Toasting Grapefruit

I remember as a little girl there always being a funky spoon or knife in our cutlery drawer and was always curious as to what it was. I would watch my mother with awe as she cut grapefruits with it. Although now I can’t entirely remember how she ate hers. I know she often ate them because it was such a promoted item on Weight Watchers but other than I don’t know if she liked them or not.

Fast forward to me in my 30s we had friends who would often bring us a cooler full of grapefruits from their tree in Arizona. With so many of these grapefruits in the house I had to get creative. I made cheesecakes. I juiced a bunch. Put cubes in salad and such but still missed just having grapefruit in the morning. I had read somewhere I don’t know where about toasting your fruit as it can caramelize the natural sugars so I took this idea on step further. I take a grapefruit, halve it and then cut it with your fancy knife sprinkle a smidge of brown sugar and/cinnamon and then I put it in our toaster over to toast. The brown sugar and grapefruit juices warm up and the fruit itself is lightly warmed. I eat it as is and usually there is a little bit of sweet warmed juice in the bottom of my bowl for me to slurp up.

If you have never had this and enjoy grapefruit or even somewhat enjoy it try it out see what you think. Oh and I keep all my grapefruit rinds in a large mason jar filled with vinegar and I just keep adding rinds after about 6 weeks the vinegar is infused with grapefruit and I use this as our household spray. Strain the vinegar off and add to a bottle with a smidge of dish soap and some water and voila homemade grapefruit scented household cleaner. Do you have any ingenious grapefruit ideas/recipes please share!

Much love,

Deanne

Wild Blueberry Pie

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So I will just say I am not a huge fan of blueberry pie. My fav’s are strawberry, wildberry or anything with chocolate. I find when you bake with blueberries something gets lost in translation. I usually make one pie each for my husband and one for my dad during berry picking season and then the rest I use for warm fruit toppings on pancakes, waffles, ice cream and/or I add to smoothies. Occasionally I will bake some into muffins but it’s very rare.

Despite the fact I don’t have a huge love of blueberry pie I absolutely love blueberry season and it’s really handy for me as it always comes round during my birthday so you can guess my birthday wish is to always go berry picking as a family. We typically pack a basket full of snacks, smear on gobs of mosquito repellent and/or even don our screen hats and head out for the day of picking and hiking. My family and I have got a few favorite spots and some years they are abundant and others years the bears beat us to them or it’s just not fruitful but we still try to visit those spots so the plants keep producing. Last year my amazing friend took me to her spot and it was plentiful. We spent one day up their with our kids and then we both went back without kids and some drinks and got caught up. The thing with berry season is you worry if you don’t pick today they will be gone tomorrow so people or me and my crazy friend dedicate alot of time during this season. I will spend hours upon hours in the bush day after day till I feel I have enough to make everyones blueberry request and still have a reasonable stash for the winter.

This winter my husband has been telling me that picking season might not happen this year as I have still yet to make him his pie. Truth be told I have been hoarding the berries from last year even though I picked lots. He also mentioned to me that I made my dad one but failed to make him one. Well thankfully his birthday was right around the corner and what a better way to redeem myself than with an extra special pie for him.

This recipe is a variation of a few different recipes mainly a mash up of a pie and a crumble. My measurements will not be exact as I like to play around and add or subtract different things depending on the occasion and time of year. You can do so much with this recipe you can sub out some of the blueberries for a different fruit, add nuts or seeds to the top, instead of the crumble top I do, you could layer with another sheet of pastry but that may or may not change your baking times. I am sure you could swap out the sugar for maple syrup or honey but I haven’t done that either as I don’t have a huge hate on for white sugar when it comes to baking. I feel that when it’s homemade it’s made with love and therefore equals healthy. Also depending on my mood I may or may not use homemade pie crust or store bought, both work great and turn out just fine. I personally feel it doesn’t matter all that much as the star is the blueberry and then the crunchy crumble on top.

Wild Blueberry Pie (sorry no photos of the process).

Preheat oven to 400F. *Once pie has been added to oven drop temp to 375F.*

Deep Dish Pie Shell: store bought or your favorite pie crust recipe.

4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen will work I sometimes add a cup or more in depending on how deep my shell is.

1 cup sugar

pinch of salt

glob of butter (tbsp or so) and it has to be butter. I have also used ghee with great results.

1/4 cup or more cornstarch

1/4 cup or more cold water *make sure your water equals your cornstarch amount*

vanilla

any spices you may like to add- I add mine usually to the crumble topping but the decision is yours.

Crumble Top:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

couple handfuls of oatmeal

1/4 cup butter- not melted

vanilla

nuts or seeds (optional) I have used crushed candied pecans, coconut and chia seeds all with great success

spices- I sprinkle cinnamon on top of the crumble after it has been put on the pie and then I also grate some maple sugar on top but experiment with the flavour you would like.

For the pie:

Put berries and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil or at least hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Add butter, salt, vanilla and any spice at this time. Mix your water and cornstarch mix first and then add to your hot berry mix and continue to stir till thickened. Add more water and cornstarch mix if it doesn’t look like it’s thickening. Once thickened set to cool.

Prepare your pie crust or take bought pie crust and put in a nice dish. I use a stoneware deep pie dish but you could use your favorite pie dish but I don’t recommend the aluminum tin the store bought comes in as sometimes while cooking it can overflow.

Prepare your crumble topping by adding all dry ingredients and butter and mashing with your hands or a fork till it resembles something coarse and crumbly. I like quite a bit of oatmeal in mine as I love oatmeal but it also gives a nice crunch to the pie.

Add your cooled berry mixture to your unbaked pie shell and top with crumble mixture. At this point I sprinkle cinnamon and maple sugar on top.

Put in preheated oven of 400F and immediately reduce temp to 375F. I am sure you could just cook at 375F it has just been something a chef I used to know always did. Cook for 40 minutes till crust is golden brown and then allow to cool on a rack.

We always eat our pies with ice cream. As I didn’t add much maple flavour or my nuts to the pie we served ours up with maple walnut ice cream. This pie should not last more than a day or two in your household. If it does never bake pie for your household again till they realize how important homemade pie is. This pie can be stored in on your counter at room temp or it can be placed in the fridge but that’s just wrong. You may be able to freeze this pie but again, wrong. This pie needs to be enjoyed and eaten asap!

I hope if you are able and near a source of blueberries this summer that you take a day and go picking. It is such a lovely summer activity to do with family and friends. Do refrain from picking right on roadways and in areas where heavy spraying has occurred. Remember when you pick who to thank for your supply of berries. Talk to the plants and tell them how they are going to feed you or your family. Be respectful and take what you need and please please don’t waste wild berries. If you can’t go out into the bush and pick wild there are some picking sites in Manitoba here. If you are from outside Manitoba try googling berry picking most provinces or states have a list of growers, what they sell and what’s in season. Also be aware of your surroundings if you are not familiar with going into the bush don’t do so by yourself. Let someone know when and where you are going and pack gear and yourself accordingly. Also very important to remember if you do go out in the bush where there are wild blueberries remember there are wild animals. And last but not least don’t ask me for my picking spots as I won’t share, sorry.

Deanne

Upcoming Markets

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven’t been around for quite sometime. Summer and I got pretty serious. But now that summer has left and the leaves are starting to fall I am starting my mad market prep. I don’t have much time to write but just wanted to pop in and share some of my upcoming markets with you. Besides these markets you can find me weekly over in Kenora at the Whitecap Pavillion. It’s an awesome farmers market that takes places every Wednesday and goes strong till the first week in October! Lots of great veggie vendors, meats, chesse, this great local company called Fifth Avenue Farms, soap from Lake of the Woods Sunrise Soap Co. and tons more. Plus if you are all stocked up on those things you should just come pop in for a bite to eat at the awesome food truck The Black Oven. Cherilee makes some of the best wood fired sourdough pizza ever using local ingredients.

Okay first up for major markets is the Manitoba Fibre Fest. Taking place this weekend, September 15 and 16 at the Red River Ex Grounds. I love this market! I have never been here as a seller but have supported it for the last 3+ years. I love everything about it. The vendors/makers, the sheep, workshops you name it it is a perfect festival for any fibre farmer or user. The other great thing about this festival is that it is very family friendly. Last year I took my boys and made sure we were there so they could watch the sheep sheering. It was great experience to see how these farmers handled their animals so quickly and carefully. My one boy thought it was funny when the sheep fell asleep while he was getting his hair cut. So now head on over to their page and see who is all attending and how to sign up for a workshop.

Do you love Etsy? I do! And I will be presenting some new fall goodies at the Etsy: Made In Canada: Manitoba Market. This market was started a few years ago by Etsy themselves as a cross Canada one day market. It was a great initiative that put the buyers in touch with the makers, local makers to boot. It put a face to the people that we buy from etsy online. I love it and I have been very fortunate to be involved with this market every year. This market is taking place on September 23 at the Victoria Inn and Conference Centre.

Well that is it for September markets so far and I will be touching base to let you know about October! I hope to see you at one or both of these markets, get out grab a friend and a coffee and come meet some local makers! To see what will be available at any of these markets you can check them out on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/manitobafibrefestival/

https://www.instagram.com/etsymarketsmb/

As well you can find me on IG  https://www.instagram.com/wildforesthandmade/

Deanne

 

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