Life on Regal-Hill: Sept. 9, 2009

It has been wonderful here at Regal-Hill the last several days. No rain and just wonderful sunshine. It has been a long time coming but it is sure nice while it lasts even if the nights are rather cool. At least we haven’t had a frost yet.
This weather has also been great for haying. George has been busy harvesting the second cutting. He just finished getting two wagonloads on just one field. There should be at least two loads on the other field since that field is larger.
You can tell that it is beginning to feel like fall, with the rather cool nights. Maturing of vegetables and flowers has definitely begun to slow down. Just a week or so ago one needed to check the zucchini, beans and peas at least every other day to see if there were more that were ready to be picked. Now it takes several more days before you can see a change in them.
My carrots are especially nice this year. They are a variety that is the long tapered kind and I apparently planted them thinly enough so that each one had adequate room to grow. We have already enjoyed some, both raw and cooked.
I even came up with my own vegetable mix. Being I no longer have much of any one vegetable I combined zucchini since I like to pick it when it is rather small and then added some peas and carrots. I just cooked them in a little salted water until tender. They were delicious.
Some of the later maturing vegetables are ripening faster. Allegra’s pumpkins are getting quite orange so they should be ready to sell soon. The winter squashes continue to grow as well. I am looking forward to some butternut squash. There probably won’t be a lot but at least there will be enough so that serving it with chicken or ham will make the meals more delicious, colorful and interesting.
One way we increased the size of the garden this year was to dig up spots of ground on the bank behind the house and planted the zucchini, cucumbers and winter squash in those hills. Since these vegetables take up a lot of room, it did free up more room in the garden for peas, broccoli and sweet corn.
It is blackberry time once again. Blackberries are one of my favorite fruits, especially for pie. Instead of a cake for my birthday, Allegra made me a blackberry pie at my request. Last year’s berries that we had frozen were used. Now we are busy picking berries to enjoy or put in the freezer for future use. We aren’t getting as many berries this year, thanks to the bears that find them first. Blackberries are nice combined with other berries too so these recipes are worth trying as well.

Triple-Berry Crumb Pie
1-and-one-half cups all-purpose flour
1-and-one-half cups ground hazelnuts
1 cup sugar, divided
3-fourth cup cold butter
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, hazelnuts and 1-half cup sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 1-and-one-half cups crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate.
2. Place the berries in a large bowl; sprinkle with cornstarch and remaining sugar. Stir until well blended. Spoon into crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for s55-s60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly (cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent over browning if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 8 servings.
Country Woman June/July 2009

Berry Delicious Rhubarb Crisp
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3-fourth cup old-fashioned oats
1-half cup butter, melted
1-and-one-half tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-and-one-half cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-and-one-half cups sliced fresh strawberries
1-and-one-half cups fresh blackberries
1-half cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1-half cup water
Vanilla ice cream
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats butter, and 1 tsp. vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside 1 cup for topping; press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Top with rhubarb, strawberries and blackberries.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in remaining vanilla. Pour over fruit; sprinkle remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with ice cream. Yield: 9 servings.
Editor’s Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not oppress liquid out.
Country Woman June/July 2009