Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana BreadDo you like cooking with your kids?  This isn’t a trick question. I can see why some people love it. I can also see why some people hate it.  Kids have a tendency to make things either a lot more fun or a lot more disastrous/messy/high-pitched-scream-inducing.  Sometimes both at the same time.  I tend to be a little bit of a control freak in the kitchen, so the idea of adding a few tempestuous, grabby little humans into the square footage of my kitchen sounds pretty terrible at first.

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Stone Fruit Crumble

or, Alternatively titled, “The prodigal daughter returns, hanging her head in shame.”

Stone Fruit CrumbleActually, no shame.  I just took a break.  You all get that, right?  It’s only been a month.  Truth be told, I’m in one of those food ruts.  Like the kind where I put off thinking about dinner until it’s absolutely necessary, then frantically come up with some combination of my protein/roasted vegetable/salad standby that, while good, is getting pretty old.  But life’s been busy (when is it not?), and I just haven’t had the energy to get inspired, try new recipes, and least of all, share them here.  Sorry.  I know you understand.  You’re nice people like that.

I was just talking to a friend about my blog break today and when I hung up the phone I was trying to think if I’ve actually made anything in the past month that I would consider worth sharing.  I came up with zilch.  And then it hit me like a Mack truck: THE CRUMBLE!  THAT CRAZY GOOD CRUMBLE I MADE LIKE 3 TIMES IN A ROW! (I yell in my head a lot, mostly so I can hear myself think amidst the general chaos. But this time it was because I was excited.)

Stone Fruit CrumbleHow did I not tell you guys about this crumble?  (To be fair, I think I took a picture and shared it on Instagram, but my motto is more along the lines of #recipeoritdidnthappen, so I apologize.) I really liked it.  It was super easy.  Duh, it’s a crumble, it’s like the lazy version of pie, right?  But this one was so perfect.  Not too sweet, with just enough sugar in the base to make a lovely syrup that coats the fruit and bubbles up over the edges and gets all sticky and thick in the corners.  And the topping?  Full of oats and delicious crispy and crumbly, with a generous bit of sea salt that, I think, is what put this one over the edge for me.  I made it once with a mixture of plums, pluots, peaches, and nectarines, and then again with just peaches.  Both times they were delightful in their own way.  I mixed up the fruit and baked mine in my giant cast iron skillet, which I love for stuff like this.  But you could easily do the same in pretty much any dish you can come up with.

So, I’m not going to waltz back in here, all triumphant, and be like, “I’m back and I’m cooking up a storm!  Hang on to your hats!” Because that’s just inviting trouble and remembering that I made an amazing crumble a few weeks back does not constitute a glorious return to culinary creativity and enthusiasm.  But I’ll try to come up with some things we love, that hopefully you’ll love, too.  In the mean time, have some crumble and send me some recipe ideas, ok?Stone Fruit Crumble

Stone Fruit Crumble

Stone Fruit Crumble

adapted, only a smidge, from Food & Wine

  • 4 pounds stone fruit, cut into thick slices
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup rolled oats

In the dish you'll be baking the crisp in (I used a 12" cast iron skillet, but you could also use a 9x13 baking dish), toss the fruit with the granulated sugar and cornstarch and let stand for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium-sized bowl,mix the flour with the brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and cut it in with a pasty cutter, or rub it in with your fingers. Stir in the oats, then press the topping into clumps.

Scatter the topping over the filling. Bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and crisp. Let cool for as long you can stand (or 30 min to an hour) before serving. Ice cream on top is a good idea, but not absolutely necessary. With a small scoop of yogurt, this officially qualifies as breakfast food.

Sour Cherry and Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

DSC_0035For a person who makes her own condiments and bakes her own bread, I have a decidedly lazy streak when it comes to certain things.  It’s ok, don’t we all, even the overachievers among us?  So here’s my confession: I leave laundry in the dryer for days at a time when I can get away with it, I sometimes pay the 20 cent library fine instead of returning a book on a particularly busy day, and I hardly ever pick up sour cherries at the farmers market.  Because pitting. And cooking. [Read more...]

Party Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Berries

Party Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and BerriesI might have mentioned this before (erm, once or twice?), but I love berry season.  It takes all my willpower not to come home every week from the farmers’ market with flats of every berry I can lay  my hands on. And sometimes my willpower isn’t strong enough.  Which is really no problem at all, because they get gobbled up so quickly around here.  And there is no shortage of inspiring, beautiful recipes to use them up. [Read more...]