It’s the picture that will make us laugh in deepest February, the picture that will sum up Summer 2014, the one that spells our family in a nutshell (and I mean that) and keeps us looking forward to every time we have the chance to be together.
You know those family stories where you can’t really tell truth from fiction anymore? This is one of them. “The Tall Tale of the Ice Bag.” Yes, it has our name in the handle (and also in the inside of the bag, but that’s not important). It’s one of the LL Bean bags we bought years ago in Maine at the outlet store, a store full of bags with mistaken monograms, mistaken names, or just monograms and names of people who forgot to pick up their orders. I think this one says “Dylan.” Did John give it to Joel? Did Joel experience an understandable moment of bag envy and simply walk off with it? The matter has been thrashed out in every possible way, with both men clinging in a completely incomprehensible way to this piece of canvas.
Finally, with the wave of a Sharpie, Joel solved the mystery once and for all.
Molly, in the background, smiled her approval.
This was our Sunday, a perfect scrambled egg-bacon brunch with my sister’s family, Jill herself coming armed with her own “Awesome Blueberry Muffins.” They were.
Jill’s Awesome Blueberry Muffins
(makes 16 )
3 cups/378g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup/200g white sugar
4 oz/113g butter
zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 cup/250ml sour cream or creme fraiche
1/2 cup/125ml milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the first four ingredients with a fork. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the zest and oil and beat until mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each. Stir in the sour cream. milk and extracts until well-mixed.
Pour half the dry mixture into the wet and fold just until mixed. Add the second half of the dry mixture and stir gently until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries and spoon into muffin tins lined with muffin paper.
Bake at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes, until browned.
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