Sunday, August 17, 2008
OH, THE BLUEBERRIES
Just about every summer, SJG and I spend a week in a cabin on a lake in the North Woods. Over the years, we've developed a daily routine of morning walks, afternoon swims and sunning on the dock, and yoga and reading in the early evening. We bring our entire kitchen battery with us to cook. For dinners this year, we made a broccoli-artichoke-pepper pizza, pesto with garden tomatoes and green beans, burgers and roasted potatoes, and a Shore Lunch (fried walleye, mashed potatoes, and cooked carrots).
Part of the pleasure of our North Woods trip is picking wild blueberries along a rocky outcropping just a few miles down the road from our cabin. We generally pick about a quart of blueberries every visit, but this year we brought home two gallons. A huge forest fire last year, followed by a cool, wet spring, produced a bumper crop of blueberries this year. They're big and fat and everywhere. Even SJG, who loses patience after about five minutes of harvesting, was gleeful--and grasping. When she spotted a party of pickers emerging from their foray loaded down with ten-gallon buckets, she said, "Knock 'em over the head, grab the buckets, and run!"
Naturally, our breakfasts have been on the blueberry theme: blueberry waffles, blueberry oatmeal, and blueberry scones. Back in the city this morning, SJG made a triple batch of blueberry bran muffins, and I'm drying off three big cookie sheets of blueberries in preparation for freezing the remainder. It's blueberry heaven around here!
Below is my recipe for blueberry scones, adapted from a recipe my sister found years ago in an English recipe booklet.
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup finely cut oats
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature or slightly colder
1 egg + buttermilk to make 1/2 cup total
3-4 tablespoons fresh blueberries
milk + sugar for coating the top
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a nice mealy mixture.
2. Beat the egg and the buttermilk lightly, until blended. Stir into the flour mixture.
3. Gently stir in the blueberries.
4. On a floured surface, gently pat out the dough into a circular shape until about 1/2-inch thick. (Don't overwork the dough.) Use a pastry brush to spread a little milk over the top of the dough, then sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of sugar over the top for a crispy, sugary finish.
5. Cut the dough in half down the center and then in half again for four triangular scones. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a hot oven (450 degrees) for 11-12 minutes. Serve straight out of the oven.
*Serves two to four people.