Juneberries and Lemon Curd

My hands are blue, my face is sunburnt, and  there are a couple of rips in my jeans  but I have a bucketful of juneberries! This year our hillside is awash with these little beauties. The blueberry-look-a-like is so flavorful and grows wild in large sections of the great plains.  When we lived in Wyoming, they called them serviceberries and on the Canadian plains  they are known by the name saskatoons. In North Dakota, on “my side of the mountain”, we call them juneberries.  No matter what they are called, they are so much fun to pick – and eat!

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Experts say that any berry with a crown on the end is good to eat, and there is no toxic look-a-like.  That was news to me, and I am going to remember it the next time I go foraging in the woods.

Andria picked Blueberries in the Keweena Peninsula
Andria picked Blueberries in the Keweena Peninsula

 

Juneberries are in the apple family, but in recipes they more closely resemble and taste like a blueberry. The photo above shows what a blueberry looks like as compared to the juneberries in the previous photo. Blueberries are often larger and many varieties have yellow pulp.

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Lemon curd is spread over a white cake and then the top is decorated with berries. But my favorite way to eat juneberries is with lemon curd and yogurt.

SONY DSCA spoonful of yum-i-licous juneberries, lemon curd, and yogurt. Lemon curd keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or can be stored for several months in the freezer and ready to serve with all kinds of seasonal berries.

Lemon Curd

Grated zest and juice of 6 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
5 eggs, lightly beaten

Combine lemon zest, juice and sugar in a 2-quart glass measure. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring twice.  Beat eggs lightly.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of hot liquid into the beaten eggs to temper the eggs, beating constantly with an immersion blender or wire whisk. Return the  egg mixture back into hot liquid and blend well. Microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture thickens, beating with an immersion blender every 60 seconds to keep mixture from curdling. While mixture is still hot, stir in butter until melted. Allow to cool and serve over cake or yogurt with juneberries or other favorite berries.

Rosemary, Flax and Sesame Seed Crackers

Its crazy how crazy everyone is for crackers.  And it  is  crazy easy to make them, too!  Here is a really cool recipe for making your own. They go together fast in the food processor and take just minutes to roll and cut. SONY DSC   A pink salt slab is my weapon of choice for rolling out the cracker dough. The dough picks up a slight pink sea salt flavor. Flax seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and just about any other seeds make a great topping.

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Parchment paper can be used in place of the pink salt slab. You can see the little specks of seeds I added to the dough before I rolled it out, but when I use the pasta maker I add the seeds after so the dough goes through the rollers easier.

 

SONY DSC A pasta maker can be used instead of a rolling pin. If the sheets tear, either add about 2 tablespoons of additional flour or open the rollers of the pasta maker to the widest setting and then progress down to the thinnest setting.  The sheets of crackers are  ultra thin which helps make the finished product crispier.  SONY DSC The long sheets of dough are a sight to behold. I used a tiny hand roller with a crimped edge to score the sheets of dough.  A pizza cutter works just as well because after baking the crimped edges pretty much disappear. SONY DSC This shows the dough I rolled by hand and spread with seeds. Then I ran the rolling pin over the seeds and dough so the seeds are pressed into the dough. The seeds did not fall off of my dough when I transported them into the oven and also stay on the top of my baked crackers better. SONY DSCI love a wooden pizza paddle for so many things, including pulling the crackers from the oven. SONY DSCThere they are. Crackers with all kinds of crazy good (and good-for-you) seeds. SONY DSC A tin with a tight fitting lid is the perfect storage container for homemade crackers. They stay fresher and I like that they can be left in big strips and still fit in the tin.

Rosemary, Flax and Sesame Seed Crackers

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons each of flax, sesame, poppy seeds,  fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt.

Combine all ingredients except for seeds,  rosemary, and salt  in food processor. Process for 10 to 15 seconds or until dough forms a rough ball. Add 1 tablespoon of additional water at  time if needed for dough to form a ball. Roll out on a salt slab or parchment paper or feed a flattened piece of dough through a pasta maker. Cut into desired sizes. Top with seeds and rosemary. Run a rolling pin over the top of the seeds so they adhere to the dough. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes ( thin ones may bake in even less time and thick ones a little longer)  or until lightly browned. Transfer crackers to a wire rack and allow them to cool. When cool, they should be crisp. If not crisp enough or if crackers become stale, crackers can be heated at 425 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp. Store in a airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes 6 sheets of crackers or 40 medium sized crackers