Pardon the pun, but cooking has been on the back-burner this past month. This new grad recently started what is basically a dream job, and with August running into September, I’ve been out as often as possible like the rest of Montreal, trying to grasp at the last wisps of summer.
Perhaps grasp isn’t the right word however, because it’s hitting 30°C in the city and the long weekend at the beginning of the month felt more like July than September. What is a great plus to this weather however is that I’ve been able to shop at the market like it’s July. Strawberries and even wild blueberries are making regular appearances. A friend who organizes a local farmer’s market says that these are baies d’automne, berries that come up in the fall. I couldn’t find much information of this online, but a farmer at Atwater Market confirmed that they are indeed expecting more strawberries, up to another three weeks! I was so happy at the news that I couldn’t resist getting a huge basket this weekend. Along with a basket of peaches. And an armful of corn. If there’s one place I get out of control shopping it’s the market.
I also thought it would be a nice opportunity to share a two of my favourite berry recipes. First is Smitten Kitchen’s strawberry rhubarb pie, which was the only berry pie I’ve made so far that didn’t fall apart when I sliced it. Her secret is quick tapioca, which helps all those juices from the berries and rhubarb congeal together. If you’ve never made pie crust, fear not! It takes some planning-ahead to get the crust ready and chilled, but, oh, does it blow pre-made crusts out of the water. Plus people always think you’re a magician if you make your own pie crust these days.
The second is a mixed berry shortcake I made with the first of the Québec strawberries this year. You can use any biscuit or shortcake recipe you’d like; I use Epicurious’ buttermilk biscuits recipe. Fill with some whipped cream and berries and you have a dessert that’s juicy and messy, just like any berry dessert should be. I like folding in some lemon yogurt into my whipped cream to lighten it up and add a bit more tang. If you want to try it, I would start with a ratio of 1:3 yogurt to whipped cream.
Cheers to the last berries of summer!