Friday, July 31, 2009

Blueberries! Rosie Makes A Blueberry Pie And Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

 What to do with 5 pounds of blueberries?
 Let's see ... I could make blueberry muffins.
 A lemon custard highlighted with blueberries.
 A cheesecake accented with blueberries.
 As I'm pondering what to do with 5 pounds of blueberries, 
Mr. Hawthorne told me to do something fast
 as I only had 4 cups of blueberries left.
  Pesky kids. 
They eat everything.
 Mr. Hawthorne wanted a blueberry pie.
 And, of course, Mr. Hawthorne always gets what he wants. 
Isn't that right, Mr. Hawthorne? 
Here's the money shot
so I'll hope you'll continue to read on.
Ahhhh ... My beautiful berries.
 For $2.00/pound.
 Handpicked by Mr. Hawthorne and me.
 In 93 degree heat.
Picked with LOVE.
 And I'm certain they were much better
 than the California berries at Food Lion for $1.88/pound.
 Mine were bursting with just-picked blue flavor.
 Food Lion's were bursting with ethylene 
and the flavor of containment and possibly Botrytis and Anthracnose.
 Now, on to my pie. 
First, the crust: 
My mise en place:
 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon salt 
grated zest of 1 lemon 
2/3 cup Crisco, chilled 
1 TB lemon juice
 4 TB ice cold water 
I combined the flour, salt, and grated lemon peel. 
With a pastry blender,
 I cut in the shortening until the pieces were the size of small peas. 
I lightly mixed in the lemon juice and ice water ... 
... until the dough held together. 
I rolled the dough out on a floured board. 
To transport the dough to the pie dish,
 flour the dough, and gently roll it up with the rolling pin ... 
... and place at one end of the dish and carefully unroll. 
Trim off the excess and crimp the sides.

 Now for the filling: 
4 cups blueberries
 7 tablespoons corn starch
 2/3 cup sugar
 (I actually used 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup Splenda to make Mr. Hawthorne happy.) 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 TB lemon juice 
First, I mixed the sugars, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon. 
Then I added in the lemon juice. 
Stir to make a smooth mixture. 
Pour the blueberries into the prepared crust. 
Pour the sugar/Splenda/cornstarch/lemon mixture
 evenly over the blueberries. 
Next I made a crumb topping. 
My crumb topping ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
 1/2 cup flour
 1/4 cup butter 
Just mix the ingredients together ... 
... and sprinkle over top. 
Here's my blueberry pie ready for the oven. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. 
As you know, nothing goes to waste in the Hawthorne Household.
 I took the excess pie dough, rolled it out, and cut these little rounds. 
I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over top 
and popped them in the oven for about 10 minutes,
 or until nice and crispy and browned. 
I ended up with these yummy little bites. 
 While the pie was cooking, I thought to myself, 
"Self, you need to make some homemade ice cream." 
Nothing better than home made vanilla ice cream
 to top a hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven blueberry pie. 
Not too long ago,
I had made some home made vanilla ice cream 
when Mr. Hawthorne requested a blackberry cobbler
 for the Fourth of July.
 That particular ice cream base was a custard. 
It was a cooked base with cream, milk, and eggs.
 And it needed to cool in the fridge
 before being poured into the ice cream maker.
 I didn't have time to cook a custard mixture and cool it,
 because I wanted the ice cream ready when the pie came out of the oven.
 Sooo ...
 I made up an ice cream.
 My ingredients:
3/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup sugar
 2 cups whipping cream
 1 TB + vanilla 
 (I used 1% milk since that's what we have in the house. 
Otherwise, I probably would have bought whole milk. 
And I already had whipping cream in the fridge.) 
I mixed the milk and sugar ... 
... and whupped it up for about 2-3 minutes.
I added in the vanilla.
I added in the whipping cream, mixed well, 
then poured it into my ice cream maker. 
After about 20 minutes, my ice cream is ready. 
And so is my pie. 
I took my little cinnamon/sugar rounds and decorated the pie edge with them. 
There are no words to describe this. 
So I'll just shut up ... 
... and eat.
 Caution: If you make this,
 there's a very good chance you'll experience a foodgasm. 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Highlights Of Our Trip Back To The Outer Banks.

When Mr. Hawthorne and I travel from the Outer Banks to our respective birthplaces and families, we take the same route each time. After making the trip back and forth, Danville to Outer Banks, Outer Banks to Danville, (since the early 80's) both solo and duo, so many times, and my experimenting with different routes and their merits and demerits, I finally figured out the best route, both time-wise and mileage-wise and scenic-wise. From Danville, Va., I take 86S to the first intersection in Hillsborough, NC. And sadly, I take a left at the light, on 70E, and don't even go into Hillsborough. Hillsborough is a lovely, quaint, historical town, and one of these days, we will stop there so I can take photographs. One of the places I wanted to go to this Monday on our way back home, was Montrose Gardens, in Hillsborough. I called on the way and naturally they are closed on Mondays. My friend, Marion, recently sent me this gardener's blog, GardensGardens, and there's a post about Montrose. That will have to tide me over until I actually get there myself. One of these days, I'll go to Montrose Gardens. Just like I'll perfect my Parmesan Frica Cups. And my Corn Fritters. And golly, wasn't there another one on Rosie's list? Seems like I had another thing to perfect on my list. Edited to add: Yes. There was another one. See this post. It was minted tomato slices. Minted tomato slices. Certainly sounds simple enough. My problem was I followed the directions against my better judgment. My mind went somewhere else since I was doing about 7 different things at the time, and I ended up burning the crap out of them. Hey. It happens. Back to Hwy 86S. I've been traveling 86S, from Danville to Chapel Hill, since the late '60's. I loved Chapel Hill and Franklin Street. The Rathskeller. The bookstore that is no more on Franklin. The record store on that side street. I loved the campus of UNC-CH. Chapel Hill is a beautiful place to me. I was very proud and thankful when Daughter Hawthorne went to college at Chapel Hill. That was supposed to be me. Back on topic. Route 86S. We're driving along and I told Mr. Hawthorne I wanted to take a left turn sometime in the near future so's I could photograph a certain building I anticipate every single time on my trips between Danville and Chapel Hill. I spot the turn ahead and tell Mr. Hawthorne in plenty of time. He easily braked and turned left. Unbeknownst to me, but knownst to Mr. Hawthorne, there was an 18-wheeler on our ass. Mr. Hawthorne pulled the truck over to the side of the road and stopped, directly in front of what I wanted to shoot. Mr. H: (Rather frenzied and actually breaking out into a sweat.) Can you just get out and take the damn picture? Rosie: (Opening the door.) Hmmm? What's that smell? Mr. H: (Rather peevishly.) You mean the burning rubber? Rosie: (Quite innocently.) Oh. Is that what that is? What happened? There's some trucker out there who probably has my license plate etched into his brain and, no doubt, some fecal material in the seat of his carefully appointed cab. Hey, TRucker: Don't you be text messaging whilst driving right on my ass. When we pulled back out onto 86 there were about 100 feet of black skid marks zig-zagging across the road, a near jackknife. So, now, on to the place which for 40 years
I've wanted to stop at and shoot pictures and for which, apparently, I had just risked life and limb.
Warren's Store in Prospect Hill, NC. Warren's Store was built in 1858. The post office at Prospect Hill was established in 1823 and on the adjoining lot of the current post office is the building that housed it for more than 100 years - Warren's Store. The old store building still has a corner set aside by Mrs. Geneva Warren that contains the Prospect Hill Postal Museum with all sorts of post office memorabilia - letter scales, records, call letter boxes, receipts, and ancient postal manuals. Also on display is a copy of the pardon given to Franklin Link Warren, postmaster from 1842-1865. The pardon was for having operated the Prospect Hill Post Office under the Confederacy during the Civil War. You GO! Franklin!!
Is this not worth the wait?
Look at this gas tank. And check out the picture in the link from 1940. This tank is the same one as in the old photograph. The tank on the left has been changed. I don't know why I didn't take a close up of the left side gas tank. Oh well, maybe it was because Mr. Hawthorne was constantly telling me to hurry up. On my to do list for next time. Now, another place we wanted to stop at is the blueberry farm on 86. We stopped at the farm last year on September 15 for the first time. I searched for blueberry on my blog and found a blueberry recipe and the Sept. 15 visit to the blueberry farm. Just scroll down on the above link.
A road sign for the blueberry pickin's.
Upon our arrival, we were cheerfully greeted by these friendly signs.
I love admonitions and extraneous punctuation, especially when accompanied by a smiley face.
A welcome and instructions to sign in with name, rank, and serial number. I actually looked around for surveillance cameras.
Ahhh. Trust.
These are the blueberry "bushes." They're 7-8 feet tall.
Ripe blueberries with plenty of green ones. Remember, last year, we picked in mid-September. The blueberries we picked were $2.00 a pound. Usually, they're $4.99 at Food Lion. We tromped through the bushes, sweating like pigs, for about 30 minutes in 93 degree heat to get 5 pounds of blueberries. We were quite proud of ourselves.
Here's Mr. Hawthorne going to slip his $10 bill for a little less than 5 pounds of blueberries. In the tool box. Honor system. This is the south, you know. Next, I wanted to stop at the Citgo station at the Hillsborough light, at the turn off to 70 E. I've stopped here before and wanted to get the sign in the bathroom.
I think this is very admirable. Outside the door, there's a light that will go on, indicating that someone has pushed this button. This is a very clean bathroom and rivals the restrooms at the Outer Banks Welcome Center on Roanoke Island. Now, for the piece de resistance. MOBILE MEXICAN FOOD!
I'd seen this truck on Saturday when we drove to Danville and Mr. Hawthorne would not stop for me to take a picture. Thankfully, it was in the same place Monday when we drove back - at the Citgo station in Hillsborough. And Rosie is curious, as you can well imagine. The name of a business should plainly state what it's about. Sometimes, however, the name is just too much information. I find the name of this particular business, Mobile Mexican Food, somewhat ambiguous. Is the vehicle mobile? (It hasn't moved for 3 days.) Or is the Mexican food mobile? (It will move in 3 minutes.) I didn't care to find out.
Ahh ...
The irony.
After sweating in 93-degree heat for 30 minutes to pick five pounds of blueberries, for $2.00/pound, we stopped at Food Lion in Nags Head, where we found them for $1.88/pound. Such is the life of Rosie.