Real Food for Real Life

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer bounty...

 Blueberry and Nectarine Crisp
with vanilla ice cream

Yesterday was pretty dismal around here...dreary, humid, and threatening to rain the whole day (the rain held off UNTIL Ben stepped outside to use the gas grill and then the sky opened up).  Not feeling up to time outside, but not particularly motivated to dive into my list of projects (sigh), I decided to just spend the day puttering around he kitchen, and I'm so glad I did.  Summer offers and abundance of fresh and delicious produce to create with, with seemingly endless possibilities and variations.

I made cucumber salad again, which Christopher promptly ate up at dinner time.  Next year I shall have to grow my own cucumbers so that I can keep up with the boy's appetite  for this simple salad.  I braised a big beautiful globe artichoke, using Mark Bittman's method, and had it with a small grilled steak for dinner (the lemony, buttery goodness is the inspiration for the chicken piccata I am making today).  I made a blueberry and nectarine crisp that we enjoyed after dinner with some vanilla ice cream (and Chris had for breakfast, sans the ice cream).  I'm not a big maker of sweets, so this one made the family VERY happy.  For later in the week, I used some summer sweet corn to make succotash, as well as a corn and black bean salad- readers outside Ohio may not know that we grow some of the best sweet corn ever.  I also used the ubiquitous zucchini (who doesn't have an abundance of that in the summer) to make a roasted zucchini pasta sauce.  Over the next few days I'll be sharing some of these dishes with you; the true beauty of these dishes is that they are completely adaptable to what you have on hand, there are no rules here other than using what is fresh and delicious...

Blueberry and Nectarine Crisp

1 pt. blueberries (or raspberries, blackberries, or mulberries)
4 ripe nectarines (or peaches, or apricots)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs. cornstrach
2 tbs. lemon juice
1 cupall-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using some of your stick of butter, very generously butter a small baking dish; set aside.  In a bowl, toss the blueberries, pitted and sliced nectarines (keep the skins), the 1/4 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to combine.  In another bowl, combine the flour, oats, remaining sugar, and salt.  Cut in the remaining butter (7 tbs, or so) until the texture of coarse crumbs.  Spoon the prepared fruit evenly into the buttered baking dish, then cover evenly with the crumb mixture.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly and the top is golden brown; baking time will vary according to the "juiciness" of the fruit, and the surface area of your baking dish.  Let cool a bit before serving.  Best served warm, with a bit of vanilla ice cream, if desired (slightly sweetened cream would be good too, whipped, or not).  Note: when I make this again, and I have been instructed that I WILL make this again, I am going to decrease the flour to 3/4 cup, while increasing the oats to 3/4 cup, to achieve a more "crumby" topping.
 Oh my!!  Doesn't that look good?

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