I was sorry to miss posting last week, but there was a mountain range between me and my computer. I passed a delightful few days deep in the wilderness of Lake Chelan State Park – only a short drive from pizza – with my sister-in-law and our kids. The kids rainbow loomed with abandon; my oldest even made a purse. That toy may be the best thing to happen to camping with kids since the twist-off beer cap. I lounged with a Liane Moriarty book and swam a great deal. We complained about the crickets, the children and the chipmunks (guess which one of those scold at a high pitch while throwing nuts at tents). My nephew rode his scooter at breakneck speed back and forth, leaving a lot of flesh on the blacktop. My niece may have altered the ecosystem with her nonstop mud pie factory. I have nothing to report on the culinary front except that Local Myth Pizza is still fantastic – try the Garden Nouveau. Hey, there is only so much campfire cooking I am willing to do. None, to be precise.
My only concern while camping, besides getting my earplugs screwed in tight enough, was that on the west side of the state, blueckberry season was getting on without me. Blackberries are growing from the cracks in the sidewalk (mostly the invasives but some of the hesitant, marginalized indigenous) and blueberry bushes are loaded down with ripe fruit that is crying out to be transmogrified into pie. This morning I commissioned my oldest to do the picking and we made a blackberry coffee cake. It was the perfect breakfast treat; not too sweet, and loaded with plenty of fruit.
I have written about pie, and more pie in the past and I really can’t go on about it any more right now. Though I will just mention that I made a blueckberry pie a few days ago with a cream cheese and butter crust. But I’d been looking for something different to create with the these seasonal sister berries. Then I remembered one queasy late summer when I lived on a certain salad. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, my dad had a wonderful thornless blackberry bush. That was also the year he grew exceptional, crisp but pillowy butter lettuce. A salad with that lettuce, the berries, candied pecans and goat cheese cheered me through my pregnant blues. Some pregnant women glow, others sweat and cry a lot. The dressing is simple but special: olive oil, rice vinegar, a dash of salt and a few berries to give it color and sweetness. You may also need honey and pepper.
A favorite blueberry salad of mine involves berries, avocado, red onion and black pepper on a bed of arugula or mache. It is swathed in a dressing similar to the blackberry one, possibly with lemon instead of vinegar, and no crushed blueberries in it – they look creepy.
If you live where I do, enjoy blueckberry season. If not, gather whatever nature offers up, and throw it on your salad.