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Oregon Blackberry Salad with Beets & Carrots

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOregon Blackberry Salad with Beets and Carrots

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.

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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.

Heirloom Pineapple Tomato

Heirloom Pineapple Tomato

One of my favorite variety of tomatoes is the heirloom Pineapple Tomato.  The massive yellow fruits are juicy, sweet, and can grow up to a whopping 2 pounds each.   Every year I purchase one or two plants at the Master Gardener Fair down at the Expo in late spring.  I plant them in the garden in late May and by early August, I am in the midst of my harvest.  My tomatoes are doing quite well (so far) and the biggest one that I have picked out of my little garden this year weighed over 1 1/4 pounds.   Wow!

I have learned over the years when preparing a dish for my family, sometimes less is more… What I mean by that is when you have a spectacular ingredient to work with, don’t cover it up with other flavors, seasonings or textures, simply showcase it.  That is exactly what I did with one of my fresh picked Pineapple Tomatoes.  I sliced it, drizzled it with olive oil and added a pinch of salt.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Simply perfect.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 Heirloom Pineapple Tomato
  • olive oil to taste
  • coarse salt to taste
  • garnish with a sprig of basil

Slice tomato into 1/3 inch slices.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Garnish and serve.