Friday, August 19, 2011

blueberry pickin'

How I spent my Thursday afternoon:

Yes! I went to Hidden Springs Orchard in Cookeville with a couple of new friends, and it was a lovely time despite the heat.  The blueberry patch is indeed hidden, tucked down a dirt road deep in a holler (er, hollow?) in Jackson County.  And what could be better than gathering blueberries with friends?  Very little, except perhaps:

Fresh-baked blueberry buttermilk coffee cake!  With lemon zest crumb topping.  I've been on a bit of a baking tear since settling into my new kitchen, and am freezing about half of what I bake to get me through my first semester of college.  This recipe yields one 9" cake (which I baked in an 8" dish so it turned out very tall), of which I froze half.

So here you go!  Recipe after the jump.  If you use this recipe, I would love to hear (or see) how it turns out.
Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake
[makes one 9" cake]
Crumb Topping:
1/4 C sugar
3 T unbleached all-purpose flour
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3 T cold unsalted butter

2.5 C unbleached all-purpose flous
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 C fresh or unsweetened frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.  (Alternately, you can use a greased 9" baking pan of any sort, or like me, make do with an 8" baking dish.  I didn't decrease some of the batter like I should have, and it ended up almost spilling over and needed an additional 10-15 min baking time.)

2. To prepare the crumb topping: In a small bowl, combine together the sugar, flour, and zest.  Cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

3. To make the cake: In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  In a large bowl using an electric mixer (or, like me, a whisk and enthusiasm) combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter.  Stir into the dry mixture and beat until well blended.  Fold in the blueberries with a few swift strokes.

4. Spoon the batter into the pan, smooth, and sprinkle with the crumb topping.  Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a cake tester (or fork, for the rest of us) inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan 15 minutes.  Remove the sides of the springform pan to cool the cake completely, or if you are using any ol' baking pan, just let it hang out on your countertop for a while.  I wouldn't let it cool on the windowsill because it might get swiped.

Friday, August 5, 2011

a postcard from Putnam County, USA

[The view from my kitchen window.]

I now live in Cookeville, Tennessee!  My internet connection is spotty but will be worked out soon.  Some facts about my new home:
  • My apartment is next door to an abandoned house, and next to that is a small and overgrown cemetery.
  • Early in the morning I can hear a rooster crow; some afternoons, I hear what I am guessing is a donkey braying.
  • I live down a state road a couple miles from the University.  At night it is so dark I can't see the cars parked below my apartment.
  • A little further down the state road is a pasture of cows belonging to the school's Agriculture Department, as well as a field of sheep, and lots of barns and farmland.  Also: a This n' That Store and a biker bar that allegedly doubles as a bike shop.
In short: Cookeville is wonderful!  I am done with city living for the foreseeable future, and couldn't be happier.  Now, to get my sewing area set up...