I usually by grade B maple syrup. It tastes more like maple, and is less sweet.it seems that the grades of maple syrup are changing. I now need to buy grade A, dark with robust taste maple syrup. Hrumpth.
I headed to Noda Farm to pick blueberries. The bushes were laden with fruit and picking was easy. Noda Farm is a lovely place to pick berries because their bushes are large and well kept. Picking is easy because you don’t have to crouch down and the large bushes provide shade. I was able to pick 8.5 lbs of berries in about 45 minutes. I would love to share pictures with you, but my phone was dead.
Back home, the blueberries went into some blueberry jam (9 half-pints), and into a recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait from Cooks Illustrated. I also froze a bunch for pancakes and smoothies this winter.
Blueberries and maple syrup are two New England food trends that I can really get behind.
Some background, Dog Mountain is the former home of Stephen Huneck, an artist that did woodblock prints and sculptures with dog themes. His black Labrador retriever, Sally, featured prominently in his work. He bought land in St Johnsbury Vermont, built studios and a home. He built a dog chapel and designated the land as an off leash dog park. Dog Mountain is pretty darn awesome.
We took the dogs for a long walk around the mountain and found hundreds of blackberry bushes with beautiful, plump, ripe berries. What is a locavore to do? Pick berries into any available container and make blackberry financiers!
Blackberry Financiers (they’re rich!)
7 tablespoon unsalted butter
1¾ cup sliced blanched almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
5 tablespoon flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon almond extract
6 ounce blackberries (or raspberries or blueberries
1. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven
to 400 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin. (I use mini muffins instead.)
In a skillet, heat the butter until it begins to sizzle. Continue to cook over low heat until the edges begin to darken and the butter gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat.
In a food processor, grind the almonds with the granulated and
powdered sugars, the flour and salt. While the processor is running, gradually pour in the egg whites and add the almond extract. Stop the machine, and add the warm butter, pulsing as you pour until the batter is just mixed.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the buttered muffin cups and poke 3
or 4 berries into each cake. Bake for 18 minutes, (14 minutes for mini muffins) until puffy and deep
golden brown. Let stand a few minutes then remove them from the
pan and cool on a rack.
Hamilton falls was very memorable.The falls themselves are lovely and the pools are very deep and good for submersion swimming. There is also a deep grotto to the right of the falls full of smooth river stones. People would pile them up into small cairns and Pidi had a great time knocking the stones off into the water. We ran into a group of girls at summer camp and they fawned all over Pidi and Daisy, giving them pets and treats.
I slipped while playing on the rocks and, in that breath, I was convinced I had broke my foot. My shoe and foot got wedged tightly into the crevasse between two big boulders and I needed to un-velcro my shoe and use two hands to pull the shoe out from between the rocks. I lost most of my toenails, bruised up my toes very badly, but thankfully, was still able to walk. On this trip, that was the only real injury I sustained. I fed a lot of mosquitos and black flies and scraped up my legs and knees climbing up waterfalls to get a better vantage point, but those were relatively minor consequences of being out-of-doors for an extended period.
One of the Campers had a Fuji Instax camera and offered to take a picture of Pidi, Daisy and me. She snapped the picture and, just like the Polaroid pictures of old, out of the camera came an actual, physical, tangible picture. The picture was underexposed and the color was off, but the picture was still meaningful. It was a thing that captured this moment. Yes, I know everyone over 30 years old is aghast – this is how pictures used to be! Yes, I take hundreds of digital pictures, and I share pictures with my friends and family using this site and on Facebook, etc… But this shitty picture, that I was holding in my hand, was a physical manifestation of a moment. AND, I realized, I can’t share that moment with anybody but myself. You can’t post a Polaroid to Facebook or TXT it to a friend. Somehow that made it more special. Souvenir.
After Hamilton Falls, we drove home happy, cool and well-rested. It was a really wonderful trip. I think we will go see more waterfalls in the future. Maybe not 9 waterfalls in 3 days next time…