Blueberry Cake or Muffins


This is perfect for late spring and summertime when fresh blueberries are plentiful. I love how the fragrant nutmeg complements the fresh fruit. My friend Marcia got this recipe from her mom. Our families used to pick wild blueberries with her in-laws in the New Hampshire countryside.

I changed the recipe a bit, substituting finely ground whole wheat flour, cutting down a bit on the sugar and adding vanilla. The original recipe calls for half-and-half, but I use 1 % milk and still get a tender and delicious muffin.

Makes a 13 × 9 inch cake or about a dozen muffins

Blueberry prep:

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 Tb flour

Cake:

2/3 cup sugar

1 cube (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature

2 large eggs warmed to room temperature

½ cup milk

1½ tsp vanilla

1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Topping:

2 Tb sugar

¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350’

Wash blueberries, and discard overripe ones. Dry in a paper towel. Toss blueberries with 2 Tb flour so that they are lightly coated.

Sift flours, salt and baking powder and stir well to combine.

Beat butter on high speed and add sugar, beating for a few minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until the mixture is light. Scrape the bowl and add 1/4 cup milk, mixing well.

Stir half the flour mixture into the batter only until combined. Add the other 1/4 cup milk and the rest of the flour mixture and slowly stir only until combined.

Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

Pour in a buttered 13 × 9 inch pan, or into about 12-14 paper muffin cups.

Mix 2 Tb sugar with ¼ tsp nutmeg in a cup. Sprinkle about 1/3 to ½ tsp over each muffin, or if making the cake, sprinkle evenly over the cake.

Bake cake for 45 minutes, muffins for 35-40 minutes, until top is light brown.

Arroz con leche (Rice Pudding)

I used to sing this folk song to my kids whenever I’d make this for them.

“Arroz con leche
me quiero casar
con una viudita
de la capital”
 

This comes out very creamy even though I use only 1% milk. I sweeten it with raisins and piloncillo, (pea-lon-SEE- yo), which is brown raw sugar, sold in cones in Mexican groceries. If you can’t find that, substitute about 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. I only use a small cone, but if you like yours sweeter, add more. For me, the cinnamon and vanilla is flavorful enough that less sugar is needed.

My mom used to add walnuts to hers, which I thought was fantastic. I’ve had sublime Indian rice pudding with cardamom, coconut milk and pistachio nuts, so I added this option as well. For a vegan version, use all coconut milk.

Serves 6

1 ½ cups cooked rice. Although white rice is traditional, I like the nutty flavor of brown rice. I cook the rice only with water, a teaspoon of butter, and a sprinkle of salt.

3 cups low fat milk or 2 cups milk and 1 cup coconut milk

1 Tb. vanilla extract

1 ½  tsp. cinnamon powder

¼ tsp. cardamom powder (optional)

1 small cone of piloncillo

¼ cup raisins

1/2  cup chopped walnuts, pecans or unsalted pistachios (optional)

1 stick cinnamon to garnish

Heat milk with vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and piloncillo until it starts to bubble around the edges, but not boil. Stir in  raisins and rice. Heat on low for 30 minutes, stirring often so that a skin doesn’t form. The pudding will thicken as it heats. Add the nuts. Let sit until cool. The longer it sits, the more the milk is absorbed by the rice. You may want to add more milk after it has sat awhile. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pecan Waffles

One of the great delights of my childhood Sunday mornings was homemade waffles for breakfast. Light and delicious, we love them with the crunch of  pecans in the batter.  I cover these golden waffles with fresh raspberries, chopped strawberries and peaches, and pour Strawberry Sauce or a light glaze of pure maple syrup over them.

1 1/2  cups all purpose white  flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry (finely ground) flour

1 Tb ground flax seed

1 Tb Baking powder

3  Tb Sugar

a couple of shakes  salt

3 eggs separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar

6  Tb. Butter

3 cups milk (I use 1%)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

3/4 cup chopped pecans if desired

1/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut if desired

Separate eggs. I place each of whites in a cup before adding it to the bowl, just in case a bit of yolk gets in one of them.

Beat whites and cream of tartar until whites are stiff. Set aside.

Beat yolks with milk and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add flour mixture alternately to milk/yolk mixture, beating after each addition.

Melt butter. I put it in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Beat in butter and pecans.

Fold ½ cup egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold the batter into the rest of egg whites. I reserve some whites for the last batches, when it is mostly gone from the batter.

Heat waffle iron until the light goes out. Spray with a bit of coconut oil spray. Pour batter in the center of the iron, until it spreads out about 2/3 full.

Cook until the light goes out again and waffle is golden brown.

Make extra waffles for those sleepy weekday mornings. Make them a bit lighter so you can toast them. Put them between paper towels so they won’t be so soggy. Freeze them between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper, then wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag.