March 26, 2012
Sunday and Any Day
I didn't enjoy Sundays when I was in school. The day felt gray and empty, like there was nothing to look forward to. I suppose it took a few more years of weeks and weekends to get over that. Once I had spent more time living and realized that weekends that different from the rest of the week I began to appreciate Sunday. For a long time it afforded a day of rest, a day of freedom from obligatory work, a day for projects and adventures.
For the past year I have worked brunch most Sundays, which is why I once declared Monday to be the new Sunday. But my Sunday still has a lot of its Sunday-ness about it. Sometimes that means that when I get home from work, famished and tired from rushing food to tables, I scrounge up some left overs for dinner. Or we indulge and order a pizza. If I have something in mind, I'll actually cook dinner and maybe make dessert. The last evening of the weekend winds down in our living room where we sit absorbed in books or, just as often, find something we want to watch.
When I'm making dinner, I don't mind having some company. Usually that means NPR, but on Sundays Ray is home, too, and I try to coerce him to join me in the kitchen. Yesterday he read The Hunger Games while I stirred black beans, let sugar and fruit bubble on the stove and crumbled together butter, flour, oats and walnuts. There was nothing extraordinary about it, but I do try to appreciate these moments, Sunday and any day.
The dessert I made was a crisp with some frozen blueberries and peaches. As the peaches cooked, I was momentarily transported to summer by their unmistakeable aroma. The crisp is a simple dessert which made our meal a little more special. Just what my Sunday called for.
Frozen Fruit Crisp
You don't have to use frozen fruit, but if you have fruit in the freezer you can eat crisp any time of year. You don't really need a recipe to make it, but here is my rough outline.
2- 3 cups frozen berries
1/3 cup sugar (or more depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flour (I used whole spelt)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (about 4 tablespoons) cold butter
Put the fruit in a pot on the stove over low heat. Once it has thawed and gotten juicy, stir in the sugar and the cornstarch. Let it simmer until the fruit is hot and the juice has thickened slightly. Then remove the fruit from the heat and set aside.
Mix the oats, walnuts, flour, sugar, spices and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the flour with your fingers or a fork, working it into the dry ingredients so that it is blended, yet crumbly, like a pie or cookie dough. Pour the fruit and juice into the dish (or dishes) you plan to use. Spread the crumbly dough evenly over the fruit. Bake at 350' for 25 minutes or until the top is browned and crisp. Serve warm as is or topped with ice cream, whipped cream or whatever you like.