A life consumed by food. A lifetime consuming food.
I remember once as a kid my aunt and I happened upon a berry bush on our way back to her condo. We happily picked the berries and continued on our merry way, excited to eat the freebies. When we got back to her suite we carefully washed the berries making sure they were completely clean before we ate them. We tasted the first berries and immediately tossed the berries remaining in the sieve into the nearest garbage can. I can’t remember if it was because they were sour or so foul-tasting they could be poisonous. “Don’t tell your uncle about this.” she said, wanting to avoid further embarrassment.
I also remember some advice someone gave me about keeping away from berries like the plague if you were ever lost in the wilderness because so many of them are poisonous. This advice along with my previous traumatic experience has kept away from berry picking until recently. I have noticed bushes just about everywhere, including on my block, with berries that are starting to ripen. After someone told me that they had recently gone blackberry picking, I confirmed that the ones I have seen were okay to eat and decided to go picking myself.
One evening after work I armed myself with an ice cream pail, gardening gloves, and a pair of tongs. I then drove out to a secluded spot off the side of the road where a wall of blackberry bushes were dense and tall. A river ran along the opposite side of the quiet road. A little further up the road from where I parked my car was a group of people standing around, they may have been wondering what the hell I was doing.
As I approached the bushes they tempted me, with handfuls of berries held in their outstretched branches. I only fell once for their trap, the razor-sharp thorns pricked my finger. Fortunately it didn’t pierce through the skin, and I had passed the initiation. As I continued picking I forgot about my audience, and it wasn’t long before the bucket filled up. I went home before it grew dark, and the ideas bloomed in my head about what to do with the berries.
My first creation was a breakfast of crepes and berries. The first crepe was trash bound, just like pancakes. The crepe was disfigured, thick, and oddly shaped. Some adjustments were needed, so I added a bit more milk to thin out the batter. Much better!
It would’ve been nice if I remembered to add the slivered almonds I had leftover from chocolate fondue. Oh well, don’t really like almonds anyways. But still, I’m sure my guest would have appreciated it.
Double Cream Blackberry-Blueberry Crepes (Serves 2-3)
In a small saucepan combine berries, sugar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer gently. Simmer for 10-15 minutes then cool the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
With a mixer cream the cream cheese then slowly pour in whipping cream to combine. Beat on medium high until the mixture becomes stiff. Add vanilla and sugar (sugar is optional) and mix until combined.
Combine flour and salt. Add flour and mix thoroughly, follow with eggs. Finally add the melted butter, whisk until combined.
Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat. Coat the pan with 1 tsp butter. Pour about 1/2 cup of the batter and swirl the skillet around to make an even, thin, and circular shape with the batter. Once the batter is dry on the surface flip the crepe and briefly warm the other side. Repeat until there is no more batter.
Fill a 1/4 section of a crepe and fold in half, and in half again so that the crepe is wedge-shaped and the cream mixture is held within the pocket of the crepe. Repeat process for each crepe.
Arrange crepes on a plate topped with berry sauce. Serve alongside berry garnish.
I have made a few adjustments to improve on my original recipe. For instance, I had let the cream cheese soften overnight, and when I mixed it with the whipping cream it had a curdled look and it didn’t hold up well inside the crepes. The addition of Vanilla should also give the whole thing a flavor boost.
I’ll have to keep a close eye on the bushes next year so I can make up for lost berry picking time. Luckily, I still have some time this year to gather more berries, and build up an arsenal of recipes. More on my creations later.