We’ve waited a long time for summer to arrive this year, but perhaps it’s the late arrival that makes these August days so extraordinarily delightful. We're surfeited with colors and smells; our windows and doors stand open to let summer blow through. Bees buzz in the flower beds, hummingbirds hover in the twinberry bushes. The 4 x 8’ box garden is overflowing with good things to eat: lettuce, basil, peas, Swiss chard, parsley. The green beans and carrots are nearly ready. Our berry patch has finished producing but local stands offer big, juicy berries of many kinds and grocery stores tempt us with peaches, nectarines, cherries and other delectables from Eastern Washington.
What a bounty of flavor, color, and taste! Today we ate blueberries and sliced bananas with our morning cereal, salad from our garden and cherries at lunch, steamed Swiss chard and corn on the cob with local salmon for dinner. For desert we sampled some of the bar cookies I made for the family reunion coming up next weekend. Rhubarb bars using our own rhubarb are a tart-sweet treat. But the bars that really made a hit with Hank are my own invention, as far as I know.
For anyone who loves the combination of chocolate and raspberries, here are the directions for Reunion Raspberry Brownies:
family size box of fudgey brownie mix
fresh raspberries, 2-3 cups
sugar, ¼ to ½ cup or to taste
2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13" pan or spray with cooking oil. Mix brownies according to package directions and spread in pan.
Mash berries and sugar together and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook a few minutes. Stir in enough of the cornstarch-water mixture to thicken to consistency of jam. Cook just until juice looks transparent, then remove from heat.
Using about a cup of the raspberry sauce, dribble it from a large spoon in vertical lines two inches apart across the batter in the pan. Then, use a spatula or knife to cut through batter and sauce going the opposite direction, in lines about two inches apart. (You can do this both vertically and horizontally to make a better mixing of sauce and batter.)
Bake as directed on package. Let cool before cutting.
Raspberry jam would work too, but we really like the flavor of the fresh berries, and the sauce is less sweet than jam would be.