7.20.2019

Once in a Blue Moon

Mark and I lived in Maine for 10 years. Literally, it was 10 years to the day.

We moved in with great excitement on a sunny October day in 1995, and exited hastily on a cloudy, rainy October day 10 years later, wind whipping all around as if pushing us southward over the bridge. We headed happily to our sunny new life in Tucson.

As much as we love where we live now, we also loved living in Maine, in our 1806 Cape Cod-style house, with its expansive lawn and beautiful cottage garden.

Just recently, we returned to visit the New England Seacoast over the 4th of July. We were there briefly and remembered how much we enjoyed our years there, how quaint the colonial villages and seaports are, and especially how much we miss our friends.

We got together with several, but missed seeing others - we will need to remedy that soon with another trip.

Similar to our home here in Tucson, it was a place we loved having our friends “from away” come to visit. As you can imagine, I loved to cook for everyone.

It was the kind of home people dream of when envisioning life in a small New England coastal town. Cozy living rooms with welcoming fireplaces, a country kitchen, a candlelit dining room, and comfortable, welcoming beds tucked under the steep roof.

The gardens were quite beautiful in their seasons. On our recent holiday, there was a lot of wistful reminiscing. It’s easy to forget the misery of winter when you visit for a couple of beautiful summer days...

We spoke of several recipes that were inherently tied to the region: lobster and clams and tiny Gulf-of-Maine shrimp, of course. Also, in high summer, anything involving blueberries. Today’s is one such recipe - one I made often for hot sticky summer evenings.

Once in a blue moon, we make this soup, as we like to keep it special. And, speaking of "once in a blue moon," can you believe we are at the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing? I remember watching it with my brothers late at night on a small black and white television.

Back to the soup.... it is good as a starter or a dessert, and it brings together seasonal berries, lavender from the garden, and syrup from the late-winter’s sugaring of the maples.

~ David

Blueberry-Lavender Soup
Adapted from Cooking in the Shaker Spirit, by James Haller

2 pints blueberries
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds
1 cup light cream
1 cup buttermilk


Wash the berries and combine them with the maple syrup and lemon juice in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes. Let cool, then purée in a blender, and strain into a large bowl.

While the blueberries are cooking, place the lavender buds and the cream in a 2-cup, microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then let the lavender steep at room temperature for 10 minutes. Add the buttermilk and chill. It will basically become crème fraîche.

When berries are cool, strain the cream mixture into the strained blueberries and mix well.

Chill for at least 4 hours prior to serving. Serves 4-6. 





40 comments:

  1. Loved this post! Your photos of your house, memories of the moon landing (my mom was worried we were staying up too late!), and this beautiful recipe. Thank you!

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    1. My pleasure! It is always fun to share memories like these

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  2. Blue soup. Blue boats. And both look like postcards! Which one of you is Currier and which one Ives? GREG

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    1. We take turns, Greg! Thanks for your kind words. The blue boats was one of my favorite photos pre-digital. The original now hangs in my favorite fish monger's shop - Sue's Seafood in Kittery, Maine!

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  3. What a fantastic photo - no, series of pictures each one with a memory going back to a previous page of life. Thank you! I know Maine but from pictures and am myself comfortable with a fusion of ultra-modern Italian and Japanese, but so see the charm and the atmosphere which was yours for a decade. Your blueberry soup does not need to be eaten - it is so,so elegant just for a look ! Blueberries are SO expensive here: often six dollars plus for a cupful . . . but would love to create and, in season, shall try . . .

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    1. Eha - I had no idea blueberries were so expensive there! It's funny the things we take for granted... Glad you enjoyed the photos in this post!

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    1. Thanks! SO curious about the Twin Cooking Project!

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  5. We both enjoy edible flowers and this is on our priority list definitely, David ! Thank you for beautiful photos. Pinned !

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  6. Oh David the cottage you had in Maine looks divine. That garden! And I see it was number 9, as was the house Dean and I just sold for our move into the mountains west of Sydney.

    I'm imagining the flavour of this soup, along with its liveliness and how refreshing it must taste. That colour!

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    1. John - I noticed your number 9 when I looked at the photos of your home for sale. Both yours and ours were sweet little cottages... I can't wait to see your new home in the mountains... sounds just lovely!

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  7. Wow, this looks SO GOOD! Thank you, David.

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  8. What a gorgeous home and garden! It must have been hard to leave it all, but I "get" moving for the weather. My daughter is in Nantucket right now and sending me photos of beautiful purple hydrangeas everywhere! Which brings me to your soup: I adore its color! What a lovely soup to serve when we have hot summer days! Beautiful, as always, David!

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    1. While we loved it, it was fun and exciting to be moving someplace new. And our home here is as lovely (to us) as the one in Maine... just very different!

      Thanks for the likening to the color of hydrangeas - one of my favorite summer flowers in New England!

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  9. David, what a beautiful soup and such wonderful flavors! Maine looks so gorgeous. And such a beautiful home. Such lucky guests and friends you must have cooked for over the years.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - Maine was beautiful. We were very lucky! I think it would be worth trying to grow capers in Dubai - they would just need to be kept moist with the intense heat you have!

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  10. I always love seeing your pictures, reading the stories to accompany them and your recipes. They brighten my day. Best to you and Mark. Maria

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    1. Thank you so much, Maria - such a sweet and thoughtful comment! xo

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  11. I often forget that soups can also be served as a dessert- this certainly does look lovely!There is a lot of lavender growing around my neighborhood- I wonder whether I could pick the flowers and buds and dry them myself in my dehydrating machine?

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    1. Fran - I have actually made this with fresh lavender, You just need to use a lot more than with dried buds.

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  12. Dear David, what a lovely walk down memory lane, with all those amazing pics and an exceptional recipe! Your house, your rooms and your furniture look exactly what I would love to be at/live in for a while...:)
    Thank you for sharing, my friend!
    Liebe Grüße aus dem sehr sonnigen und sehr warmen Bonn!
    Andrea

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    1. Thanks, Andrea - always fun to share photos. Maybe soon I should share pics of our current home!

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  13. Maine is such a nice place. All of New England, really. My favorite landscape is probably the Hudson Valley of NY, but New England is close. Anyway, super nice recipe -- nicely balanced flavors. Way too good to be eaten only once in a blue moon! Speaking of which, there's a Blue Moon cocktail that's really worth trying.

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    1. It's funny, John - I moved to Maine form the Hudson Valley - which I also loved and have a nice place there near Albany.

      I need to check out your Blue Moon cocktail!

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  14. David, loved this post! Made me feel homesick for a place I've never been! So beautiful, but oh my, I couldn't take the brutal winters. Your soup looks fabulous. Must make it soon.

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    1. What a sweet thing to say, Jean - the brutal winters, though, are the biggest reason we left. Also our need for more sunshine!

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  15. You know I actually put try some cold soups on my todo list this summer! Alas, halfway through, there has been no progress :( . I'll just have to add this to my "recipe hope chest"

    Your Maine pictures are lovely--they really give a sense of place!

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    1. So many of my friends dislike cold soups - I love them in the summer!

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  16. What a lovely house you had in Maine, and what a gorgeous garden! I've been working on ours, still a work in progress. Gets a bit better each year, as I learn what thrives in what spot, and what doesn't. Hope to reach your heights one of these days...

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    1. Frank - your gardens are quite beautiful! I have seen them on FB - and love your new Buddha (although at first I thought you were pointing out a new hummingbird feeder!!).

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  17. What a fantastically wonderful soup this must be, fragrant and fruity, yum! I have always wanted to visit Maine, you have made it sound and look so pretty.

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    1. We did love Maine, and it is lovely to visit there in late spring through early autumn!

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  18. From landing on the moon, to your beautiful Maine garden and cozy rooms, there are so many lovely memories here. And what an interesting, pretty and delicious recipe!

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    1. I think you would like it, Valentina - especially as you love to cook with fruit!

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  19. David, what a beautiful home you had in Maine! It's always good to go back to a previous place of residence and have a chance to reminisce and catch up with loved ones. This soup reminds me of my time in Sweden as I had chilled blueberry soup when I was there! I'd love to go back one day. Happy to have your gorgeous recipe for this soup in the meantime :)

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    1. How fun, Marcelle! I don't know anyone else who has had a chilled blueberry soup!

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