Baking on Friday: Blueberry Crisp

Wow!  It's been an "In The Kitchen" kind of morning, but only because I got a head start on dinner and because I made not one, but two desserts.  When I started the "Baking on Friday" segment, I said (to myself, at least) that I would only make dessert on the first Friday of the month.  The rest of the time I was going to make something more on the order of breads or rolls . . . things I wouldn't end up wearing permanently.  And then the berries came into season.  I.  Love.  Berries.  I never met a berry I didn't like.  So, how can I resist?  Wouldn't it be just crazy to resist?  I'm glad you agree.

My plan was to make a blueberry cobbler this morning, but then I couldn't find the recipe I'd set aside.  (I found it when I cleaned up all the stray newspapers, receipts, magazines, opened envelopes, etc., that had congregated on our breakfast bar.)  So, I went back to my massive (and I do mean "massive") recipe file and found something else I could do with the blueberries.  I was happy to have a crisp recipe that used oatmeal.  Many crisp recipes use nuts or some other kind of thing to make the crispy part of the crisp.  I think a crisp can't be a proper crisp without oatmeal.  I'm sure you'll agree with me about that too.

This recipe first appeared in the July, 2000, issue of Cooking Light magazine.  (Does the fact that it appeared 11 years ago give you some idea what I mean when I say my recipe file is "massive"?)  I like it because it doesn't use too much sugar or fat.  Coming from Cooking Light, that makes sense.  Also, it doesn't make enough to feed an army.  I picked up one of the two pound tubs of blueberries in the grocery store.  The Oregon blueberries won't be ready until next month.  You mix just two tablespoons of brown sugar in with the berries, and a half cup of brown sugar into the crisp topping.  There is also 4 1/2 tablespoons of butter in the topping.  Not too bad when you consider it's eight servings.  Also, I liked it because you can use any kind of berry in exchange for the blueberries.  Cherries and blackberries would work, or you could mix all three.  Now I'm looking forward to this evening when we'll serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But if you're trying to keep the fat content down more scrupulously than I am, you can substitute frozen yogurt too.

So after I got the crisp in the oven, I made more custard and more strawberry goo for homemade strawberry ice cream.  I made some last week, and it was sooooo yummy.  I've nearly gone through an entire flat of strawberries now.  This is my second round of strawberry ice cream.  I also tried combining the strawberries with a white chocolate ice cream recipe I found.  That wasn't as good as the straight strawberry ice cream, and so I won't do it again.  The problem was that the melted chocolate hardened again while I was cooling the ice cream mixture.  That gave it a grainy texture.  Since you can't freeze the mixture while the chocolate is still melted (because it's too hot), I'm not sure how that recipe could ever work.  It was worth a try, however, and it hasn't stopped us from eating it.

What else have I done with the strawberries?  I made a Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, another recipe from Cooking Light.  I really like this one.  It's made with Romaine lettuce, slivered almonds, and strawberries.  The dressing has only a few ingredients, and it goes together fast!  It's a good way to get your kids to eat salad. 

And I made strawberry shortcake.  I like the little shortcakes made from Bisquick best.  I just hull and coarsely chop the strawberries and let them macerate with some sugar, then serve them over the warm-from-the-oven shortcakes and a dollop of Redi-whip.  Yum.

I have a few strawberries left, so tomorrow I'll make some strawberry sorbet.  After that, I think I will have worn both of us out on strawberries.

Also, I got a head start on dinner by putting together my cucumber salad.  I make it the way Mike's grandmother made it.  I like the English cucumbers because they are pretty much seedless and I don't have to peel them.  I slice them thin and layer them with thinly sliced red onion.  Then I make a dressing from a cup of sour cream (light sour cream works too), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of water.  This makes a fairly fluid consistency, but if you like it thicker, you can halve the amounts of the sugar, vinegar, and water.  The amounts aren't so important as the 1:1:1 ratio.  It's best if it sits for a couple of hours, but you can eat it right away too. 

Now I'm ready to do something else.  I walked with my friend, Sue, this morning, and so I'm feeling pretty sticky now that I'm covered in eggs, sugar, cream, and fruit juice.  It's probably time to hit the shower.

1 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Apple crisp for snack tasted pretty good altho too sweet. I will halve the sugar and add oatmeal and cinnamon to the other pkg of topping I picked up at the cheap grocery store the other day.