Aren’t we lucky to live in Maine? Not only do we have the best seafood in the country, ever-growing numbers of farmers’ markets, great artisan bread, hand-made cheeses and locally raised meats and more. To top it all off, we have blueberries – our very own wild, low-bush blueberries, the best in the world. AND we can still buy quarts of the hand-picked beauties at honor stands!

We appreciate our bounty, and must do our part by eating as many blueberries as possible during their month-long season. Here are a couple of ways to aid in that cause.

MAGNIFICENT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

I’ve been making these blueberry muffins for years. Somehow, the formula – ratio of butter, eggs, berries, a bit of brown sugar – results in absolutely scrumptious muffins every time.

Makes 12 large muffins.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk, whole or low-fat

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-mold muffin tin (1/2-cup capacity) with oil spray, or line cups with paper liners and spray liners.

In a large medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to push the flour-sugar mixture through the sieve into the bowl. (This removes any lumps from the brown sugar.)

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour egg mixture in, and stir gently just until flour is moistened. (Do not over-mix; the batter should still look slightly lumpy.) Fold in the blueberries. Divide evenly among the muffin cups, filling about three-quarters full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 22 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be frozen in Ziploc freezer bags for up to one month.)

MARKET SALAD WITH BLUEBERRIES AND LOCAL CHEVRE

The flavors, textures and colors in this lovely combination salad play off each other so well – you’ve got the crunch of greens and snap peas, the sweetness of berries and maple, the salty smokiness of nuts and the tang of cheese. It makes a wonderful first course.

Servings: Four.

4 handfuls of mixed mesclun greens

24 small sugar snap peas, strings removed (see note)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup smoked salted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled local goat cheese

About 1/4 cup shallot vinaigrette (see below)

1 teaspoon maple syrup

On a large platter or on individual plates, spread out the greens to make a bed. Arrange snap peas over and scatter with the cranberries, blueberries, almonds and cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette and maple syrup. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Note: If the sugar snap peas are large, cut them in half on the diagonal.

SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or a combination of olive and vegetable oils

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, shallots, mustard and salt. Whisk in the oil. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake or whisk again before using.

 

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Dishing Up Maine” (Storey Publishing 2006) and “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.