Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blueberry Time

Nothing says summer to me more than the start of the blueberry season, and this year it has come early to New Jersey because of our warm weather. Not only does the blueberry herald the start of summer, it brings with it all manner of festivals throughout the state to celebrate the harvest of our official state fruit, the second most popular berry in the country.

Blueberries have been trumpeted as one of the so-called super foods, their deep blue hue tipping you off to the anti-aging and preventative qualities they may contain. Their sweet natural goodness is second to none.

So the first thing I thought of was blueberry muffins. But I was really longing for corn muffins and thought why not combine the two.

This weekend I had just bought some more blueberries and the cutest ramekins I could not resist,so blueberry crisp seemed like the perfect ending to a dinner with friends.
I used this recipe from Williams-Sonoma, adding just a pinch of salt to the topping and using the food processor instead of a pastry blender.

Enjoy this short-lived season while you can, and remember July 11 is National Blueberry Muffin Day!

Blueberry Corn Muffins

1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 vegetable oil 
1 egg, beaten
1 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

Rinse and dry blueberries and toss with about 2 T. flour so that they won't sink  to the bottom of the batter.

Combine dry ingredients in bowl.  Combine milk, oil and egg, then add to dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Gently add the blueberries to the batter.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and rap tin on counter to release any air pockets that might have formed.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Makes 12

Cook's Note:  Next time I would increase the sugar to 3/4 and perhaps add an additional egg. But they were still delicious as they were.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Fun

It has finally stopped raining in northern New Jersey, and not a minute too soon. I felt as if we had been living in Seattle, Washington instead of the Garden State. But after a pleasant Friday evening spent on the deck and having our first grilled pizza of the season, we decided we would leave early Saturday morning for our first day at the beach--or go down the shore as we say in New Jersey.

Grilled pizza with mozzarella, campari tomatoes and arugula
And what a glorious day it was.  Not a rain cloud to be seen.  Nothing but pure blue sky dotted with an occasional para-sailor or white streaks of condensation from unseen jets or those ubiquitous prop planes pulling their advertisements behind them. The early morning chilly breeze soon gave way to a pleasant heat and a lovely day at the beach.  

I pray every day that I live fully and joyfully, and this weekend I accomplished just that.

Packing for our first picnic of the season which is always better on the beach
My summer reading nook
We were lucky enough to spend Saturday evening in J & L's garden
As our son lives in California, I treated John to his favorite hot dog dive for Father's Day

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kitchen Notes

Hi all! It's been a while since I have written a word as so much has happened to consume my life over the last couple of months; and the saga is not one I would care to repeat.

The condensed version is that as it became evident that my almost 96-year-old mother was no longer able to live on her own, my life was consumed with hospital visits, a rehab facility and finally placement of my mother into a long-term care center.  The period of adjusting to my mother's new life was a journey for both of us. But the most arduous task of all was getting my mother's home ready for sale. There were storage places in her small house that I never knew existed.  And who knew my father had squirreled away every fan and air conditioner they had ever owned as well as every broken toaster?

I worked for two plus weeks straight getting everything cleared out. Without the help of my friends and my husband I know that I could not have done it.  We sold the house quickly and closed last week.


But as crazy as those two months were, every day I would come home and cook dinner. I guess there was something comforting in performing that task. So here is a glimpse at some of the things that went on around here.
A birthday bouquet
Salmon packets with spinach and oranges

At one point during the craziness our son and his girlfriend blew flew in for a wedding.
A giant salted caramel macaron from Laduree on Madison Avenue
And a gigantic bowl of pork belly ramen noodles at Ippudo in NYC
A bowl of mussels
Grilled chicken thighs with lemon, garlic and rosemary
Cinnamon breakfast toasts cooling
Memorial Day Weekend