Monday, September 1, 2014

Keeping It Simple

A couple of weeks back, our family packed our car to the ceiling and headed north for a week of folk music festival going, camping, and cottaging.  It was a simple itinerary: 2 days of folk music with 3 nights of camping, and the rest of the week at a family cottage.  We spent our time out there unplugged and disconnected to the world, and more connected and in-tune with our surroundings.  Funny how that works.

We had a lovely time, despite the rain.  Not much actually happened, but then again, so many things happened.  We especially enjoyed exposing our little one to the outdoor life.  She now loves being in a kayak and eating wild raspberries.  She attended her first music festival, had her first nights sleeping in a tent, and saw her first deer, loon, great blue heron, beaver, black bear, and very cool looking striped caterpillar. As for me, I feel more or less like the same person, only notably fresher and renewed.  I've said this before, but I should really start a daily meditation practice, it would do me so much good.

Summer Fruit Crisp
Makes 6-8 servings.

This recipe was written as a head-nod to in-season peaches and raspberries, so I kept it as simple as possible as to highlight the bright flavours of those fruits.  But really, the best part about fruit crisp is how relaxed it all is. All kinds of fruits will work: apple, pear, plums, berries, mango, even banana. The proportions are very forgiving, and I've never had any problems scaling up or down using very approximate math.  Feel free to toss the fruit in a couple of spoons of flour to thicken their juices, or add 1/4 cup of rolled oats or chopped nuts into the topping to make things interesting.

4 ripe peaches, washed and patted dry, peeled (optional) and sliced into 10 pieces
1 cup of raspberries
1/2 cup (70 g) flour
1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (60 g) cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Lightly grease a 7x7" (or so) square baking pan that is at least 2" deep.  Place the fruit into the prepared pan, and tap it a few times to fill any large gaps.  The fruit should cover the bottom and come up the sides about 2".

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together by hand, just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and retains its shape when you squeeze a handful in your fist.  Scatter evenly over the fruit; it should cover the fruit nicely.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling through and the topping is golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.  Serve it warm as-is or as you like it, say, with a dollop of thick yogurt and a swirl of maple syrup.

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