If there were an alternate reality, in which I could bottle up only one memory of an outing with my family in the last four years, I would choose blueberry-picking. No contest. I loved the experience so much last Monday--the blue sky, the beautiful scenery, the lure of expedition and discovery, and especially the thrill in finding the perfect berry--that we just had to bring Dad in on the fun this weekend. (For those joining via Design Mom's Love the Place You Live Series, our beloved picking spot is Westward Orchards in Harvard, Mass).
I'm pleased to report he loved it as much as me; even having a sick toddler (who woke up in the middle of the night with a fever of 103 degF) did not diminish our fun, and Charlie--perhaps sensing their health benefits--ate as many if not more blueberries this time as last.
Oh, and we got 6 pounds for $18! Three dollars a pound, when normally we might on a very lucky grocery store day pay $2 for a pint. I kept some for smoothies and froze enough for a Christmas blueberry pie, which is another of the hubby's family traditions I'm happy to keep going.
We invited some friends along for the trip. The four youngsters giddily frolicked among the blueberry bushes, relishing the opportunity for unbridled play in the wild blue yonder. And our kids had fun too. Ba-dum ching.
Since I'm joining up with Steppin' Out, I should mention that I dressed the girls in their adorable matching red and pink polka dot dresses from Target and giant sunglasses from Old Navy, and their daddy coincidentally matched them, making for some adorable shots. As usual, mom did not get in any of these shots...must do better about forcing camera on the hubs. Next time.
I suppose if my favorite bottled memory is blueberry-picking, then my favorite incarnation on a plate of such a beloved memory has got to be blueberry cobbler. This recipe has been in the hubster's family for generations and comes from Ireland. My one amendment to what is a nearly perfect dish is that I replace lard for the called-for Crisco; in fact, I feel I am actually bringing the recipe back to what must have been it's original state back in the old country.
Call me crazy, but I am joining the ranks of the passionate few who espouse lard as their pastry ingredient of choice. For those who speak in Godfather references: leave the gun, take the cannoli. To me, the "gun" is the lab created, chemically processed, trans-fat laden vegetable shortening, and the "cannoli" is lard. Or if you're not a Godfather enthusiast, you could also say my answer to the mantra "everything in moderation" is really every natural thing.
One problem with lard is that it can be tough to find local, sustainably produced lard. You can of course produce your own, but that seems like another post for another time. Were I to purchase it at the grocery store, I feel I may as well buy the vegetable shortening because at least then I'm not worried about the welfare of the animal used. If that's your only option, I think unsalted butter is your best bet. I also understand lard isn't an option for vegetarians, but honestly, lard is one of the main reasons (apart from bacon and Boston butt and ribs and...well, anything porky) I'll always remain a flexitarian. To each their own, I say!
Okay, 'nuff said. On to the good stuff...
serves 8-10 very lucky people
5 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
Blend sugar and cornstarch with a whisk in a medium saucepan. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice.
3 c. all-purpose flour (as I always do, I substitute half with white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. lard
1/2 c. sugar (we use raw unrefined sugar)
2 egg yolks (you can substitute one whole egg with similar results)
1/2 c. sour cream
Preheat oven to 325 degF. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. Mix lard and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg yolks to sugar mixture, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add sour cream to sugar mixture and dry ingredients in three stages, mixing in between each addition. Dough will be stiff.
Grease 8x12 or 9x13 baking dish with butter. Press 1/2 dough into bottom and 1/4 in. up sides of dish. Add blueberry mixture. Crumble remaining dough over top of blueberries. Bake 20-30 minutes until slightly brown and bubbly.
Editor's note: This post is part of Love the Place You Live, Monday Mania, Homesteader Blog Carnival, The Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, It's a Keeper Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, and Frugal Friday.