettuce or your favorite greens
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup shredded beets
1 – 2 Tbs Blackberry Vinaigrette (see recipe above)
fresh cracked pepper (optional)
Assemble the lettuce on a salad plate. Arrange the shredded carrots and beets over the bed of lettuce and top with the blackberries. Drizzle with blackberry vinaigrette.
If you love hot and spicy food, you are in for a real treat. This unassuming little dish of pickled vegetables will fire up your taste buds. My Mexican Style Pickled Vegetables is a wonderful combination of marinated bright orange carrots, crunchy cauliflower and smoking hot Serrano peppers. I like to serve my Mexican Style Pickled Vegetables whenever I make homemade tacos, burritos or enchiladas.
Serrano Peppers. Use gloves when slicing these little bad boys… Also, be sure to not touch your eyes or nose after working with these peppers. Wash your hands well after working with the peppers. Trust me. You will not like what they will do to you. I made that mistake once. If you can’t handle the heat from the Serranos in the dish, you can dial it down by simply adding milder peppers instead.
My Mexican Style Pickled Vegetables is not only easy to make but vegan too. Next time you serve Mexican cuisine at your home, be sure to make a batch of these pickled vegetables to serve along side your favorite dishes. Enjoy! Tessa
1 pound carrots
1 pound cauliflower
3 Serrano peppers
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 Tbs minced garlic
Begin by washing and peeling the carrots. Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside. Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and set aside with the carrots. Trim the tops of the peppers and cut into 1/2 inch sized pieces. In a non reactive pan, add vinegar, water, sugar, bay leaves, salt and black peppercorns. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Add garlic, Serrano peppers, carrots and cauliflower. Cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to let the vegetables sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving. The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the spicier it gets. This makes a pretty good sized batch, so feel free to cut the recipe in half. Makes about a quart and a half of spicy pickled vegetables.
It’s been a while since I have posted a recipe. It’s not because I am lazy or that I have been burned out. It’s just that when I have a ton of things that need to be done, unfortunately, my website takes a back seat. My day job and chores around our home come first. Feral Kitchen unfortunately finishes second. And quite frankly, I don’t like it one bit…
Well, I’m happy to be back and the recipe that I want to share today is a simple Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup that I prepared for a few of my lunches during the work week. I packed a bowl and a half sandwich today in my lunch box, and put the other 3 servings in the freezer for lunch at a later date. My Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup is made with lentils, bacon, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and a healthy hit of cayenne pepper. It’s simple, flavorful and delicious. Enjoy! Tessa
2 – 15 ounce cans lentils
2 strips of bacon
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 quart chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and black pepper to taste
garnish with fresh green onion
Begin by rinsing and draining the lentils. Set aside. Chop the bacon and add to a large sauce pan. Over medium heat crisp the bacon and drain. Add onion and cook until opaque. Add lentils, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, cumin and coriander. Cook until the carrots and celery until they are tender. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 4 servings.
It’s late summer in Southern Oregon… The morning air is brisk and the foliage is almost ready to turn into autumn’s vibrant colors. The pear harvest here in the Rogue Valley is now in full swing and the farmers markets are filled with local produce such as pears, tomatoes, corn and melons. It won’t be long until pumpkins and winter squash fill the produce bins.
I found these Rainbow Carrots this morning at a local farmer’s market. Orange, purple and yellow. I could not pass them up… What beautiful colors! Even better, they’re organic too!
When preparing the carrots be sure to slice them into uniformly thick pieces. The reason is that they will cook consistently and near the same rate. My Guava Glazed Rainbow Carrots are similar in flavor to traditional glazed carrots but with a lovely sweet guava flavor. This colorful side dish takes about 20 minutes to make and tastes great with roasted chicken, grilled chops or a juicy steak. If you can’t find rainbow carrots feel free to use the usual orange carrots. Enjoy! Tessa
One pound carrots peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter
1/3 cup guava jelly
dash salt (or to taste)
pinch of white pepper (or to taste)
In a saucepan heat the water until boiling. Add 1/2 tsp salt and carrot slices. Cook for 5 minutes or until desired tenderness. Drain carrots. Place back on the stove. Add butter, guava jelly, salt and pepper. Cook until guava jelly has melted and the carrots are glazed. Remove from heat, place in serving dish and serve. Makes 4 servings.