Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Fall Pumpkin Cake

Posted in baking, recipe on October 24th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last week, my friend, Michelle, celebrated a birthday and I decided to bake her a cake.  Since she has an October birthday, I thought it would only be fitting to make her a pumpkin cake!  It’s been a busy fall and I haven’t been doing much baking so I was looking forward to the opportunity to get my hands messy in the kitchen.

I perused online for recipes and ended up going with a slightly adapted version of Gluten-Free Goddess’ Pumpkin Cake recipe.  She bakes dairy free and I decided to make this cake with dairy products too so I went with butter instead of olive oil.  Also, I was feeling a tad pressed for time so I didn’t make icing from scratch.  I went with Betty Crocker’s cream cheese frosting which is labeled “Gluten Free” on the container.  (Sure, buying store bought icing isn’t as yummy as making your own but it is a way to cut a little time, and dishes, out of your preparation.)

The cake turned out pretty well, and leftovers even held up for a few days afterward.  The only change I would make to my version of the recipe, is not use an entire ½ cup of almond flour.  I like some texture from almond flour but not too much.  I would maybe go with ¼ cup of almond flour and ¾ cup of tapioca instead of ½ and ½.

Fall Pumpkin Cake (adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess)


  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 15-oz can cooked pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 10×13 baking pan.  (Gluten-Free Goddess lines with parchment paper and greases, but I didn’t.)  Mix dry ingredients (white rice flour through salt) together in bowl.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until “light and frothy.” Add the butter, and mix.  Then add brown sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are blended.  Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, a little at a time, and beat to combine, for two minutes.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Once cooled, turn cake onto a platter.  (I actually didn’t use the whole cake for the birthday event because it was so big and wouldn’t fit nicely on my platter.)  Ice the cake with store bought (or homemade) icing and decorate however you’d like.

Enjoy with friends!  It’s plenty for a crowd.  Happy Fall!

More gluten-free buzz in the media

Posted in bakery, baking, GF product, media on October 18th, 2011 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Even NPR is talking about going gluten free!  In this broadcast, Look Whose Going Gluten Free, they discuss a new flour blend created by French Laundry’s pastry chef, Lena Kwak and owned by the famous chef/culinary entrepreneur, Thomas Keller.  Labeled as Cup4Cup this brand is not actually used yet at French Laundry but available for purchase.  Now that a bunch of celebs are going gluten free, it’s only fitting that their becomes a high end niche in the GF market!  You can find C4C yourself at Williams-Sonoma, online and in the store.

Has anyone tried Cup4Cup yet?  Thoughts?

Birthday Celebrations

Posted in baking, cooking, recipe, travel on April 1st, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

The day before the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, I celebrated my (yikes!) 29th birthday.  As I spent the day feeling special, and well loved, we had no idea that in less than 24 hours, natural disaster would occur.  It’s a bit eerie to reflect on my birthday and how wonderful it was and how unaware we were, but I’m thankful we didn’t yet know what was to come.

bday cake2

The morning started in the best way possible, with gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes.  The commissary on base sells Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix so Alden stocked up.  Chip didn’t want any of this nonsense of sugar at breakfast, but Rob, Alden and I enjoyed the yummy pancakes.  At home we use Pamela’s for pancakes, but Bob’s worked really well too.  They were a little thick but Pamela’s can be that way too.  (I prefer my pancakes to be thick and cake like as opposed to thin and crispy.)

Birthday morning hug from Chip

Birthday morning hug from Chip

Rob took Chip to the zoo on my big day so Alden and I had a lovely morning out, shopping at Homes in Yokosuku.  We bought bento boxes, chopsticks, nautical striped shirts (just make sure to buy two sizes bigger) and pencil cases.  Pete accompanied us and did very well on his first shopping spree.  We swung by the naval base on the way home to buy wine, People magazine, M&Ms, and other necessities.

For my birthday dinner, Alden made the most delicious chicken tikka masala.  I’ve mentioned before that chicken tikka masala is one of my favorite meals, but I’ve never made the dish from scratch.  Alden used the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and even put her fish grill to work for cooking the chicken.  Tikka is actually the perfect Japan dinner because it doesn’t require an oven.

bday tikka2

Alden did all of the work and served us a delicious, yummy dinner.  Perfect.  The only thing that made the evening better was dessert!  Alden’s friend Lauren, who lives on base (translation: has an oven) made me a gluten-free birthday cheesecake.  I had only met Lauren once before but she spent an entire morning making me a cake.  Her kindness meant so much to me and the cake was such an unexpected treat.  Needless to say the cheesecake was divine.  Lauren used pecans in the crust which really added a nice texture and distracted from the often dense, gluten-free baking mix.  She used Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for the filling.  (I’m going to get the actual recipe for the crust and filling from Lauren and will report back to you.)  We enjoyed our cheesecake while watching Top Chef. Perfect!

Pete & my birthday cake

Pete & my birthday cake

And, as if all of the festivities weren’t enough, Rob and Alden gave me a wonderful birthday gift.  My very own ramen bowls, chopsticks, and chopstick holders.  It’s fitting that the bowls are decorated with rabbits as 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, marking my historic trip to Japan and the birth of my nephew Peter “Rabbit.”  (Get it?)

bday bowl

Thank you, Alden, Rob, Lauren, Pete and Chip for a wonderful birthday and a great trip to Japan.  I wouldn’t take it back for anything.  Seriously.

PS: After the earthquake, tsunami warning and evacuation, Alden and I decided we should be eating cheesecake at every meal.  So true.

Birthday Chicken Tikka Masala (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)


Chicken Tikka:

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 serrano chile (ribs & seeds removed), fresh minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 20 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

For the chicken, combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing so it sticks to the chicken.  Put chicken on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes.  I a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger.

For the sauce, heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering.  Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add ginger, garlic, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in cream and return to simmer.  Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from oven’s source of heat) and heat broiler.  (Note: for those in Japan, cook chicken in fish grill.)  Using tongs, dip chicken in yogurt mixture, coating chicken in a thick layer of yogurt, and put on wire rack of oven in a foil rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan.  Broil chicken between 10 and 18 minutes, when the thickets parts are 160 degrees.  Flip chicken halfway through cooking.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce.  (Do not simmer chicken in sauce.)  Stir in cilantro, taste, add needed salt, and serve.

A great recipe that is naturally gluten-free, tested by Cook’s Illustrated’s test kitchen, and delicious.  Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies?

Posted in baking, product, recipe on February 28th, 2011 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Last weekend, our neighborhood girl scout stopped by to bring David his Tagalongs.  As he dove right in to the box of chocolate peanut butter goodness, I was reminded of years of Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and Trefoils.

samoa Recently, I haven’t had much time in the kitchen, but my friend Wendy sent me this article, which has me inspired: Make Your Own Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies


Sounds awesome, right?  They have gluten-free recipes for Thin Mints and the equivalent of Do-Si-Dos.  (Do you remember those?)  Yum!  I was disappointed that they didn’t have a recipe for Samoas so I did some sleuthing on my own and found this recipe for gluten-free samoas, on Gluten-Free Betsy.  (Great name!)

thin mints 2

It’s not the same as ripping into the brightly colored box, I’ll admit, but it’s not too bad.  Have you tried making your own version of Girl Scout Cookies?  What’s your childhood favorite?

A Little Thanksgiving Help From Sally’s Bakery

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, event, GF product on November 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Are you hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving this year?  I am!  David’s family is joining us in Atlanta for the holiday and we can’t wait to have a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast in our new house.  While I’m going to make most of the items myself, I’m looking to Sally’s Bakery to supplement my own culinary goodies.  I’ll be ordering their pecan pie and some dinner rolls for our feast and of course sandwich bread for turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving.

Sallys Bakery Logo

Don’t be daunted by the thought of gluten-free holiday entertaining.  Check out what Sally’s is offering for the holidays and make your special orders:

Sally’s Bakery Holiday Menu:

9” Pumpkin Pie – $12.99 – As a holiday staple, this favorite will round out your Thanksgiving meal or make a great breakfast the next day…if it lasts! – Our pumpkin pie is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Owner, Sally Owings, showing off one of her amazing pies

Owner, Sally Owings, showing off one of her amazing pies

9” Pecan Pie – $14.99 – Our best ever pecan pie is a must have in our house.  No one will ever know it’s gluten free.  We’re using fresh south Georgia pecans to top this pleasantly sweet southern favorite. – Our pecan pie is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Cornbread – $9.99 8×8 square – Our cornbread is a gluten free version of our grandmother’s old-fashioned southern recipe made with eggs and buttermilk.  The only thing missing here is the iron skillet!  It’s perfect for making stuffing or toasted with warm soup. – Our cornbread is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Yeast Dinner Rolls – $5.99 package of 6 rolls – These classic yeast dinner rolls will be a great addition to your holiday menu and are sure to melt in your mouth. – Our dinner rolls are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.

These additional offerings will be available from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th by special order.  Place your order by phone, via email, using the contact form, or in person!

And…perhaps some muffins for breakfast later in the weekend:

Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – These moist muffins, made with an applesauce base and a hint of cinnamon, are perfect for anyone who likes a little chocolate in their life.  Vegan chocolate chip so these muffins are dairy free. – also free of gluten, and eggs.  Contains soy lecithin.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – If you’ve had our banana bread, then you’re sure to love these muffins.  They’re made with the same moist and flavorful batter but we’ve added vegan chocolate chips to spice things up! – free of gluten, dairy, and eggs.  Contains soy lecithin.

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – These muffins are similar to our chocolate chip muffins but are more decadent with the addition of good old-fashioned cocoa powder.  Chocolate for breakfast… yes please! – These muffins are free of gluten, dairy, and eggs.  Contain soy lecithin.

Almond Carrot Muffins – $7.99 – These muffins are the only item on our menu completely free of any refined sugar.  They’re similar to carrot cake but much healthier!  With just the right mixture of almond meal, agave, and a hint of cinnamon, they are sure to please your palate. – Our almond carrot muffins are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.

Stay tuned for more details on what I’m making for the holiday!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted in baking, recipe, Uncategorized, vegetarian on November 10th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Yes, it’s pumpkin time again.  It’s been over a week since I last wrote about baking with pumpkin, so it’s time.

pump final

Last week, I went to a South American wine tasting and was given the task of bringing a dessert.  Of course my first idea was, pumpkin cookies!  Sometimes I wonder if I’m pushing too hard on the pumpkin thing: maybe not everyone sees pumpkin as the ideal sweet treat.  But, I went ahead and made the pumpkin cookies.  Sure, it would have been easier to make a batch of Betty Crocker GF brownies, but it’s fall and we need pumpkin.

When I made these cookies, I wasn’t sure what the response would be.  I brought a few to my friend, Jen, who assured me that she liked them.  (I didn’t actually see her eat the cookies though, so I wasn’t sure how truthful this statement was.

So, at the wine event that evening, I was nervous as to how these oddly shaped orange balls would go over with everyone else, especially the guys in the group.  My pumpkin doubts were quickly wiped away, as the pumpkin cookies were devoured.  I would watch a person eat one, then grab another, and a little while later, another.  I couldn’t believe how quickly they were disappearing!  I had to make sure I got my fill of the goodies before they ran out.

Success?  I think so.  They’re not the most beautiful cookies, but they were a crowd pleaser.

pump mixer

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 egg
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1/ cup amaranth flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flours, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder and spices in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (flours, etc.) to creamed mixture; mix well. Add chocolate chips; mix thoroughly.

pump bowl

Drop by teaspoons onto well-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutesor until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets while warm and cool on racks. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!

Note to Gluten-Eaters: If you want to make this recipe with gluten, just use 3 cups of regular flour in lieu of the other flours and omit the xanthan gum.

Any more pumpkin ideas for me?

pump pan

Making Pumpkin Bread with Pamela’s

Posted in baking, recipe, Uncategorized, vegetarian on November 2nd, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Pamela's Baking Mix

I heart Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix.  If you are new to the gluten-free world, Pamela’s is a must-purchase for you.  This is an easy go-to mix for making pancakes, waffles, chocolate chip cookies, and other yummy treats.  The folks at Pamela’s have a great recipe and you can add minimal ingredients to their base mix in order to make a delicious baked good.

David's Saturday morning specialty: Pamela's Pancakes

David's Saturday morning specialty: Pamela's Pancakes

While I love experimenting with my own flour combinations when baking gluten-free, sometimes you just need something quick and easy.  Pamela’s is just that…oh, and it tastes yummy too.  Even my brother, who is the biggest gluten-eater I know, loves homemade chocolate chip cookies with Pamela’s.

pam pump bread 1

Another thing I heart is baking with pumpkin.  Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin bread are all at the top of my list of favorite sweets, especially as we enter the cool weather months.  I find that baking with pumpkin adds moistness (for a lack of a better word) and sponginess to gluten-free treats.  Last week, I wanted to make a quick and easy pumpkin bread and I found this recipe on Pamela’s website.  Perfect!  I didn’t even make the Crumble Nut Topping and it was delicious.  I also like making this pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, if I really want to please my sweet tooth.  Since I was serving the pumpkin bread with soup, I went the more savory route and omitted the chocolate chips.

pamelas pump bre 2

Pumpkin Bread with Crumble Nut Topping

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup of canned pumpkin
1-1/3 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Topping: (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of nuts (sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans)

Beat together butter, sugar, egg, and pumpkin. Add remaining bread ingredients and mix together. Gently mix in chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased loaf pan (8 x 4). Mix nut topping ingredients and smooth evenly over batter to the edges. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or when toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.


Experimenting with a New Granola Recipe…Success!

Posted in baking, recipe, vegetarian on October 28th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Fall reminds me of many things:  My Dutch oven, Roasted Veggies, Chili,  and all things Pumpkin

But the cool weather also makes me think about granola.  Don’t ask me why I make the connection between a specific season and granola because I pretty much eat this yummy snack year round.  I heart granola, in a big way.  I’ve had my go-to granola recipe for awhile, but while David was away last week, I was itching to try out a new recipe.

granola finished

I found a granola recipe in Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day cookbook that implements a distinctly different cooking process than Mark Bittman’s, which I’ve followed in the past.  I was intrigued by the use of maple syrup, and cooking the ingredients on a baking sheet instead of the roasting pan.  (I didn’t feel like digging the roasting pan out of the back of the cabinet.)

granola honey

This recipe might be my new favorite and I plan on making a big batch when David’s family comes to Atlanta for Thanksgiving.  Perfect for a simple breakfast on a day where there will be much eating in the later hours.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, but stuck to the basic methods.  It is delicious, crunchy, and the coating of oil, syrup and honey worked really well.  I’ve been putting my granola in my cereal, on my yogurt, and my new favorite: on Breyer’s Dulce de Leche ice cream.  Amazing!

gran close up fin

Granola Version 2 (Inspired by Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day Cookbook)

Makes about 7 cups


  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (sweetened is fine too)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds, cashews, pecans and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried raisins

Preaheat oven to 275.

Spread the oats, coconut, and almonds on a large baking sheet with sides.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly toasted, but not darkened.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  Remove from oven and transfer ingredients to a large bowl.

granola pre

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray pan with PAM.  Stir maple syrup, honey and oil together in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture and toss to coat evenly.

gran liquid

gran mix

Spread granola greased baking sheet and bake for 22-27 minutes, until the granola is crispy and golden brown.  Stir several time throughout cooking process.

gran baking

Let granola cool completely on the baking sheet, breaking up large clumps before it cools.  Once it has cooled completely, add raisins and cranberries and toss.  Store in an air tight container or freeze.  Enjoy!

Peach & Blueberry Crisp

Posted in Atlanta, baking, cooking, recipe, Uncategorized on June 24th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments


It’s hot in Altanta.  Really hot.  I’m sure there are better ways to describe this weather, but the only word that comes to mind is brutal.  The heat hasn’t broken either.  Despite the mini-rainstorms, it hasn’t been enough to side track these crazy temps.  It continues to be hot…and brutal.

On Monday, after a sweaty afternoon of running errands  (Who knew it could be so sweltering just to run errands??), I came home to find a bag full of Georgia peaches outside my door.  My wonderfully generous friend, Maury, left me this beautiful treat.   What is a better answer to heat and high temperatures than making a peach crisp?


Is it a crisp?  Is it a cobbler?  I’m not really sure.  I tend to use those words interchangeably, but I’m sure there’s a proper distinction.  (I do know, however, that it’s not a pie.)  I created this recipe on the spot and I made sure to write down what I did so I could share it with you.  I love the combination of GF oats and chopped pecans.  It’s the perfect crunchy duo with the soft, tender peaches.  I’ve found in the past that it can be difficult to find the proper ratio between fruit, crisp topping, and butter.  Too much flour and oats, makes it too dry, too much butter makes for a soggy crisp/cobbler.  Sort of like Goldilocks, I want it to be just right.  (Our girl, Goldilocks was eating porridge…Crisp is much better!)


Peach & Blueberry Crisp

  • 8 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • (Really, any combination of fruit works.  These are what I had on hand.)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ T. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 T. cold butter, chopped into cubes

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter an 8 x 8 pyrex dish.

In a bowl, mix peaches, blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar.  (I add the sugar last to eyeball just how much I need.)

In another bowl, mix flours and brown sugar.  Add oats and pecans and mix.  Then add butter and mix with dry ingredients.  (A food processor can be helpful for this step but I was feeling a little lazy.

Pour fruit mixture into Pyrex dish.  Spread evenly throughout dish.  Add flour mixture on top of fruit.  Spread evenly.  (It will look like you have too much but you want it to be thick.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until fruit starts to bubble.  You can make this ahead of time and then just reheat for 10 minutes before serving.  (I think it gets better over time.)



Serve warm.  Of course everything tastes better with vanilla ice cream.  Mmm…just right.


Blueberry Muffins & Childhood Memories

Posted in baking, local food, recipe, Uncategorized on June 1st, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments


Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, my summers were full of adventures outdoors, on both land and water.  At the time I had no idea how unusual it was to have a dock in your back yard that provided hours of entertainment for my brother and me.  We repeatedly threw sticks for Sadie, our chocolate lab, into the creek, watching her belly flop after them.  We caught jelly fish in our crab net, and watched their tentacles dry out on the dock.  Weekends involved day trips on our boat, with the big decision being, “Do we go to the seaside or the bayside?”


We lived in the middle of nowhere.  It took 20 minutes to get to school, to the grocery store, and 90 minutes to reach the nearest mall.  Besides the post office and a boat ramp, the only places within 20 minutes of our house were farms.  One of the summer activities for my brother and me was going to the local blueberry farm just down the road, in Hacksneck.  You could pick your own berries and pay as you picked.  My brother hated blueberries (and most foods besides peanut butter) so the farmer would pay Rob to pick for him.  (There were probably some child labor laws violated in this exchange, but the farmer’s wages seemed like riches compared to the penny my mom paid us for every Japanese beetle we gently picked off of her rose bushes.)  We happily spent an afternoon on the blueberry farm, picking away, until our buckets were full and we grew tired from the summer sun.



This blueberry farm from our childhood still exists today, but has new ownership and a new name, Mason Beach Fruit Farm.  You can still pick and pay for only 75 cents a pint.  That’s quite the bargain.

After our trip to the farm, Mom and I would wash the blueberries and set to work on a batch of blueberry muffins.  It’s funny.  When I was little I loved picking blueberries, and making blueberry muffins, yet I always scoured the batch for the muffin that contained the fewest blueberries.  I preferred the cake aspect of the muffin as opposed to the fruit.  I even remember asking my mom if we could make one in the batch without any berries.  In my old age, my taste buds have thankfully flip flopped and I have grown to love these delicious bites of blueberry goodness.  Now I immediately pick out the muffin that contains the most blue and purple spots before David can select his.


When I saw the first of the season blueberries recently, I immediately thought back to my childhood on the Eastern Shore.  The activities that I associate with this piece of fruit flooded my mind as I planned what to make with the blueberries: Driving down the road to Hacksneck in our very dusty, grey, Chevrolet mini-van. Rob and I riding on the farm’s ATV after we bored of picking berries and grew tired of the heat.  Being in the kitchen with my mom, watching her drink her afternoon tea, while enjoying a blueberry muffin.


How does food make us so nostalgic?  I’m not sure, but I love it.  The memories and emotions that come to mind from seeing a pint of berries are amazing.  What are your favorite summer food memories?

muffins 2

Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s barefoot contessa at home)


  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ tablespoon and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick, unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (plus more if you like to go heavy on the berries)
  • ¾ cup sugar (plus one tablespoon for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tines with paper liners.  Spray with PAM.

Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Stir to make sure they combine well.


In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs and melted butter.  Make a hole in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet mixture into the well and stir until just combined.  Don’t worry if the mix is lumpy.  Add the blueberries and sugar.  Stir gently to combine.



Spoon the batter into muffin cups to fill liners  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Sprinkle on top of each of the muffins.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until you can cleanly pierce with a toothpick.  Makes about a dozen.