Monday, June 25, 2007

Violet, You're Violet!

In case you did not get the title, it is a quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - when Violet turns into a blueberry. Because, it seems that whenever I think of blueberries, an image of that scene pops into my head. I'm slightly strange, what can I say??

Anyway, for all my small complaints about Pennsylvania (mostly the PA drivers), I actually really love it here. Forget all the other reasons - mainly my friends/activities - PA is a great state. Growing up in Connecticut, I knew a few people with gardens and farm-like properties (mostly horse related), but mostly in CT a yard is for one thing - Decoration. Although my mom did atypical CT activities with us growing up, such as canning jams and pickles and making fresh bread, our property was not conducive to this lifestyle. And, as you have probably picked up from earlier posts, I want nothing more than to live off of my land (at least a little).

Here, in PA, I have the friends with all sorts of crazy barns and gardens and fruit crops. One of my friend's father has a corn field. Another has chickens. Another has blueberry bushes. And that, dear readers, brings me to the subject of this here post. BLUEBERRIES!

A friend of ours, Luke, lives on a great property with an old barn, fruit trees and blueberry bushes. He invited us over this weekend to pick some of the crop. Unfortunately, although we had visions of quarts and quarts of the delicious berries, due to time constraints, we only picked one quart (plus stuffed handfuls into our mouths). In case you have never eaten blueberries straight off of the bush, you are missing out. They are firm, tart and sweet at the same time.

Erin Lou of Live, Love and Healthy Cooking had posted a recipe for blackberry scones last week that I was dying to try. I figured that blueberries would be just as good! We visited Luke on Saturday and promised that we would be back the next day with scones in hand. In return, we got to swim in his pool - who says the way to a guy's heart is not his stomach?? For that matter, I truly believe that the way to ANY ONE'S heart is through their stomach :)

But, I digress...I did tweak the recipe a little bit, but the basics are the same. These scones are not sweet, they have more of a biscuit quality, but we all liked them a lot. The oatmeal makes them slightly heartier and although I usually am in the "more berries the better" camp, I may cut back next time.

Blueberry Scones
yields 16

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oats
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 stick butter
4 egg whites
1 cup of half and half
6T sugar
2 1/2 cups blueberries
2 t lemon zest

Directions:

1) Mix together the first four ingredients. Divide the butter into small chunks and cut into the flour mixture with either two knives, a pastry blender, or your hands (my preferred method!). This should turn into a mealy looking blend. Fold in the berries.

2) In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until mix is barely wet. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a circle. Cut into wedges and place on baking sheet. Don't over mix!!!

3) Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes until nice and golden.


YUM!

Like I mentioned, next time - less blueberries - but other than that, very good. A great summer breakfast.

On a separate note, I am kind of frustrated with my photography skills. I want pretty pictures that get readers drooling. I worked a little with depth to field and manual focus with mixed results. I will keep at it though and hopefully some of my dad's photography skills are hiding in me. If you have any tips - let me know! Here are a few examples of my "success" with non-food items:

UPDATE

Just tried out some of my new "tricks" at Cafe America (super excellent food btw, you should check it out - maybe I will post about them one of these days):



1 comment:

E said...

For food photography your best friend will always be a decent macro lens or macro function. Turn the macro on, the flash off (if there's enough natural light) and hold as steady as possible. Also if possible, minimize the use of any zoom function and move the camera to get close to the food.

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