Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blackberries Everywhere!!!

Over the course of the last four weeks, I have had the pleasure of purchasing some of the best blackberries I’ve ever tasted. Barry Adler, of Rainfresh Harvests in Plain City, Ohio, has delivered over 25 lbs of his wonderful blackberries. They are tart and sweet, bringing wonderful floral notes in the aftertaste, and a dense and rich body in the mouth.

The first batch he brought me (a mere 2 lbs), was our first introduction to these wonderful tidbits. I decided to do...... what else? A bruleé, of course. I took the berries and cooked them down to a syrup with some blackberry brandy, turbinado sugar, and some vanilla bean. This mixture was then, pureed, run through a chinois and added to 40% heavy cream, along with the vanilla bean.

I then, took butter, brown sugar, AP flour, and a little vanilla extract, and mixed together to form a streüsel crust. I placed this raw crust on the bottom of the bruleé dishes, and baked them blind for about 10 minutes in a 350° oven, allowed them to cool, and topped them with the bruleé custard, and baked them in a warm water bath to set the custard.

I called it “Upside-Down Blackberry Cobbler.” Most everyone has agreed, this is the best one yet. The blackberries have so much Pectin in them that the custard was set in 20 minutes, and was smooth as a baby’s bottom. The streüsel crust at the bottom gave just the perfect sweetness and crunch, and the blackberries imparted those deep, floral flavors and an almost yogurt tang. The vanilla in the custard and the crust gave the final product that “ala mode” sensation. Wonderful.

Four weeks , and about 25 lbs later, we have done almost 6 batches of the bruleé, a special blackberry martini, a blackberry-balsamic gastrique on some seared grouper, blackberry barbecue sauce on a sparerib special, as well as the frequent, sporadic snacking in the kitchen. Sadly, this Monday, I received the last of the harvest for this year. Three pounds worth of purple gold = a double batch of the best bruleé I’ve ever made. (That barbecue sauce was killer as well)

Barry at Rainfresh does an outstanding job on all the products that he grows. All hand picked that morning before delivery: Genovese Basil, Stevia, mizuna, golden grape tomatoes, as well as some of the best baby arugula I’ve ever had. His deliveries are coming to a close for the year as the chilly Ohio fall starts to creep up. Please check out his site and see for yourself what great products and organic systems he uses for this magnificent produce. His standards and values are above and beyond anybody in the state, and he deserves respect for all the work and care that goes into his business.

Notes and Randoms:

-Come out to enjoy the last of the blackberry bruleés this weekend. This will be the last until next year.

-Lease is signed and planning is under way. Tentative opening date for the #2 restaurant: April 1st.

-Good Press:

- Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread review:
- Restaurant peice:
-It's Miller Time!