Monday, July 28, 2008

Blueberry Coffee Cake


Monday, July 28, 2008

75 degrees and a quiet evening here on the mountain. The ruby throats are working overtime on the red monarda (bee balm) and now at about 7:30, the hummingbird moths are coming out of hiding to provide some company. Karl the wonder dog and I just returned from the compost pile out back and in a few minutes we'll have to find some supper. Gail and Alex are in Montpelier for the evening so we are on our own.

While out back, Karl and I feasted on wild blueberries. There is a great crop this year which means the bumble bees, the chief pollinators of this fruit, were able to avoid rain showers and do their work in late spring.

My first dog was an Irish Setter. Her name was Rusty which showed the lack of creative genius that prevailed when I was five. She was a great dog save for a propensity to try to eat porcupines and she loved berries. She would tickle the branches with her long tongue and stand for great periods of time eating berries. Bear, my Walker Hound, and Barney, my Beagle-Walker, also loved blueberries and raspberries but they used the side approach with shorter tongues and shorter legs. Baker, our Pug, was too short and round to approach the branches so he sniffed for fallen fruit and begged for hand picked quantities which he loved.

I am a berry picker with great skill. Part of that came from the need to survive at an early age. Our family were hunters and gatherers and I can't tell all the stories until I check with the fish and game statute of limitations. I can pick anything and can fill more buckets than most. Wild blueberries is the most taxing however, as the branches are at best 25" above the ground and most are only 10".

Every year on select weekends at the nursery, Gail prepares blueberry coffee cake for weekend guests. This is a super cake and many demand the recipe. Some are even bothersome about asking for the recipe and hint that an occasional, fully prepared cake would be much better than the recipe itself. Since I have been neglectful in my recent promises to write it again, here it is as my closing thought for tonight. I'm very tired and just wish I had a couple pieces and a glass of milk right now

Blueberry Coffee Cake

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp baking powder
1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. blueberries
1 tsp salt
2 eggs well beaten

Topping:
1/3 c. each brown and white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 chopped walnuts
1 tbsp melted butter

Combine the dry ingredients, cut in the butter. Make a well in the center and add milk, eggs, vanilla. Stir until moist. Fold in blueberries. Pour in 13 X 9 pan. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

As I have written about this recipe in the past, there is a problem with it. A 13 X 9 pan is insufficient to satisfy many people because it is so tasty that nobody can stop after a piece or two. I even know of a man who has regularly driven from a camp in the hills above Groton Village to secure a piece or two on a Saturday morning. That's a distance of about 15 miles each way. Guess that explains how great it is. Share the recipe freely and make friends happy!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where Blogger refuses to accept pictures tonight and where Karl is barking at something I better inspect.

Good gardening wishes!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm

PS: Gail's bare root daylily sale continues. She'll probably even mail you some if you call her. She is making me a bit grouchy as she is selling off tons of Susan Elizabeth and today I found Atlanta Lucky Piece in the pile. When did you find Atlanta Lucky Piece in your daylily collection last?


1 comment:

jodi said...

George, thank you SO much for identifying 'Lorelie' for me! I can correct the image on my blog now, tell Kylee (who is equally mystified) and look for more bulbs of it because I love it.

While lily leaf beetle is a problem in other parts of the province, I have yet to see any up here where I am. It's cool and foggy here a lot of the time and whether that precludes them finding their way here, or I've just been lucky, I don't know. I'm glad to hear from an un-vested interest that neem and dormant oil works to control the little monsters--that's been what I've been told and have passed along to others plagued by them, but since I don't have them here I hadn't used any of the neem I've been given.

And that blueberry coffee cake recipe? Is going to get made tomorrow morning. It's already too hot here today to put the oven on....

I've been a bad, bad blog-reader this summer, and have some catching up to do. I've remembered to add your URL to my list of links, finally. It's the fog causing me to be forgetful.