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Archive for August 2nd, 2009

We drove to Cedar Circle Farm, in Thetford, Vermont, this morning, to pick raspberries and blueberries.  The bushes were lush.

J picking

The best strategy for finding juicy berries, we found, was to mimic Jack’s height: crouch down, go in deep, and look up.

rasp. bush

Many of the blueberries were just getting blue.  The season is late this year, because of all the rain.  We picked three pints, though,

Cedar C. blues

and found a little nest in one of the bushes.

nest

Cedar Circle operates their self-service picking patch on the honor system.  There is a sign with the prices per pint, and a little money slot in the wall of the the shed, where pickers can deposit their bills or a check.  Jack loved watching the money disappear…

money slot

Jack's cousin, Jeremiah

Jack's cousin, Jeremiah

Now, it’s raining again, and I’ve been making buckle.  What is it that happens to blueberries when you warm them up?  They become gorgeous taste-bud luxuries.  I guess this is the season for this luxury, though, because I had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and a piece of buckle for snack.  I’d better not start thinking about dessert…

buckle

Blueberry Buckle
from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Batter
¾ c. sugar
4 tbs. butter
1 lg. egg
½ c. milk
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. blueberries

Streusel
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. salt
5 1/3 tbs. soft butter

Grease and flour a 9-inch round (or square) pan and preheat the oven to 375°.

Cream together the sugar and butter, then add the egg and mix at medium speed for 1 minute.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the milk alternately with the dry ingredients and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon, and salt.  Add the butter, mixing to make medium-sized crumbs.  Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter.

Bake the buckle for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, and cool it (in the pan) on a rack.  Serve the buckle with coffee in the morning, or with whipped cream for dessert.

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Everything was burning yesterday evening.  For the most part, in the best way.

First, I roasted the two bunches of beets–chioggia and golden–and some of the juice oozed out of the foil onto the cookie sheet.  The whole house smelled of burned beet slime.  The result of roasting, however, was delicious: warm beet salad dressed lightly with vinaigrette, sprinkled with chives, salt, and pepper, and covered with crumbled local goat cheese.

My parents’ best friends, the Ashleys, came down the steep driveway from their house for dinner.  Dad mixed martinis and mojitos (for different people–we didn’t mix).  We sat in the sun on the deck.  The tiki torches were flaming.  We snacked on corn chips and hummus, and the tender, nutty Cobb Hill cheese named Ascutney Mountain (for the Green mountain just south of here).

Ascutney chs

Along with a colorful salad made from our farmers’ market haul, we had sweet corn on the cob from Killdeer Farm, and those sausages from Hogwash Farm–Beer Bratwurst and Chorizo–which promptly caught on fire when Dad put them on the grill.  We moved them around, and the flames gave chase (it always cracks me up when baseball announcers use that phrase!).  In the end, there were some spots of char, but not too many, and the sausages were succulent.

This pyromeal was followed by a campfire, up on the hillside behind the Ashleys’ house, at their well-used fire pit.  The grown-ups nursed our drinks and constructed perfectly melted s’mores, while the boys torched marshmallows, pinecones, leftover Christmas candles, anything that would burn.

IMG_0177

IMG_0185

A good time was had by all.

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