On Saturday I volunteered at a chili cookoff fundraiser for Special Olympics. August might seem like the least chili-friendly of all the months, but the air was downright brisk this weekend for some reason. So that was good. I sold tasting kits (comprising a spoon, a napkin, and a stack of platic cups) for a while, then helped at the official judging booth, making sure the judges all had their forms and pencils and palette-cleansing stuff. The chili all but ran out with two hours left, so I think it must have been a success.

Yesterday morning I made blueberry pancakes for the first time. They were delicious, but kind of tricky. The berries kept breaking, leaking sticky juice into the skillet, which made subsequent pancakes progressively harder to make. A few of the berries totally disintegrated into purple craters. I think the problem was that the batter was too thin. It would puff up with cooking of course, but it never got as tall as the berries, so when I flipped it over, the berries had a lot of contact with the pan and ended up bursting. So I got the idea of adding batter to that side: just before flipping, pour a little batter onto the skillet (not quite half as much batter as for an actual pancake), and then flip the berry-laden pancake onto the fresh puddle. If it’s done right, the main pancake spreads the puddle out to its edges, adding a thin layer that’s just enough to seal in the berries. It makes the cakes a bit thicker than they would have been, but that’s how they need to be.

Then last night, Laura made this amazing red pepper cream soup. This could become a staple. It calls for heavy cream, added at the end, but it tasted great even before we added the cream, so we might use less next time. Let me know if you want the recipe.

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