A few summers ago, I got The Call. No, not my agent, or my publisher, or Ed McMahon from beyond the grave to inform me I’d won an unfathomable amount of cash. It was a Facebook message from an author friend with an invitation to guest on her group’s culinary mystery blog. I accepted on the spot, of course. Then I wracked my brain for a fabulous, no-fail recipe to share…
It’s not that I can’t cook, although my hubs is the chef in our house. It’s just that whatever I make tends to look…not so perfect. Even the sandwiches I packed for my kids’ lunchboxes looked terrible. And then there was the sad, baseball-themed cake I made for my son’s Cub Scout fundraiser, with the frosting that literally pooled on the plate and surrounding table. Nightmare. The woman in charge very kindly bought my tower of goo herself (“Aw, you can tell it’s homemade, hon—I bet it’s delicious”) and ran to hide it in her car.
I decided on a blueberry theme, because I had fond memories of childhood summers spent blueberry-picking in Maine. Also, my daughter who cooks like Julia Child pointed out that I already own matching blueberry dishware (yay, L.L. Bean!). And really, who doesn’t love blueberries? Yum.
After I brought my purple-and-black sundress from the closet (look, Ma, no blueberry stains!), I realized I had a *slight* logistics problem. Although my post would appear in mid-July, it was the beginning of July right then and there were NO blueberries, even at our local grocery store (anything frozen, I figured, would make for terrible blog photos). I even tried our backyard, but alas…those berries were not blue.
Miraculously, I found a U-pick place a few towns south with a sign advertising berries. At the end of the long dirt driveway I stopped at the quaint, American-flag draped barn, snapping blog-worthy photos in the 90-degree heat. Then the farmer appeared with an armload of baskets so I could start picking in a field *just* a short one mile down. I may have almost fainted, a tiny bit. He mentioned he had a few quarts of very blue berries in the barn’s fridge. I thanked him profusely and promised to return the baskets ASAP.
If you’re still with me, I won’t bore you with any stories about my actual cooking challenges. But here’s a photo that may give you an idea of how things went (Note: I now own a black stove.)
I don’t have any gorgeous blueberry recipe photos, but I can share my blueberry drink recipe that is NO FAIL. Hope you enjoy! (Feel free to use frozen blueberries.)
VIOLET BEAUREGARDE’S BLUEBERRY LEMONADE
(The vodka is up to you!)
Prep Time: 20 mins.
½ cup sugar
1 cup blueberries
¾ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ lemon (sliced)
Mint leaves or springs
Water (total 7-8 cups)
INSTRUCTIONS: To make a blueberry simple syrup, stir sugar and 1 cup water together in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 3-4 minutes, until blueberries pop.
Strain blueberry mixture and discard skins. Allow liquid to cool.
In large pitcher, whisk together blueberry syrup, lemon juice and 6-7 cups water. Chill in refrigerator.
Serve over ice. Add a few more blueberries, lemon slices, and mint to each glass, for the perfect photo finish!
Readers, are you a casual cook or does Blake Lively follow you on Pinterest and Insta? (Also, please feel free to share your favorite blueberry treat!)