So let’s start with a picture of me in a dress. The dress is blue, so it fits with the post topic, right?
Wow, what a week-and-a-half it has been, folks. I started back to school January 15th (last Tuesday) and the semester got off to a BANG when I was assigned two papers to write in one week. I am not a fast thinker or writer, by any means, and for one of the papers, the content was completely new to me — New Testament textual criticism. I went from knowing nothing about it whatsoever, to having a completed analytical 10-page paper completed, in one week. The day after that paper was due another paper (on theology) was due. Let’s just say … I didn’t go to bed before 2 or 3 AM for several nights. And coffee is my friend.
Even though the whole week was pretty rough, Ben and I did carve out a few hours on Saturday night to go on a hot date. Going on hot dates is not something we do very often. It’s not like we don’t spend time together. Let’s see, we work together, go to school together, and do pretty much everything else together. And sure, we go get lunch or dinner or go to a movie or go shopping fairly often. But rarely do we get all dressed up and go to some big-deal event. So it’s pretty special when we do. This time we went to the Virginia Symphony. Chloe Hanslip, a British violinist, was playing the Korngold violin concerto. It was a great concert, and afterwards we went to Cheesecake Factory and got apps and zerts (thank you, Tom Haverford, for making this term part of the English language – at least unofficially. I’ll see you at Rent-a-Swag sometime).
It was a super fun night. We were all dressed up (see picture above — I don’t wear floor-length one-shoulder gowns every day!) and feeling like the hottest couple in town, eating huge slabs of cheesecake and bantering like nobody’s business. I think we were out until almost 1 AM.
Then came a few days of madness while I tried to get those papers done, and I turned everything in on Tuesday/Wednesday (either very, very late on Tuesday night or very, very early on Wednesday morning, however you want to look at it). I didn’t have anything due yesterday (Wednesday), so it was like the best day of my LIFE. I slept in. Flipped through an enormous stack of cookbooks I got at the library. And spent a few relaxing hours in the kitchen, cooking up sesame chicken for dinner, as well as this delicious thing.
So here’s how this works. I’ve been wanting to make a blueberry crisp for a long time. Not just a blueberry crisp though; I was thinking of mixing blueberries and cranberries for an awesome sweet-tart twist. When I went to the grocery store, though, they told me there wouldn’t be fresh cranberries available until next fall. Ugh! So I picked up some blackberries instead. Wow, you know what I never really realized before? BLACKBERRIES ARE DELICIOUS.
I was so excited to make this. Seriously, for weeks I had been thinking about a crisp made with tons of juicy berries and a twist of lemon. And yes, I am obsessed with food and it’s a miracle I don’t weigh 400 pounds (especially considering I never ever work out – ha).
The recipe is from Martha Stewart. Even though I pretty much think the whole Martha Stewart regime is kind of way-too-perfect and ridiculous (I mean if I had tons of money, five or six houses, hundreds of talented staff, and a kick-butt jadeite collection, I would be awesome too) …. but Martha Stewart recipes are just really good. Just FYI the original recipe is just for a blueberry crisp, so you make it with 6 cups of blueberries or mix it up with different kinds of berries like I did.
Here’s the recipe with my alterations:
4 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
2 cups blackberries (or other fruit, use your imagination…)
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (eyeball it — I used the zest of about half the lemon)
1/4 tsp coarse-ground salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse-ground salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients. Transfer to a greased 8-inch-square baking dish.
For the topping, cream the softened butter and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl until fluffy. (Use a mixer if you want, but I didn’t.) Now, to save on dishes I did the next part in the same bowl, but you can use a separate bowl if you prefer. Measure the flour, oats, baking powder and salt into the bowl on top of the creamed butter and sugar, stir gently just to combine the dry ingredients that are resting on top of the butter/sugar mixture, then stir down to the bottom to roughly combine everything. Now — this is the fun/messy part — use your hands to squeeze the topping mixture into lots of clumps. Really go to town on those clumpy-umps. It should be mostly clumps because you know those are the best part.
Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake until nicely browned on top and bubbling throughout, 1 hour. I had to loosely cover it with foil for the last 15 minutes or so to prevent overbrowning, so keep an eye out for that. Cool on a wire rack before serving. Best served slightly warm (duh) with vanilla ice cream (double duh)!!
(As you can see from the picture, it might need some more cornstarch because it’s on the juicy side of things. I actually already increased the cornstarch amount, and the filling does hold together pretty nicely, but it leaves a puddle of juice in the bottom of the pan.)
Guys, this stuff is SO GOOD. Probably the best crisp I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tasted a lot. I can’t wait to gobble up the rest of it. It’s really easy and makes a good amount, so I think it would be great for when people come over. Unless they don’t like blueberries. Which would be very silly of them. Blueberries are awesome!