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Rhubarb Sour Cream Drop Scones

This was a weekend I felt like baking for people. Even before things began to happen, I woke up on Saturday morning wanting to make something for the farmers we were going to pick up our CSA share from, so I turned on the oven without knowing what I was going to make.

Rhubarb Sour Cream Drop Scones

I didn’t want to default to my usual scones. I pondered muffins. I confess I’m one of those people who enjoys the muffin top more than its stump. I had a tub of sour cream that needed using and some pinkie-thin rhubarb that’s perfect for breakfasty things, and so I started mixing a batch of muffins, changing course halfway through when I decided to give drop scones a go again.

Rhubarb Sour Cream Drop Scones
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Biera 3

This post was sponsored by Travel Alberta-thanks for helping me share the things I love about my home province.

There are so many good things to eat in Edmonton these days, I can’t keep up with it all. We went for the weekend, and it’s never enough time. One of these days I’m going to schedule an eating week and call it work. Who’s with me? Edmonton food crawl? We could wear stretchy pants and explore by bike?

Ritchie Market

First, I have to tell you (if you don’t know already) about a new multi-tenant eating spot similar to the Simmons Building in Calgary – Ritchie Market houses Transcend Coffee, Acme Meat Market, Blind Enthusiasm Brewing and Biera, a great new restaurant that focuses on pairing food with beer. (And yet I wouldn’t quite call it a brew pub.) Chef Christine Sandford is at the helm in the kitchen-we met her last year when she made us sourdough pizza and baby corn in the cobb oven on a nearby farm.

Biera 1

We snuck in for bar snacks-peppery radishes with salty chicken skin and canola aioli, canola-crisped sourdough nuggets with foamy Alpindon cheese + BC sumac, crispy ferns w ramp aioli, kohlrabi with queso fresco + sunflower shoots. Such interesting, delicious, creative uses of prairie ingredients, with beer brewed onsite to wash it all down. Can’t wait to go back for dinner.

Biera 2

Speaking of food that goes well with drinks, I’m an enormous superfan of Corso 32 and its 30 seat bar next door, Bar Bricco. Everything they serve is amazing, but the Egg Yolk Raviolo at Bar Bricco is truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten – I’d seek it out any day, and argue it’s worth driving to Edmonton for. (Apologies for not having a photo-my last raviolo experience was with a group who dove in instantly upon its arrival at the back of the dimly lit bar.)

Uccellino 2

Chef/owner Daniel Costa has since added a third eatery on the other side, Uccellino [oo-che-LEE-no], which is every bit as good as the other two. They’re tiny, long spaces and each opens at 5, so my habit when I’m in town is to go to one of the three right at 5 (it’s tough to get in), or to try to stop in later for a drink and a nibble (or an entire raviolo) if I haven’t already eaten too much elsewhere and I manage to talk myself out of going to bed.

Uccellino 1
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Bourbon Blueberry Crisp

Much of the time, I’d choose a fruit crisp over pie. Not only because it’s so quick to make (and I’m so often the one making it) and because measurements don’t need the same precision, and there’s no worry over whether or not you’ll be able to extract a clean slice, but because I love sweet-tart, juicy fruit, particularly berries and stone fruits, and especially topped with a rubble of butter and brown sugar. It’s the ideal vehicle for vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, which I am an enormous fan of.

Blueberries in box
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Red jam

Having acquired a stunning loaf of bread that had toast written all over it, I simmered up a small pot of jam using the handfuls of berries I foraged from my sisters’ back yards (strawberries in Anne’s, raspberries in Ali’s) and the Nanking cherries I shook into my empty coffee cup between the car and our house, and a few Juliette cherries plucked at my parents’ house. I want everyone to know that making jam is not scary, and does not have to be an all day, dozens of jars process.

Red berries

Small Nanking cherries and even bigger but softer, juicier sour cherries can be tricky to handle, not quite firm enough to be pitted for pie. Typically impatient with random cherries, I usually cover them with water, bring them to a simmer and press them through a colander back into the pot to get rid of any pits. As easy as draining spaghetti, really. From here you can make syrup for waffles or cocktails, or go the jam or jelly route – I tossed in some raspberries and strawberries and added about half as much sugar as there was fruit. Measured completely by eyeball. (I rarely use any packaged pectin.) Bring it to a simmer and cook it until it turns into jam – really, that’s it. I caught most of the process on Instagram stories last night – at first the berries will look like simmering berries, then they’ll condense, the bubbles will get slower, the foam will start to disappear, and it will look like warm jam. If you want to test it, spoon some onto a cold plate and push it with your finger once it starts to cool – it should wrinkle.
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Raspberry-Saskatoon Galette - an easy, summery free-form pie

For the record, I take photos of the food I share here before we all dive into it; it’s not styled in a studio, and more often than not people are sitting around while I snap, waiting to eat it. Such was the case this evening, when a handful of family came over for pizza in the back yard. Because there are so many berries in the city right now (the benefit of breaking all records for heat and sun this year) I made a pie.

Raspberry-Saskatoon Galette 1

A galette, actually – a free-form pie you assemble and bake on a baking sheet rather than in a pie plate (although a pie plate works well too, and contains any leaks), which is one of my favourite things to do with a chunk of puff pastry. It was one of the items that got ejected from my overstuffed freezer in order to make room for the ice cream insert (priorities) – almost like it was meant to be.

Raspberry-Saskatoon Galette 5
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Blueberry Gin Jam

There are wild blueberries here in Muskoka, but they’re tiny and tedious to pick, and I miss the round, sweet highbush blueberries that had just come into season in BC before we left. We snuck away for brunch the weekend before this past one, which seems like forever ago, before heading out of town. It was early afternoon and we were hungry, and jumped straight to the fried chicken on biscuits, but they recognized we had missed an integral course and brought a tray of breakfast pastries anyway – croissants and other fancy breads, along with a pot of blueberry gin jam to spread all over everything.

Blueberry gin jam 3
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Cherry Dutch Baby

I’m such a fan of the Dutch baby. We’ve always called it a puffed pancake – an eggy batter that puffs up all dramatically in the oven, like a Yorkshire pudding. It’s been too hot to have the oven on lately, and one day when it poured rain and the temperature dropped below 20, I cranked on the oven and used a half bowl of withering cherries as an excuse to make one.

cherry dutch baby 4

You can do a lot of things with a Dutch baby, but in basic terms you can bake the fruit into it, or put it into the bowl-shaped pancake after. Putting the fruit into the bottom of the pan first creates little pockets and holes where the fruit has steamed through; the edge still domes impressively, and the bottom is all lumpy with fruit. I have a few cast iron skillets, and this is a smaller one I tend to use when it’s just for two or three – I use a ratio of 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup flour for this size, and 3 eggs, 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup flour when I use my larger 9 or 10 inch skillets. Everything else stays the same – and to be honest, I never measure my fruit, or the butter and oil I cook it with.
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Medicine Hat Riverside Park

* This post was created with the support of Travel Alberta – thanks for helping me seek out and spread the word about all the delicious things in our province!

We drove southeast to Medicine Hat just before the end of school, when we were all tired and in need of some time gazing out the window. This small town road trip thing, it’s a counterirritant. (I heard the word counterirritant recently, and have been wanting to use it.) The long (but not too long) drive, the slower pace, the new places to explore without the rush of the city. The parking meters, if any, that still take nickels and dimes, right downtown. The rivers and bridges and green spaces.

Medicine Hat bridge

We did what is starting to become our routine – checked into a hotel with a pool, and went to poke around town. And because there always seems to be a heat wave when we’re in Medicine Hat, we stopped at Swirls for ice cream on the way.

Swirls ice cream + trainMed Hat street 1
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Blueberry Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

This post was created with the support of BC Blueberries (the title was too long to add Blog Flog!) – I’m a huge fan of blueberries from our next-door neighbours and as always, any words, thoughts and photos are my own.

I’m almost overwhelmed by the possibilities once BC blueberries arrive and make their way to my kitchen. They were a few weeks late this season, and I found myself missing them – the big, plump, juicy highbush berries we always have a bowlful on the counter to nibble from at this time of year. I toss them in batters and on waffles, make cobblers and crisps, tarts and grunkles, pile them on a bowl of plain yogurt and granola, muddle them in drinks (try a small handful in a mojito) and simmer them into jam. BC is the biggest highbush blueberry region in the world, and they’re Canada’s biggest fruit export.

Blueberry ice cream 4

I always buy more than I need, squirreling some away in the freezer for later in the year. If you, like me, are stocking up on BC blueberries while they’re here, they’re easy to freeze – just dump them loose and dry into freezer containers or ziplock storage bags and toss them into the freezer. If you’re using them in batters, pies and such, add them straight from the freezer – don’t thaw them first, or they’ll release all their juices and turn your batter purple. (Not that there’s really anything wrong with that.)

Blueberries
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