Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dog days of Summer

We have been blessed again by the generosity of family friends. We were able to stay in Chatham (Cape Cod) for four days last week. The little cottage is charming with new cedar siding, hard wood floors with years of salt and sea water sanding the wood in spots and comfortable rooms for us to sleep in at night. It rained in the evenings as we drifted off to sleep with sand in our hair. This week, news reports talk about sharks being sited off the beach we were on. I have a feeling they are attracted to the seals. The seals were prolific while we were there. We saw many at the Fishing Pier when the fishermen came in with their afternoon catch. We also saw them during low tide out on a sandbar. I grew up swimming in waters that held dolphins and sharks. They were the little dog fish sharks, angel sharks and some nurse sharks (in So. Cal). I knew to swim to shore and avoid them for a while. My beloved got to snorkel a lot. He told me of the wonderful underwater world he got to observe. Horseshoe crabs, spotted crabs, starfish, schools of baby eels and minnows, and the sounds he could hear from the surface. We stuffed ourselves with fresh seafood from the Chatham Pier Fish Market. My beloved tenderly cotton swabbed my sunburned back with apple cider vinegar (I'm at the point of peeling shoulders now). There is no TV but, we were able to watch DVDs so, a few evenings we watched Singing In The Rain and North by Northwest.  Cape Cod is busier in the Summer months than in Spring but, there is still a sleepy New England feel to the place. At times, we had the miles of beach to ourselves. As the tide went out, we found hundreds of sea snails in ornate, pink and purple and tan shells. Our children would giggle as the snails would squirt a stream of salt water out, as they retreated into their shells, while being held by little, gritty hands.Mom and Dad (Grandma Sonnie and Grandpa Tom) were with us and in spite of a newly broken rib, Mom did fairly well. I guess we all needed this respite. Mom and Dad enjoyed the get-away and kept chatting about how they could "live in a cottage like this". David needed the time under water and away from the reality of life in the unemployment lane. The children always love road trips and the beach (so do I).  And I enjoyed watching everyone else every lazy day. I also filled my pockets with shells and round, smooth, ancient rocks. Priceless.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Delicious Fruit Cobbler (aka: berry buckle)

This was a simple and delicious dessert. The children enjoyed it too, especially with whipped cream. It was gone within a couple of days and even enjoyed for breakfast.
Here's the recipe. It  served 8 people.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
At least 4 cups of fresh berries. We had blueberries, strawberries, golden and red raspberries and blackberries.
Place butter in casserole dish and set in oven to melt at 350 degrees F. When butter has melted, remove dish from oven. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into dish and then scatter the fruit over batter. Sprinkle top with more sugar. Bake until batter browns and the fruit bubbles (approx 50 to 60 minutes). We enjoyed this fruit cobbler with whipped cream. If we had vanilla ice cream, we would have devoured it with that too. Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

the bounty of summer berries

  • Recently, my beloved's parents arrived from the West Coast to spend some time with us and their grand-kids. A few towns over is a wonderful farm. Summer berry picking is a favorite for our family. In season are golden, red, and black raspberries. The farm also has cherry trees and a blueberry field.  We filled our hands and mouths with the sweetest cherries. The children had lips and finger tips stained with berry juice. The bounty was plentiful.Grandpa Tom and Grandma Sonnie were in their element with the children. Instructing them on the secrets of finding the perfect berries, how to pick them off the stem, how to avoid the little thorns on the blackberry bushes. The weather was perfect with N. C. Wyeth clouds in the sky, a slight breeze to dry our sun drenched skin, and the orchard graced with bronze beetles, berry stained children, and electronic bird songs in the blueberry patch (to frighten away the real birds from stealing our blueberries).I am in awe of the colors on a blueberry bush. In the same cluster, I see new berry greens, a blush of pale pink, periwinkle and then the sheen of the ripe blueberry so rich in it's purple hue.
Our trio enjoyed their outing to the orchard. Their bellies full of fruit and minds full of memories just as sweet. Now, we search for ways to eat up all the berries. We've had them in cereals, in yogurt, on whipped cream, and just by the handful. Any suggestions? I think I'll make waffles for breakfast.