……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Summer Fruit Crumble Bars July 21, 2012

It’s not 100 degrees any more. Which means I want to make something that isn’t an enormous green salad.

And I might have bought blueberries because they were on sale and I was making smoothies anyways. And then I might have gotten home and realized that I had SIX PINTS OF BLUEBERRIES but only two people to feed.

So, I made an incredible, simple dessert.



Fresh Fruit Crumble Bars (adapted from a few places)

1 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1 egg
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
4 cups fresh fruit (I did mostly blueberries, with some sliced strawberries and peaches in as well)

Stir together first three ingredients, then stir in the salt and lemon zest. Then blend in the egg, butter and Crisco using a fork or pastry cutter to create a crumbly dough. Take half of this mixture, and pat it down into a greased 9×12 baking dish to form a crust.

In a separate bowl, blend lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar sugar and cornstarch. Add the fruit and gently toss to coat. Spread the fruit evenly over the crust, then crumble the remaining crust mixture over the fruit. Make sure this “crumble” portion is spread out evenly.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until top begins to brown. Before cutting into squares and serving, let this cool completely so the juices from the baked fruit stay in the crumble instead of escaping.

If you want to warm it up and serve it with some vanilla ice cream for dessert (or just toast it for breakfast), go right ahead.


Cooking Together: Summer Berry Quinoa Salad May 30, 2011

This weekend, we actually got together to cook, instead of just prepping meals from our kitchens in separate states. The results were lovely  – and we did a typically excellent job of combining ceaseless conversation with red wine, good food, and packaged cookies.

Since it was incredibly hot, we opted for some low-cooking dishes that didn’t require too much attention to the stove. (Yes, K decided that throwing a frozen pizza in the oven counted as dinner, and yes it was M who made the healthy salad.)

Summer Berry Quinoa Salad

For the salad:

4 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups dry quinoa + 4 cups water)

1 pint strawberries, washed/trimmed and cut into small pieces

2-3 bunches scallions, diced

1-2 cucumbers, diced

For the marinade:

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

lime juice

garlic powder

black pepper


Cook the quinoa according to directions on your package (for us, that meant combining the water and quinoa in a sauce pan, bring that to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is evaporated.)  Set that aside and prepare the strawberries, cucumber(s), and scallions.

Now, start the marinade. Here’s the thing about my marinades: I don’t measure at all. So if we’re ballparking things, here’s what you do (obviously to taste): in a small bowl mix together equal parts balsamic and oil (start off with 2 tablespoons each if you feel the need to measure this) and then spice to taste. Mix in about 2 tablespoons lime juice, and then pour the mixture over the strawberries, cucumbers, and scallions. If you need more marinade, repeat the above. If not, combine the berry mixture with the quinoa and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes (or until the quinoa is cool… you want this to be a cold salad).  This can be made the day before if you like– the marinade probably will taste better the next day too.


Ricotta Frozen Smoothie March 18, 2011

Blender, ca. 1975, courtesy of my mother

This recipe is something I sort of made up as a substitute for frozen yogurt, which I am seriously craving today. Ricotta is kind of a nice change of pace from regular yogurt, especially as an alternate version of the Greek variety in terms of flavor and consistency.  It’s probably not something I’d eat all the time because the protein count is higher in yogurt, but whatever.  It’s gorgeous outside (crocuses sprouting in the neighbor’s backyard!), and there are lots of blackberries lying around in this house.

This takes a little planning, as the fruit needs about a day to freeze (or you could just buy frozen fruit if you prefer). You could pretty much add any fruit you like, I just happen to be obsessed with blackberries.  However, the bananas are non-negotiable– they provide the smooth and creamy consistency.

For the smoothie:

3 bananas, cut into pieces and frozen

2 cups blackberries, washed and frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, washed and frozen

3/4 cup frozen strawberry puree (this will be the one time I mention a brand: Goya puts out nice un-sugared frozen fruit purees at the local grocery store… they have some interesting flavors (i.e., prickly pear) that I intend to try soon.)

1 cup soy milk (or regular)

3/4 – 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon honey (I actually didn’t use this, but in retrospect it seems like it should be included in the mix.)

Start by letting things sit out of the freezer for a little bit (like 2-3 minutes) to at least get things more pliable, especially if you’re using a blender. (If you’re using a food processor you can probably jump right in.) Puree the bananas and strawberry puree together and add the milk slowly as they start to get clumpy. Then add the blueberries and blackberries (or your fruit of choice) in shifts (about 2). The mixture will start to get thick as the bananas become liquefied, so lots of stirring is important.  I ended up separating the mixture into two batches (put one in a bowl until I was ready for it) and continued to blend in the rest of the milk.  Add the ricotta and puree further.  Then mix the two batches together as best you can (this isn’t a big deal as long as things look about the same color, in my case a mauve-ish light purple– how delightful, right?)  Store in an airtight container in the freezer or eat immediately (highly recommended).

For next time: a spiked version of this would be awesome… I’m not really a cocktail/girly drinks person (weißbier and g&t’s, please), but a touch of vodka would definitely make this more fun……….. is it summer yet?