Ruth Reichl’s blueberry crisp

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s back in the 40’s here in Ithaca (darn you Mother Nature!), but I’m protesting the cold weather and making spring-ish desserts. Using this simple, easy recipe¬†from Ruth Reichl on GiltTaste, I was able to pull a bubbling, heavenly-smelling blueberry crisp out of the oven within an hour with minimal mess and effort.

I only had regular frozen blueberries, which I defrosted and drained before using for the crisp. Other small modifications: mixing the blueberries with a teaspoon of cornstarch to better soak up and thicken the juices, adding a few drops of good vanilla extract to the topping, along with a handful of old-fashioned oats and flaxmeal. This recipe would probably work equally well with strawberries, raspberries, even apples. It’s a great dessert to pull together when you’re in a tight spot, since you’re bound to have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Slivered almonds would be an awesome addition as well.

Good vanilla ice cream with this dessert is a must. I can’t wait to eat leftovers tomorrow for breakfast.

Blueberry crisp

1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups brown or white sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 handful old-fashioned rolled oats (optional)
1 tablespoon flaxmeal (optional)
4 cups of frozen blueberries, defrosted and drained
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)

Preheat the oven at 375. Combine melted butter and sugar, and stir in the sugar. Add salt and cinnamon and mix. Slowly incorporate the flour, until you have a dry and crumbly mixture. Mix in oats and flaxmeal if using.

Pour the mixed cornstarch and blueberries into a well-buttered pie plate (I actually used a loaf pan) and sprinkle the crisp topping over the blueberries. Use all of it, even if it seems a little excessive. This topping is that good. Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is nice and golden. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Pumpkin spice granola

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes, a shortage of ingredients and a bit of flexibility results in a pleasant surprise. A couple weeks ago, I was looking through the pantry trying to find ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to make basic granola, only to realize that I’d left it all at my parents’ house in NJ.

Pumpkin spice granola

It was probably more laziness than (I like to think) creativity, but instead of running to the store to buy some more, I just used some extra pumpkin spice, almond extract, and olive oil (since I also didn’t have the canola oil I typically use) as substitutes.

And I have to say that I might never go back to the original recipe. That same week, temperatures reached below 50 F in Ithaca, so having breakfast with some spice was the perfect way to wake up in the morning. This granola still had all of the things I love – a healthy amount of salt to balance the sweet, large and textured clumps of oats, and the crunch of walnuts – but became so much more with just a few modifications.

Just goes to show that sloth isn’t always a sin.

Pumpkin Spice Granola 

This recipe lasts about 1 – 1 1/2 weeks for one person. Store in an airtight container.

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I used slightly less since I like my granola to be less sweet)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup walnuts (I like to add more)
1/2 cup dark raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Mix the rolled oats, salt, and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Pour onto a foiled baking sheet and spread in one even layer.

Mix honey, brown sugar, olive oil, and almond extract in a small bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds (don’t have to do this but I find it softens the sugar and makes whisking a bit easier) and then whisk until everything is thoroughly blended. Pour honey mixture over the oats mixture in the baking sheet and mix thoroughly so all the oats are evenly coated. If you like a clumpy granola, gather some of the mixture in your hand and make a fist so you get some clumps.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take out, stir granola, and add the walnuts. Bake for another 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and toasted in color. Take out of the oven and stir in raisins, if using. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

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