Well, the countdown to the dreaded day-after-Labour-Day finally begins.
Time is running out to rush off to a park or the beach (where I’ve been spending my free time) with friends and a bottle of wine to soak up the sunshine!
Now, I’m no bronzed goddess, but I’m proud to have gone from nigh-translucent to not-the-palest-person-in-the-room anymore. This is serious cause for celebration in my ever-pasty world, okay?
Getting the living hell burned out of me in early June gave me a nice head-start on a bit of colour (or skin cancer, sheesh), which then became a sound byte for a cross-national newscast last night.
See if you can spot me in this video!
It happened when my friend, Laura, and I were walking along Kits beach a few days ago. We spotted a cameraman and interviewer duo, but a lot of passersby were shying away from camera… Laura included!
But you can always count on me to be the one jumping up and down, screaming, “I’VE GOT AN OPINION AND I THINK EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR IT!”
That’s how I became a hockey-talkin’ sound byte during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, too. It was kind of funny, considering that originally the camera crew were only asking men for their opinions on the big hockey games.
I totally stepped forward and was all like, “I’LL TELL YOU HOW OUR GOALIE CAN GET ‘ER DONE!”
Sure, it might sound arrogant, but I’m totally convinced that I’ve got the best thoughts ever. I never get bored — I love the inside of my head!
Like slipping a little bit of fresh thyme into lemon-blueberry crumb bars?
Um, yeah — from the mind of a someday culinary genius, my friends!
Blueberry-Lemon Crumb Bars
*adapted from Bar Cookies: A to Z
Lemon Cookie Crust
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 ~ 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 cups blueberries, washed and dried
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh (or 2 teaspoons dried) thyme
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ~ 3 drops lemon extract
Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or tinfoil.
First, make the lemon cookie crust: rub the fresh lemon zest and two tablespoons of white sugar with your fingertips until incorporated. Sift together the all-purpose flour, lemon sugar, and salt. Drop in the cubes of cold butter and, using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the sifted ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Use a wooden spoon to stir in the egg yolk, lemon extract, and lemon juice. Work the ingredients together for a couple minutes — it will still be crumbly.
Turn the crumbly dough out into the prepared pan, then use the back of a spoon or spatula to press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Next, make the blueberry-thyme layer: sift together the flour, white sugar, and fresh thyme, then roll the blueberries in the sifted ingredients. Pour the coated blueberries and excess dry ingredients over the lemon cookie crust, distributing as evenly as possible.
Finally, make the crumb topping: stir the softened butter and brown sugar together. Add the flour to the creamed butter and sugar, and, working with a fork, blend everything together to form coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the blueberry layer.
Bake at 400°F/205°C for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for an additional 25 ~ 30 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.
Once cool, make the lemon glaze: in a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar, cream, lemon juice, and extract together until no large lumps of icing sugar remain. Drizzle over the crumb topping.
Dust with icing sugar and cut that big sheet of blueberry treat into bars!
Of course, having a leg up from a remarkably tasty blueberry crop helps when it comes to making the most excellent treats. Pick the plumpest, juiciest, sweetest berries you can find and this recipe will be magic.
These bars are good while still warm, but their taste improves when chilled overnight.
Since it’s summer, I like to enjoy cool blueberry-lemon crumb bars with a tall glass of iced Earl Grey tea! Yum!