I had been in bed since Friday following minor surgery and by last night I was ready to climb out, even if J. and the boys had been spoiling me rotten. I’ll spare you the boring details of my confinement, but it’s fair to say that I never need to watch “Love It or List It” again. I’m not particularly good at being still, and anyway my sunny little yellow kitchen missed me.
I’ve never been so happy to put together a simple dinner. I set Pandora on the Americana station and got started roasting some baby eggplant. I sliced them in half and tossed in olive oil and kosher salt, and served them with a quick coconut tomato curry sauce. The curry sauce went well the nutty flavor of the eggplant, and the boys enjoyed scooping the eggplant out of the skins with little spoons. After dinner, I still had so much energy I decided to throw together an easy dessert for the boys as a reward for their weekend nursing rotation. Lucky for the boys, their parents “conscious uncoupling” from sugar and grains doesn’t apply to them.
Summer fruit is at its peak here. Our last CSA delivery included a watermelon, a French charentais melon, 6 peaches and a pint of blackberries. We ate the watermelon the day I brought it home — there is nothing better than fresh from the field watermelon – and J. is infusing some vodka with the charentais (more on that in a future post). That left me with the peaches and blackberries, which work nicely together in this recipe for blackberry peach crisp.
This is another awesome recipe for the baking challenged – small effort, big results. There’s not much to making it. Basically you just toss some fruit together, crumble a few ingredients up in some butter or coconut oil, cover the fruit with the crumbled mixture , and bake. That’s it. The payoff is a balanced, delicious dessert – sweet but not too sweet – that fully highlights the summer perfection of ripe peaches and berries.
H.T., my seven-year-old, has been taken to joining me the in the kitchen this summer. I’m not sure if he’s more interested in the cooking or in hanging out with his mom, but either way I’m pleased to have him with me. My own mother didn’t spend much time in the kitchen, but she had a way of letting my brothers and me know that she was happiest when when we were next to her, no matter what she was doing. So when H.T. wants to cook, I make room and hand him a spoon. I love watching him take joy in the littlest things – the smell of nutmeg, using a knife for the first time (a dull one) to slice peaches, the feel of the flour and sugar in the coconut oil.
A couple of notes about this recipe: the blackberries could be replaced with almost any other berry, and the peaches could be replaced by nectarines or even plums. Recommended cook time is 30 minutes, but you’ll know the crisp is done when the edges begin to bubble.
- 2 cups blackberries (about a pint)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 cups sliced peaches or nectarines (3-6, depending on size)
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ¼ cup butter, softened, or coconut oil for vegan (solid, not liquid)
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place blackberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch; toss until blackberries are coated. Carefully stir in sliced peaches.
- Pour fruit into ungreased 8x8 square baking dish. Mix brown sugar, whole wheat flour, oats, butter or coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg until crumbly; sprinkle over fruit.
- Bake about 30 minutes or until fruit begins to bubble and topping is golden brown.