|How did we fit in there?|
Each with our own pail, Deeds and I lumbered out of the truck and agreed on who would pick where - she on one side of a row of bushes, me on the other. Our chatter quickly faded under the hot sun as we applied ourselves to the task at hand. Our intermittent exchanges dealt primarily with musing over where we’d last placed our water bottle or the precise nature of what either of us had just felt crawl across our feet while we stood knee-deep in a thicket in flip flops. Deeds gifted me with one of the best belly laughs I’ve enjoyed in a long time when she shrieked unintelligibly and bolted from the thicket swearing at an errant branch that tickled her arm, feeling ominously like a spider. We frequently wiped sweat from our brows and felt our shirts cling to our backs. We heard frogs splash in the nearby pond and listened to their throaty belches echo across the water. The sharp ping of blueberries hitting our pails’ bottoms soon turned into a soft patter as the fruit’s harvest deepened with our efforts. We tuned into the earth’s summertime song of buzzing insects, inquisitive birds and leaves rustling as an afternoon thunderstorm approached warning us to finish our work quickly. It was a hot, dirty job but more than worth the effort expended. Laboring in comfortable silence alongside my daughter was as good to me as the awesome cupcakes I baked later.
Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
For the cupcakes:
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1 ⅛ cups + 1 tsp sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line muffin tin with foil or paper muffin sleeves.
Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 tsp sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon or potato masher. Cook until the berries have broken down and the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Let cool to room temperature.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and remaining sugar together in a medium bowl until thick. Whisk in melted butter and oil until just combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until just combined. Fold egg mixture and remaining cup of blueberries into the flour mixture until just moistened. Batter should be lumpy so be careful not to overmix.
Divide batter equally across prepared muffin cups, filling each cup entirely. Spoon a scant teaspoonful of cooked blueberry mixture into the center of each cup of batter. Bake until golden and slightly firm, about 18 minutes.
For the frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 generous pinch salt.
Combine butter, sugar and salt, mixing well. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Beat on high speed of electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Frost cooled blueberry cupcakes.
And finally, a haiku plucked on that day -
berry picking -
my daughter wishes