Pancakes, logistics, and real life

Lest you find yourself under the (incorrect) impression that I’m some sort of magical unicorn that can be raising a four-year-old and get everything done that I set out to do…. it’s confession time. My Bloomfield-Montclair share sat in a heavy-duty cooler bag with a bunch of ice packs overnight, and I’m just getting to it now.

And, you know what? That’s okay! Everything is perfectly perky and I actually got to collapse into bed at a reasonable hour. Things will get done today.

I did make pancakes last night with the first bit of my blueberry order. It was an investment in my morning happiness. It was very, very worth it. (Fun tip – if you make the pancakes ahead of time, you can heat them in your toaster in the morning. They freeze well if you want to plan ahead further than just the night before.)

Ever wonder what 20 pounds of blueberries looks like? This. This is what 20 pounds of blueberries looks like.

And, while we’re at it, here’s the share from Chelsa this week. It’s not as great of a picture, because I was rushing.

We had a great opportunity to talk about the fluctuations in the seasons – we’re now hitting the long, hot stretch of the summer where the salad greens taper off for a bit, yet we’re in the brief period before the tomatoes and other deep-summer vegetables have ripened up. It’s interesting to me (though I’m sure frustrating for her) to see the natural progression play out in a small-scale, brand new farm, as opposed to being a little cushioned by the size and experience in Farmer John’s operation. It’s also fun that I get different things from Coeur et Sol than I do from Circle Brook, despite both being North Jersey farms.

This is eating with the seasons. We didn’t always have the option of on-demand access to whatever type of vegetable we desire.  This is part of getting back to eating locally, with the seasons, and sustainably. It often turns out that nature has better ideas in mind than I would have in the grocery store, anyway.

I have some interesting meals planned, so stay tuned.


Blueberry Season

Today is it. Blueberry day.

Bloomfield-Montclair partners with a farmer in Hammonton – the home of the domesticated blueberry – to do bulk purchases of blueberries every year. I am a GIGANTIC fan of blueberries, so I look forward to this with varying levels of mania every year. I feel like I got extra lucky this year; our delivery  usually comes right before July 4th, which usually coincides with our yearly trip down to southern Delaware  with the family. On more than  one occasion, I’ve carted absurd amounts of blueberries down to Delaware and back, simply because we’ve done pickup as we’re pulling out of town.

This year, I have all of the time I need to wrangle the berries. I’m looking forward to it.

Pickup isn’t until 2 pm, so for now, in anticipation, I present photos from a recipe I made over the weekend. I was on the team to provide food at coffee hour this week, so I popped over to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning to buy some blueberries from Ginger. (The farmer who provides our fruit share has a stall at the Walnut Street Farmer’s Market in Montclair. Tree-licious Orchards. Give her a visit if you’re local!) I proceeded to make a Blueberry Buckle.

Shocking to no one, this recipe came from Thug Kitchen. The original calls for blackberries, but at the end, they say you can use any berries you please. I’ve always made it with blueberries, and it’s always come out stunningly well. The cutesy reason for calling this a “buckle,” rather than a cobbler or coffee cake or whatnot, is apparently that there are “so many berries, it’ll make the pan buckle.” Groan.

First, there are the blueberries throughout the batter. I really like the texture this comes out, by the way. The trick seems to be that it’s part oat flour and part regular flour.

Then, you take more berries and sort of lightly smush them into the top of the batter.

Topped with a crust made of all sorts of good things, like brown sugar and oat flour…

Baked until it looks like this little piece of heaven.

Learn from my previous mistakes and put a layer of foil on the rack underneath your baking treat. Blueberry juice boiling over is pretty much inevitable.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a staple in this house. Every one of us really loves blueberries, and they’re an easy, quick breakfast component.

Our CSA partners with a farm in Hammonton – the home of the domesticated blueberry, incidentally – to do bulk orders of blueberries every July. They come in 10 pound boxes, so I freeze a lot of blueberries to use throughout the year.

My all time favorite blueberry muffin recipe is Double Blueberry Muffins. They do require a fair amount of effort and time, though, in the grand scheme of muffins. (WORTH IT if you have motivation and time, incidentally.)

I’ve tried several recipes for quicker muffins and been disappointed. The most recent surprising disappointment was the recipe in Taste of Home’s “Five Star Recipes” cookbook. They’re pretty widely beloved, if the copy is to believed, but I found them to be far too dense.

These blueberry muffins, in contrast, are fabulous. They are the ideal mix of moist and crumbly. They are ridiculously easy and quick to make, to boot.