Baking

Cranberry Baking

seven oatmeal cookies on a blue speckled plate
Oatmeal Craisin Cookies with Pecans

My afternoon bake was oatmeal cookies with sweetened craisins just purchased last week direct from the source at W.D. Zawistowski Cranberries.  This cranberry marsh is located on the corner of County E and Victory Heights Circle in Sawyer County Wisconsin.  Set back from the road, on the edge of the marsh, the small white concrete block building serves as a berry receiving and sorting center at harvest time, as well as a rudimentary farmer-to-customer sales counter. And, it is just a mile from Mom’s Lac Courte Oreilles cabin.

Cranberries grow on short evergreen shrubs and thrive in acidic marshy soil in the northern climes of our hemisphere – with Wisconsin leading harvest numbers (Go Badgers!).  At harvest time, the bogs are intentionally flooded so the lighter-than-water bright red fruit will float to the top and can be scooped or raked for collection.  This unique harvesting method, often seen in TV ads promoting cranberry juice, leads to the common misconception that cranberries grow in water.

If your only experience with cranberries is mass market sauce plopped from a can at Thanksgiving you are missing a culinary treat.  This versatile fruit provides a tasty addition to any course from appetizer to dessert.  And, while I have never planned a menu featuring cranberries in every dish, it could easily be accomplished.  I was lucky to make my craisin purchase as this year’s fresh cranberries were sold out after last week’s Stone Lake Cranberry Fest.

Baking

Summer sweets for our winter pleasure

left to right: two triangular scones, three slices of bread, five blueberry muffins on a clear plate with painted blue flowers
Rhubarb Pecan Scones, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – July 2021

The beauty and the bane of summer bounty are the kitchen hours required to transform a morning’s abundance into delicious treats.  On blue sky, temperature-perfect days just made for hours of pleasure on my screened porch knitting the 4-Day Fireworks KAL sweater, I joined the women of ages past toiling in summer kitchens.  Admittedly, my experience was far more pleasant as my work time was spent in air conditioned comfort with good tunes coming from surround sound.  Some of the tasty delights will be eaten immediately and some will be stashed in our small deep freeze to be enjoyed on frigid winter days as a talisman against the cold and a sunny reminder that spring will come, even in the North Country.

My Sunday & Monday garden-to-kitchen yield:

  • Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – two dozen regular-sized and 24 minis using  a recipe shared by Betty D. from Older Mommy Still Yummy
  • 16 Rhubarb Pecan Scones – an annual favorite from Rhubarb Renaissance by Kim Ode 
  • Two loaves of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – courtesy of Mary Ann H. and the St. Ann’s Parish Cookbook, Olmitz, Kansas; and
  • Tsatsiki – The Enchanted Broccoli Forest variety just because we have an abundance of cucumbers and it goes so well with toasted pita bread and Greek seasoned chicken-kabobs.

Bon appétit!

Baking

A Rainy Rhubarb Baking Day

Having returned from Eau Claire with a large bunch of tartness, tonight we will enjoy a freshly baked crisp, topped with newly mixed Crème fraîche and served with Rhubarb Daiquiris.  Mom’s patch is overflowing with hefty stalks, so full my harvest went undetected.  In contrast, our small cluster of thin stems barely able to support the large triangular leaves struggles.  I suspect the ginormous root system of the neighbor’s black walnut to be the unhealthy culprit.  While the tree is gone, the natural chemicals genetically designed to give this once deciduous giant an advantage, may still be contributing to unhealthy dirt.  After all – who cannot grow rhubarb?