……………………………………………………. 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.


Recipe Flash: Frozen Banana Bites June 21, 2012

It’s day number two of nearly 100 degree weather in Philly.  I think this is the worst thing in the world.

Even the flowers don’t like it.

And, with the clarity of a corporate blackberry camera and the photojournalism skills of a writer, I give you a heat tour of my walk from work to home in Philly.

Everyone’s using the fountain as a pool

But no one’s in the park, which is usually overflowing with small children

Which means that no one wants to cook. Or eat anything other than ice for that matter.

The home-made solution to this predicament?

Frozen banana bites

Frozen Banana Bites (idea stolen from BA)

Basically, melt some chocolate with a little bit of oil. (Ratio:  1 cup chocolate to 1 Tbs. vegetable oil)

Dunk in a slice of banana and coat it. Fish it out with a fork and let some of the excess fall off.

Then, roll it around in something that goes well with chocolate and banana (i.e., coconut, oreos, peanuts, skor bits, etc. ).

Put the completed slices onto some parchment paper, then pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (Put them in a sealed container after you’ve frozen them if you intend to store them in the freezer for any length of time.)

…you’ll need more than two…

They taste like summer, but are lovely and cold. Can’t think of anything better for dinner tonight.


Water Ice Done Right: Watermelon Granita August 1, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, Philly has a crush on water ice. Water ice, for those of you who aren’t in PA and are questioning what other kind of ice Philly could have, is also known as Italian ice.

Anyways, Philly loves water ice like it loves grinders and soft pretzels and Cliff Lee. And I’ll give it to them: water ice is delicious. Every establishment worth its salt right now is selling the stuff – including all the little food carts I pass on my walk.

The advertising coupled with the heat makes me want some all.the.time. (surprising given my crush on ice cream)

But, when you could make granita, why would you buy water ice?

Yeah. Granita. Doesn’t it just sound exotic and delightful? Well, it is. And a watermelon granita is unbelievably easy to make. You just need a little freezer space and a penchant for devouring cold things during hot weather.

Watermelon Granita from B.A.

4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (you 4 lb of melon with rind to get 4 cups of usable fruit)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of your melon
1 Tbs. lime juice (in a pinch, lemon is ok)

Puree everything in a blender, then pour it out onto a rimmed baking dish (9x9x2) and toss it in the freezer on an even surface. (It’s worth having to play freezer Twister to get it in there.)

After an hour, stir it up, mashing the frozen parts with the back of  a fork. After two more hours in the freezer, use a fork to scrape it up so you form icy flakes. If you’re not eating it immediately, be sure to scrape it up again before you serve it.

Watch out – it’s unbelievably refreshing.