Baking

Summer sweets for our winter pleasure

left to right: two triangular scones, three slices of bread, five blueberry muffins on a clear plate with painted blue flowers
Rhubarb Pecan Scones, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – July 2021

The beauty and the bane of summer bounty are the kitchen hours required to transform a morning’s abundance into delicious treats.  On blue sky, temperature-perfect days just made for hours of pleasure on my screened porch knitting the 4-Day Fireworks KAL sweater, I joined the women of ages past toiling in summer kitchens.  Admittedly, my experience was far more pleasant as my work time was spent in air conditioned comfort with good tunes coming from surround sound.  Some of the tasty delights will be eaten immediately and some will be stashed in our small deep freeze to be enjoyed on frigid winter days as a talisman against the cold and a sunny reminder that spring will come, even in the North Country.

My Sunday & Monday garden-to-kitchen yield:

  • Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – two dozen regular-sized and 24 minis using  a recipe shared by Betty D. from Older Mommy Still Yummy
  • 16 Rhubarb Pecan Scones – an annual favorite from Rhubarb Renaissance by Kim Ode 
  • Two loaves of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – courtesy of Mary Ann H. and the St. Ann’s Parish Cookbook, Olmitz, Kansas; and
  • Tsatsiki – The Enchanted Broccoli Forest variety just because we have an abundance of cucumbers and it goes so well with toasted pita bread and Greek seasoned chicken-kabobs.

Bon appétit!

Gardening · Writing

Blueberries after a year & a month of blogging

First Picking – 2021

Inspired by Suleika Jaouad, I started Knit+ Librarian as a Covid survival technique early into our worldwide pandemic quarantine hoping to capture random thoughts and images.  Over the past year and a month, I never gave any thought to what might happen as topics cycled back through my life.  I knew the Knitting and Reading blog posts would stay fresh as there would always be a just-knit sweater or shawl to describe or a new favorite book to review.  But with today’s first picking of blueberries even while reveling in their dusty blue hues, I realized there may be some repetition in the Baking and Gardening categories whether I am describing the last rhubarb crisp of the summer or this season’s blueberries. 

There is a simple beauty in the natural cycles each following one after another, season by season which especially deserve our appreciation in this northern clime where we go from warm days of verdant greens to frigid, frosty whites and grays and back again.  And, I am certainly in good blogging company, as Christina Campbell on The Healthy Knitter shares monthly posts about each full moon and Solène Le Roux at Knit Pause leads meditative knitting retreats focused on nature.  As I celebrate the ebb and flow of the seasons in our garden sans any exotic varieties and filled with plants I can only describe by their common names without knowledge of scientific nomenclature, I will simply enjoy “playing in the dirt” and you may see a similar but never identical new post or photo.

Baking · Other items of interest

In the bleak midwinter … solstice sweets

Each year we celebrate the Solstice, acknowledging the shortest day, celebrating a holy darkness, and enjoying a special meal.  In a year where nothing was as it was supposed to be, it felt even more important last night to gather fresh evergreens, bake a sweet treat and claim tradition.  

Needing a recipe that did not require an extra trip to the store since we had already picked up our drive-through, online order, I landed on Easy French Almond Cake from the café sucre farine.  Just as promised in the intro, “Incredibly delicious cake and it’s incredibly easy!”  I did modify it slightly (a baker’s prerogative) as I replaced the orange glaze and sliced almonds garnish with Cafe Delites’s homemade blueberry sauce.  Bon appétit!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
     Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Baking · Gardening

Blueberries – first to last

When we started harvesting blueberries last month, we doubted we would meet the bountiful 24 cups we picked last summer.  But the wonders of the Great Mother never cease to amaze and we have enjoyed 25 cups from our four small bushes.  So delicious have been the muffins, ice cream glazes, and pies (two lemon sour cream and one traditional) with plenty simply nibbled that none were frozen.  While we may regret our greediness in the depth of winter blues, the fresh berries were just too tempting.  Since today’s last picking only yielded enough (0.5 cup) for tomorrow’s Honey Nut Cheerios breakfast, I am repurposing the photo from our first picking.