Cooking for family is stressful. I don’t know if it’s because they put too much pressure on me, or I put too much pressure on myself, or if it’s just all in my head. But when it comes to cooking for family, there is undeniable failure. I forget everything, it’s as if I’ve never cooked before. Simple mistakes are made. I once made mashed potatoes that were more like a soup because I continued to add milk. I once made a cake with gummy lumpy icing (tasted good, looked awful) because I couldn’t take the time to make it right. There are meals and dishes I make when it’s just my husband and I that are amazing. I cook without concern, adding a sprinkle of this and that, never being able to replicate it again. I was testing a chicken tikka masala dish the other day that I choked up to a complete failure. I diligently took notes and photographed the steps until it was supposed to be finished, tasted and nearly cried. I kept adding things, cream, spice, tomato paste, completely forgetting to measure to record. The result was the most authentic tasting tikka masala any Polish girl could have pulled off. Without pressure I can do magic, but I have yet to do justice to a dish if family is around.
The two biggest food items I took away from Maine were blueberries and honey. One of the winemakers we visited noted, “We’re in Maine, so there’s practically a law that blueberries need to be in everything.” Both were everywhere. I was very disappointed to learn when we got there that Maine’s blueberry season starts in August, meaning no fresh blueberries or blueberry picking for me. But I still tried to indulge when I could–blueberry jam, blueberry ice cream, even blueberry butter at the Lucerne Inn! I did pick up some blueberry honey at the Blue Hill Food Co-op, but stayed away from the blueberry syrup (I’ll stick with good old maple syrup, thank you).
So, when I got back to Brooklyn, I still had blueberries on the brain. Plus, I recently read Romancing the Bees blog post about honey cupcakes. I was inspired. Honey’s tasty and blueberries are pretty awesome, how good could they be together? So I experimented and whipped up some pretty tasty blueberry cupcakes with blueberry honey icing, kind of a last goodbye to our vacation in Maine.