Summer Blues


It’s mid-August, and there’s not much to like about the weather, especially as the temperature has been hovering around 100˚. I know I’m fortunate to live in an air-conditioned house, but by this time in the summer I’m beginning to feel trapped. I have plenty of printing, writing, and reading to keep me busy, and my frequent forays to our high school pool keep me in shape, but I find I’m suddenly distracting myself by baking. Is this why people joke about Christmas in August? Inspired by the abundance of fruit at the market and the store, I’ve been going through cook books looking for fruit recipes. One of my favorite new cook books is from the SONO Baking Company in Norwalk, Connecticut. They have a section on fruit cobblers, crisps, Bettys, and buckles (such great names!), and I’m enjoying trying out their variations. Forrest Pritchard’s second book, Growing Tomorrow, has some delightful and unusual fruit recipes gleaned from organic farmers across the nation, including a raspberry beer cocktail and blueberry salsa. Alice Waters covers cobblers and crisps in Art of Simple Cooking, but I’m drawn to her summer fruit compote (doesn’t get any simpler!). My favorite tart dough recipe comes from Baking with Julia, and I use it for a peach and blackberry galette. But I keep returning to an old standby, Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Pleasures, for a muffin recipe that is just delicious with fresh blueberries—not too rich or sweet, and just bursting with fruit. The muffins freeze well, so I don’t have to eat too many, but they go a long way to fighting off those summer blues!

Since Vegetarian Pleasures is out of print, I'll share the recipe here:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (substitute Fiori di Sicile citrus extract if you like)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (cooled slightly)

1. Preheat oven to 425˚ and prepare muffin pan (butter and flour).

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Toss in blueberries and gently coat them.

3. Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and melted butter together and stir into blueberry mixture just until moistened.

4. Dough will be very dry and crumbly. Spoon it into muffin cups. 

5. Bake for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out dry.