The bounty of a morning at the market

The morning of the first Sunday in July broke clear and bright, with a promise of heat that was not fulfilled. The sun was hot, but not searingly so, at the Sebastopol farmers market, and by midafternoon a cooling breeze had become a serious wind. Fog beckoned from the rim of trees along the skyline west of my home and I understood, with more than a little gratitude, that the predicted heat — the mid-90s, we had been warned — would not materialize.

Aromas of summer wafted throughout the market, with the perfume of lavender giving way to the sweet tang of basil (it's time for pesto!) and the sultry scent of sizzling chorizo. Blueberries filled the tables of the Sebastopol Berry Farm; several stands — Orchard Farms and Three Ox Farm among them — had beautiful lettuces; and The Patch of Sonoma, finally harvesting their summer crops, had a huge pile of delicious Nantes carrots, along with the first Romano beans and Blue Lake green beans I've seen this year.

Garlic was everywhere. Tomatoes are just two weeks away, I was told.

Back home, as I trimmed the tops — chickens love them — from three bunches of carrots and arranged my other purchases, the glow from the market experience remained. It lingers still, as I cook my way through the day's bounty.

Chilled fruit soup is a great way to either begin or end a meal during the summer, especially when the weather is hot. I love this soup served with a main course of rare duck breast. Be sure to taste the soup over and over until it is perfectly balanced; blueberries can vary a great deal in sweetness and so it is impossible to give a precise measurement. Burrata is widely available these days — I get it at Traverso's in Santa Rosa — but if you have a lot of blueberries but no burrata, you can add good whole milk plain yogurt instead.

Chilled Blueberry Soup with Burrata

Makes 4 servings

4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed

1 cardamom pod, lightly crushed

2 whole cloves

5 white peppercorns

— Kosher salt

— Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup dry red wine (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah or zinfandel)

— Sugar, as needed

8 ounces burrata

— White pepper in a mill

10 to 12 very fresh mint leaves or very fresh basil leaves, cut in very thin julienne

Put the blueberries, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, a generous pinch of salt, lemon zest and wine in a nonreactive saucepan, add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer gently until the berries are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.

Pass the soup through a food mill or fine sieve into a clean bowl; discard the spices that are left behind.

Taste the puree and if it is flat or sour, return it to a clean saucepan set over low heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar; taste and remove from the heat if balanced. If it is still flat or sour, continue to add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, and stir until the sugar dissolves. When the flavor of the blueberries has blossomed fully, remove the pan from the heat. (If the soup is flavorful enough without sugar, simply skip this step.)

Transfer the soup to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

To serve, ladle into soup plates. Cut the burrata into four pieces and add to the soup, setting it in the middle of the plate. Season with a little salt and a turn or two or white pepper, scatter the mint or basil over the top and serve.

Blueberries and chicken livers are wonderful together; their earthy flavors resonate beautifully. When you add spinach wilted by the warm dressing, bacon and perfectly poached farm eggs, you have a delicious main course perfect for lunch, brunch or dinner on a warm summer night.

Warm Chicken Liver Salad with Poached Eggs, Blueberries and Bacon

Makes 4 servings

6 cups young spinach leaves, rinsed and dried

— Kosher salt

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 to 4 bacon slices, preferably dry-cured

1 shallot, minced

8 ounces chicken livers, trimmed and each liver cut into 4 pieces

— Black pepper in a mill

? teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons blueberry vinegar, sherry vinegar or cabernet sauvignon vinegar

4 large eggs, as fresh as possible

— Extra virgin olive oil

Put the spinach into a medium mixing bowl, sprinkle lightly with salt and divide among four serving bowls or plates. Set aside.

Fill a 10-inch-wide saucepan with 3 inches of water, add the white vinegar and set over medium heat.

Fry the bacon in a medium saute pan until it is crisp; transfer the cooked bacon to absorbent paper to drain. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the bacon fat and return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallot and saut?until soft and fragrant, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Crumble or chop the bacon; set it aside.

Increase the heat to high, add the chicken livers and saut?for 90 seconds. Season with salt, several turns of black pepper and the ground cloves. Toss quickly and saut?90 seconds more.

Working quickly, use a slotted spoon to divide the livers among the servings, scattering them on top of spinach. Scatter the crumbled bacon over the salads.

Increase the heat under the 10-inch saucepan to high.

Return the saut?pan to medium heat, add the blueberries and the vinegar and saut?for 2 to 3 minutes, until the blueberries are heated through and the pan drippings hot and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Carefully break the eggs, one at a time, into the boiling water; be sure to hold the egg close to the surface of the water as you tip it in. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for exactly 3 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs, one at a time, from the water; set an egg on each salad.

Taste the blueberries and sauce and, if needed, heat through; if the sauce is too tart, add a tablespoon of olive oil and correct for salt and pepper. Spoon the blueberries and sauce over each salad and serve immediately.

Blueberry chutney is a wonderful condiment with duck, venison, bison, buffalo and goat. It is also good with whole milk yogurt, fresh ricotta, mozzarella fresca, grilled polenta and rice pudding, especially if you prefer your sweets with a kick of heat and spice, as I do.

Blueberry Chutney

Makes about 4 cups

4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed

2 ripe pears, preferably Comice, peeled, cored and diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 or 2 serranos, stemmed, seeded and cut into very thing julienne

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

?t easpoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

— Pinch of ground cinnamon

— Pinch of ground cayenne

3/4 cup best-quality red wine vinegar, such as B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Vinegar

Put the blueberries and pears into a medium heavy saucepan, add the onion, serranos, ginger, sugar, salt, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir gently.

Add the vinegar, set over medium heat and stir continuously until the liquid boils.

Reduce the heat to very low and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, transfer to glass jars and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at

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