Monday, June 6, 2011

Blue Ridge Love

In short, we were just too far away. Too far from most family. Too far from too many friends. Too far from GREEN.

So, we moved. Because we could.

We're now on a knoll on the windward side of the Blue Ridge mountains. Simply put, it is Eden. Lush, green, teeming with life, color, and sounds,

the move was the perfect antidote to the hot, dry, scorching, distant
southwestern locale we moved from. We have so many birds, so many small critters, deer, trees, plants and flowers that evolve from day to day, bloom, wither, lie down to cycle again next year. Set among tall, tall oaks, the house is cradled into the landscape. So many more stars are visible at night, so many colors nuanced in the sunrises and sunsets that come and go in the mountain mists.Where else would anyone want to be?

(We're only 3 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway! The photo above is close to milepost 68. The photo above left is near milepost 59. It's heaven to be so close to it!) Below, left to right: Phlox in our backyard, the Maury River nearby, dogwoods on the property.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shades of Summer: Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler: A summer favorite. At least at our house. It doesn't take a summer day for us to break out the blackberries, either. Warm from the oven, with a big dollop of Ben and Jerry's Vanilla atop it, it is a rich and satisfying treat.


1 full quart fresh blackberries -OR- 2 bags frozen blackberries
Zest from 1/2 an orange -OR- 1 tsp. grated orange peel, soaked in 2 tblsp. orange juice for 20 minutes
1 cup sugar
3 tblsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix berries and next four ingredients together and pour into a well-buttered oven proof 2 qt. casserole dish or deep 7 x 11 pan. Dot with 2 or 3 tblsp. butter, and set aside while making the dough for the topping.

2 cups flour, sifted with:
3 tsp. baking POWDER
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tblsp. powdered sugar

1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup PLUS 2 tblsp. milk

Blend the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 knives (as for pie pastry) until the mixture appears mealy. Add milk, mixing gently by hand, to form a soft, rough dough. Drop by tablespoons onto berries, covering them completely to the edges of the pan. DO NOT COMPRESS DOUGH.

Bake at 375 degrees (Farenheit) for 40 -45 minutes or until topping is pale golden brown. Let stand at least 20 minutes after baking, then serve with ice cream.

Serves 4 to 6, easily.