Consider what is right
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I did some baking – made a bunch of cookies and a strange coffeecake with chocolate in the middle I probably won’t make again – and contemplated spring and its temperament this year. I wonder sometimes if the weather and its patterns in our childhoods really wasn’t that much different from how it is now. Maybe memory casts a fantastical glow and sifts out the dull and ordinary. I remember winters as all about snow, lots of it, and springtime of length with flowers everywhere, and no crazy tornado-ish days til the three hot heat months of summer, and long autumns, golden and rich.
Which is pretty much how it is now. Maybe as adults we just focus on different things. Rain means different things to a child whose concerns aren’t drought but no sun in which to play, and I have to shovel that snow where children build castles with it. Perspective, maybe? So this first week of May brings temps in the 80s, threats of severe weather, and wind whistling at the window as I write. I’m a lover of storms, but the heat is another story.
I was talking with the cashier today at the grocery store, who said it’s funny how people always find complaint in the weather, and she’s right. Beautiful storms, but nasty heat. Decent winter, but not enough snow. Spring started late, ends too soon, and why can’t it be autumn all year?
Seems there’s endless opportunity for complaint, really, if we’re of that mind, if there’s a payoff in pointing out what isn’t right. Well. There’s a thought for the first of May: consider what is right, and focus on that. A pile of cow manure is packed with nutrients. And it’s warm. Imagine there’s appreciation for that somewhere. And for heat and storms ahead, well, we’ve a pile of board games we haven’t played in a while, and there’s butter brickle ice cream in the fridge. Meet you in the living room when the storm hits. I’ll bring the candles.
Here’s one that’ll take you back to picnic days, and grandma’s kitchen counter. It’s sweet and tangy all at once, and enough to keep you going til dinner.
Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
1 1/2 cups + 1 T all-purpose flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
For the Lemon Syrup:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
For the Lemon Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cake cool.
To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 T of lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice if the mixture is too stiff. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.
This makes 1 9×5 loaf. This recipe also makes about 12 standard muffins or 36 miniature muffins, baking time adjusted. Could also be doubled and baked in a well-greased and floured bundt pan, baking time adjusted.