WRITTEN ON August 20th, 2011 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Baking, Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit

I am headed to the east end of Long Island for one last summer trip.  I have spent a decade of summers in Westhampton Beach, the first town in the Hamptons (and so un-Hampton-y that they actually don’t even list it on the map in most Hamptons publications). This year, hubby and I decided we’d like to venture further east, all the way out to Montauk, or, as the locals know it, The End.

Not being a native Long Islander, I’ve only been to Montauk twice, for afternoon trips. I have had the great good fortune to have other places to call home in the summers, but it’s always fun to try something new. Word around town is that Montauk is a pretty special place. I can’t wait to find out why.

Now that we live on Long Island, we wanted to try somewhere out east that truly felt far away.  Westhampton is wonderful, but at just an hour from our house, it almost feels too close for a real vacation. The rest of the Hamptons were not on our radar.  We wanted a laid back atmosphere, not the scene that Southampton, Bridgehampton and East Hampton provide. In my humble opinion, a beach vacation has no business mixing with fashion, nightlife, and $10 iced lattes.

Montauk is a vastly different place than the rest of the Hamptons.  You can feel it the minute you cross over. All of a sudden the land goes from flat, sandy farmland to craggy, windswept cliffs and water on all sides, watched over by Montauk Light. The vibe is decidedly surfer meets bayman, a relaxed kind of place where you could easily head to dinner in shorts and flip flops, with sand still in your hair.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to is my annual hunt for east end farm stands. The produce in that area cannot be beat, and this is peak season. The north and south forks are littered with small farms, so the entire drive is dotted with family run farm stands brimming with tomatoes, corn, peaches, melons and blueberries. It’s a locavore’s dream come true, and yet another reason why it’s good to be a Long Islander.

I am always inspired to bake at this time of year, mainly due to the gorgeous fruit that only gets better with a little heat from the oven and a dusting of sugar. Perhaps I’ll try out this blueberry bread again. I made it last week and between my mother-in-law, my husband and myself, it was devoured in a day and a half.

This vacation is a special one.  My mother-in-law has been valiantly battling stage IV colon cancer for two years, and we’ve decided she needs a break.  So we’re packing up and heading east for a week of sun, fun, and most importantly, family.  Arriving today will be a car full of five Syracuse Shanleys, three Shanleys from the city, and the hubster and I with the guest of honor. The week culminates in a much anticipated family wedding on Shelter Island, complete with cousins, aunts and uncles. Sounds like the perfect way to wrap up the summer.

Berry, berry good

Citrus Blueberry Bread
This recipe was adapted from a quick bread recipe in The Joy of Cooking
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 6 cup loaf pan
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 lemon
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl, combine milk, oj, and zest. In a large bowl on high speed, mix together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Alternating, add flour mixture and milk mixture, in 3 parts each. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries and pecans.  Pour batter into prepared pan, bake in oven about 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out on a baking rack to finish cooling, about 1 hour.

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