In the last four years that I have worked for myself, I’ve been pretty terrible about giving myself time away from this website, my laptop screen, and all the other bits and pieces that make up my life as a freelance writer and blogger.
You may have noticed that it’s been pretty quite around these parts this week. It’s because I was in Portland with my family. Thing is, even though I was on something of a vacation, I didn’t actually intend to go silent this week. I had a stockpile of blog posts photographed and ready to be written while I was away.
But then, on my first day of my trip, I had an unfortunate encounter with the slicing blade of my mom’s food processor while making a batch of sweet zucchini pickles. I took a hefty chunk out of the tip of my right ring finger (luckily, the processor bowl was empty at the time, so I didn’t waste the pickles).
Typing became painfully unwieldy. I did the bare minimum required to keep up with email and surrendered my blogging plans. While I’m not one to believe that accidents are always the machinations of fate, I think that had I gone into this week with a more vacation-centric mentality and allowed myself the break from the start, maybe I could have avoided the pain. Perhaps.
Happily, thanks to the miracle that is the human body’s ability to heal, my food processor wound is nearly gone. I’m back home in Philadelphia and spent much of the day typing away, in an attempt to gather up all the foundering threads I dropped while I was away.
While I do still have a mighty backlog of preserves to share with you, the thing I feel most excited about at the moment is the blueberry cobbler I made yesterday for my mother’s birthday. It looks relatively humble but one bite in and it feels entirely celebratory (we all went back for a second taste). We ate it unadorned and at room temperature, but warm and with ice cream would also be delightful.
The version I’m posting is gently tweaked rendition of Alana’s recipe, which she adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts. I find that Alana never leads me astray when it comes to food (and baked goods, particularly) and so I’m very much looking forward to the release of her new book this fall.
- 2 1/2 pounds blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick cold butter cut into small cubes
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons coarse grain sugar like Turbinado
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest and juice. Stir until the cornstarch has formed something of a slurry with the lemon juice. Scrape the fruit mixture into the buttered dish.
- In the same bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to work it into the dry ingredients.
- Add the milk and stir just enough to incorporate.
- Spoon the cobbler topping over the blueberries, doing your best to make a fairly even layer.
- Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top of the dough.
- Set the baking dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet and slide it into the oven.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the fruit looks thick and jammy.
- Then, turn the heat up to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. This gives the cobbler top a chance to brown a little more deeply.
- Remove the cobbler from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
You don’t have to maim or mutilate yourself to take a break from blogging. Everyone needs a few days off once in a while. And I’m glad you didn’t ruin the pickles. The cobbler looks very yummy & I can’t wait to try it. Glad to see you back.
As someone who has had a great deal of difficulty transitioning into holidays this year (talk to teachers about how challenging this can be), I get it – and yes, it would be much nicer to avoid the pain, but sometimes we need that kick in the head. So glad you managed to have good family time. The not ruining the pickles line reminds me of a time when I worked on a college paper. In the days pre-computer, we did all the layout by hand, with typeset copy that we cut to size and glued down. A friend was not careful enough with the exacto knife, and took a “hefty chunk” out of a finger – what I remember most is the production manager yelling “don’t bleed on the flat! blood repros!” – we managed to patch her up without leaving proof on that week’s paper. 😉
OUCH!! So sorry about that!! It’s great that you can think of the silver lining. In the meantime, I was going to make a blueberry-peach pie today, but I think I may be heading into the cobbler direction now!!
Welcome back! I was glad to think of you resting with family when you vanished from my inbox–sorry to hear it involved a tourniquet! Agreed that the only nice thing about summer’s end is it brings us that much closer to Alana’s book. Off to pick blueberries now…maybe the haul for the freezer can spare me enough for this cobbler.
I finished up that cobbler last night. It was so yummy! Even without the ice cream.
Holy COW!! I am so making that this next friday!!