During the summer of 2009, I ventured off to northeastern Washington, to spend a week at an educational cooking school at Quillisascut farm. It was a Slow Food Youth experience, and the week is ingrained in my memory. Myself and a dozen or so other 20-somethings came together from all over the country to spend a few days harvesting fresh produce, making delicious meals from scratch, baking bread in a wood-fired oven, milking goats, making cheese, and learning about the domestic arts in general. For me, it was paradise and the kind of experience that in an ideal world I’d like to recreate for other people on my own farm someday.
During this time of the summer when local apricots are in season and soon-to-be-gone for another year, I remember those few days at Quillisascut. That week, in addition to all of the above, I ate a lot of apricots.
The farm is located in a remote region of Washington state, hours from any major metropolis, and the experience was all about living off what the local region produces. Aside from the foraged huckleberries for breakfast, the only fruit to be had that week was apricots–and there were A LOT of them! I am a snacker by nature and in addition to apricots in our meals, I probably downed between 15 and 20 a day just in passing, because they were uber ripe and in need of being used–and I like to eat!
Prior to that experience, I had never had much of a thing for apricots. Sure, I like all fruit and I grew up with grandparents who would bring us boxes of whatever was in season from their nearby orchards. We definitely had gluts of apricots growing up, and my mom would make apricot upside down cake and jam. Yesterday, I called her and she was doing just that!
These days, since Quillisascut, I’m all into the apricot season. In the last couple weeks, I’ve had them in savory grain salads, in breakfast porridge, in these muffins, in a coming-soon vinegar concoction, and I’ve been downing them just as is–which is often the best way!
Apricot-Carrot Muffins, makes 6 large or 12 standard muffins This recipe is an update of one I posted a few years back. It is now gluten and dairy-free. Use the ripest apricots and the sweetest carrots that you can find–you will taste the difference. Feel free to use the original recipe if you have no dietary restrictions. 1 cup gluten-free flour 3/4 cup oats 1/4 cup oat flour 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 large egg 1 cup diced fresh apricots 1 cup grated carrots 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 Tbs. canola oil 3/4 cup almond milk 1. Make oat flour by grinding 1/4 cup oats in a food processor until fine. 2. Bring together the flours, oats, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside. 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, and milk. Pour into flour mixture. Give the bowl a couple of turns with a spoon and then stir in the carrots and apricots. Only stir until mixture is just incorporated. 4. Spoon evenly into muffin tins. 5. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the insides are set.