There is something so soothing on cool summer mornings about taking my coffee outside and poking around the garden to see what might have cropped up overnight. There’s nothing like rich valley soil with a big dose of sunshine, to make everything grow at a rapid pace. Each day there’s a new surprise lurking under the lush growth.
Yesterday, to my great delight, I discovered the blueberries were beginning to turn violet and plump up. Too eager to wait for a bumper crop, I plucked off every juicy orb I could find to sprinkle in my cereal. On the way inside I popped a few into my mouth to savor the first sweet gush of summer. I was not disappointed.
Later that same day, with blueberries on the brain and impatience in my soul I stopped at the market to pick up a full basket of blueberries. By the time I got home I had decided to make a batch of lemony muffins studded with my morning fruit fixation. Although probably the most popular muffin ever made, blueberry muffins often turn me off with their dense texture and excessive concentration of berries. My choice for blueberry style muffins are petite cakes that are tender, tart and slightly glazed on top.
My idea was to make the batch for breakfast the next morning, but as they cooled and were dripping glaze on the baking racks, the muffins dwindled away with the afternoon sun. I smiled knowingly at my grandson’s sticky little lips as I licked the remains off my own. After all, why wait for breakfast when teatime is just around the corner? Maybe there will even be a new crop of bursting berries when I wander through the garden tomorrow morning.
Recipe for Blueberry Muffins
Blog writing has opened up a whole new world of cyber friends that share the same passion for food that I have. Our commonality is a love for cuisine and a desire to share our experiences via the internet. Every day I find inspiration through other bloggers, websites and e-mail updates. The modern media age has brought me into contact with people from all over the world to exchange ideas on subjects for which we share an affinity. Amazing!
Recently I wrote a blog about lemons that included a reference to lemon curd (see Here Comes the Sun). A fellow blogger, Vinny Grette of email@example.com commented back encouraging me to try my hand at making lemon curd as it was really quite easy to make. With plenty of lemons still on the trees, I decided to take up the challenge. I searched the internet for a variety of recipes and techniques to use in refining my own version. Based on a few basic ingredients, I experimented with the formula until I reached a result that was both manageable and tasty. Vinny was correct that it wasn’t a formidable task.
My little experiment of making several batches of the curd produced enough of the sweet substance to necessitate a preservation plan. Another trip to the internet convinced me that the curd could be canned by the water bath method. My attempt was a successful venture except that I filled the jars too full. It seems that lemon curd expands more than regular jam and caused a little leakage. No problem, I located a recipe in Southern Living magazine for a coffee cake that utilized the curd in a fragrantly delicious rosemary scented treat.
Whether for research, organization or inspiration, my computer has become an integral part of my cooking routine. The convenience and wide range of information is the perfect complement to a well-equipped kitchen. Although I love to peruse a good cookbook and am attached to my collection of these tomes, I admit that I am chomping at the bit to get a new tablet-style device to access recipes. I am confident that is one device that won’t end up at the back of the gadget drawer in my kitchen.
Recipe for Lemon Curd
Even though we know it’s coming, the first triple-digit day always catches us off guard. The mild spring lulled us into a hopeful state that summer would cruise in slowly. Not so. It sprinted in from out of nowhere. Like the rest of Fresno, I retreated indoors, powered on the AC and contemplated a dessert that would conjure the sensation of cool.
My patio citrus trees were heavy laden which gave me the inspiration to search out all things lemon. My criteria was taste (refreshing and chilly), sight (tempting), and conservation (requiring minimal preparation). I was persuaded by a lemon roll since it required a mere 10 minutes in the oven, sported a refrigerated filling and was seductive enough to lure us out of our heat-induced complacency.
Before you dismiss the idea as unapproachable, consider what is intimidating. The right tools and timing are the key to foolproof rolls. A jellyroll pan, which is essentially a cookie sheet with higher sides, parchment or waxed paper and a thin cotton dish towel will do the trick. The brisk pace will keep you engaged, the gratification will come with mastery and the delight will come from the accolades.
If you desire to rise higher in culinary education, start with a one inch sided pan and before you know it you’ll be an honor roll student.
To enroll go to Freshman Lemon Roll