Sunday, September 27, 2009

Of Baseball and Blueberries


Early autumn is a bittersweet time for me. As the shadows grow longer and the days shorter, two of my favorite things disappear. In Chicago, the baseball season almost inevitably ends abruptly, this year being no exception with my beloved White Sox limping to a third place finish. The departure of the other is far more subtle. At this point in the season, the blueberries become smaller and smaller like they’re disappearing right before our very eyes.

As I sit in the Sox’s stadium on a beautiful fall afternoon, enjoying the last hot dog and beer at the last home game, I know it’s over. The boys of summer soon to disband and disperse to sunnier climes like the geese in their chevron formation. Some will return, while others will never again wear the team’s uniform. Ken Burns remarked in his magnificent documentary about the American pastime that Baseball “follows the seasons beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime and ending with the hard facts of autumn.”

While the baseball season is over for me – I have only a bystander’s interest in the do-si-dos of the Fall Classic – the blueberry’s season can thankfully be extended. When we need a bit of summer, the 5 pound box of blueberries that I froze about a month back can satisfy. Frozen blueberries are quite good in muffins, pancakes, smoothies and tarts. This recipe is a family favorite using whole grain flour and honey instead of sugar.

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes
Makes 6 pancakes

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk, well shaken
2 tablespoons buckwheat honey
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup blueberries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Combine flours, baking powder and kosher salt in a medium size bowl. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, honey, egg and butter and whisk to combine. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Heat the remaining butter in a skillet or on a griddle over medium heat. Drop approximately 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until golden brown. Enjoy with maple syrup.


Kid Cooking Tips
This is another recipe in which kids can participate in all of the steps. In fact, my son particularly loves to flip the pancakes.

Buckwheat flour from Neighboring Farms
Buttermilk from Farmers Creamery
Buckwheat honey from Heritage Prairie Market
Egg from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm
Butter from Organic Valley
Maple syrup from Burton's

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