The garden has been alive with butterflies this past week–I’ve seen sulphurs, red admirals and skippers. (This is the first year of my life that I have noticed skippers, and it makes me wonder what else I have been missing.) In my defense, the skipper posing above is barely half an inch long, and is easily missed. Turns out that skippers are considered to be primitive butterflies, and are classified in their own separate group apart from butterflies and moths. There are many kinds of skippers, but after learning that even experts have a hard time knowing which is which, I decided to just enjoy them, and not delve further into nomenclature.
Here are a few closeups of this delightful little creature.
For Blueberry Lovers
For blueberry lovers, here is a moist, plump coffeecake, loaded with about as many blueberries as can be shoehorned into one cake, and topped with a crackling crust of sugar. The recipe is from “Tea Breads and Coffeecakes” by Elizabeth Alston, a delightful little book. Its broken spine and smudged pages testify as to how much I have enjoyed baking from it!
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups blueberries
2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Topping: 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8- or 9-inch glass baking dish. Line it with parchment paper, and grease lightly again. Melt the butter in a small bowl in a microwave. (This took about 50 seconds at full power in my microwave.) Set aside to cool.
Wash and drain blueberries; spread out on paper towels to dry.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Mix the milk, eggs, and vanilla together, and add to the flour mixture along with the melted butter. Fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter in the prepared dish, and sprinkle with the topping mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife tip inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Blueberry Baking notes: The price of blueberries can vary wildly from week to week. When I went shopping this morning, I realized it would cost me at least $8.00 for the blueberries in this recipe. So I opted to buy a 12-0unce bag of frozen berries for $2.69, and they worked well. I did go to the King Arthur Flour website to learn about using frozen blueberries. They recommended rinsing the frozen berries until the water runs clear, and then drying them on paper towels. This keeps the berries from staining the batter. I did this, though I have to say, the water never ran clear, and drying the wet, thawing berries was an ordeal. So I also checked in at the US Highbush Blueberry Council. They recommend not allowing the frozen berries to thaw at all before adding to the batter–this will keep streaking to a minimum. I vote for the second method! The Blueberry Council offers some wonderful looking recipes, so it’s worth stopping by their website.
As well as skippers, there were bees browsing the sedum yesterday. Peace to you. Fran