Sunday, August 1, 2010

Celebrating the Harvest

First Harvest, Lammas, Loaf Mass, Lughnasadh, Cornucopia, County Fair Time - whatever you call it, it's all about the celebration of the harvest.  This time each year over the centuries and around the northern hemisphere of planet earth, people have been finding ways to celebrate the harvest of fruits and grains, and their own hard labor.  Every culture approaches it a little differently, each with its own customs.  Bonfires, gatherings, offerings to the gods, giving formal thanks to the earth for its fruits and so much more goes into these celebrations.  Mark and I came up with our own way of celebrating, and today marked  our second annual blueberry picking "ritual", complete with picnic and other August time treats.  This year our gala event for two was held at the Mercer Slough U-pick Blueberry Farm in Bellevue - a beautiful setting filled with wildlife, blueberries and a good number of happy berry pickers.  There was even a surprise visit by a coyote. I learned today that coyotes howl over sirens just like dogs do!  It was howling and yipping just a few yards from us and was spotted by some fellow pickers!

This young robin was one of the fellow blueberry pickers present today.  I think he's giving me the territorial eye here, don't you think?  

Obviously there was enough for everyone, though.  We brought home over four pounds of blueberries.

Another berry delight was the handful of ripe blackberries we managed to find and quickly gobble down.  Only a sampling of what's to come from the wonderful month of August!

There were a few tomatoes ready for harvest today too!

And what better way to eat them than with a little fresh mozzarella and basil. Yum!

And what August outing wouldn't be complete without a little ice cream?

A large part of the Lammas/ Lughnasadh celebration is the focus on the grain harvest.  So to celebrate this aspect I baked a Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.  I had never combined rosemary with sweet before, but when I saw a recipe for this in the latest Yoga Journal Magazine, I was quite intrigued and decided to give it a try.  Boy, am I glad I did!  This recipe is a keeper!  I altered the original recipe to try and bring at least a little whole grain into it.  Here's my version:

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Oil a 10-inch loaf pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a mixer for 30 seconds on 
high speed.  Add the sugar and beat on high till very frothy and pale.
While the beaters are going, slowly drizzle the olive oil in.  
Gently fold the rosemary in.

In another bowl, blend the flours, baking powder and salt.
Gently fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then tip the cake out
onto a rack to continue cooling.  

Happy Lammas/Lughnasadh/First Harvest!


1 comment:

Fearless Nester said...

Oh it's fun to see that the blueberry and blackberry crops are the same as around here. My goodness you made me very hungry! I had to laugh at your comment about the chipmonk absconding with your entire can of nuts!! WOW! ~Lili

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