Blueberry Crisp with Minted Coconut Cream

blueberrycrisp

 Lately I’ve been feeling my youth, or to be more accurate, the lack of it. That is not to say that I am feeling old, in fact I feel quite youthful. I am full of vim and vigor and can still touch my toes with ease. Though I sometimes peruse the obits, I do not fear my own mortality.

What I am feeling is more of a transience. I am feeling the loss of bare feet on grass, and cotton dresses on sunny afternoons. I miss long days filled with reading books on my back, and the sensation of endless time and wonder. I yearn for raining days spent making macrame bracelets, or even lanyard thing-a-ma-jigs.

I basically miss being a kid. 

ovenready

Summer days used to be so expansive for me. Each morning I would rise up, jump into shorts and a tee shirt, and delve into the vast open land of Free Play.

Perhaps I am missing being a kid in summer because we have such a long one here in Louisiana. It’s already been months now of warm days and flip flopped feet. In fact we are entering what I think of as the “Winter” of the Summer. This is when the temperatures reach over 95 degrees with it’s companion humidity. The heat forces one to dash from house to car, to then get blasted in the parking lot before diving into the frigid air of a market or store.

bitten

My first full summer here the weather baffled my sensibilities. The sun was  high, the light bright and dappling in the trees. Lawns are green and growing and the days go long. But there is not a soul in sight. No children squealing through sprinklers nor the thwapping of ball tossing in backyard play. It is desolate and quiet. Life here is shuttered from the heat- just like in the Winter when we bundle and turn within against the cold. The Winter Summer.

However, I do not complain. Not really. It still makes my heart happy to see sunshine and gardens growing. This year I planted several herbs in large pots. I opted for this method so that I might manage the tender leaves against the sun and heat. In the spring they took the sun full bore, but now they dance between light and shadow to spare them from exhaustion.

splash

The blueberries are from the Farmer’s Market and the mint is from my garden. I’ve always loved the pairing of mint and blueberries, and coconut cream, rather than whipped cream makes it even dreamier.

The spoils of the summer bounty.

I may still  yearn to spend my days skinning my knees, hop-scotching, or playing jacks, but there is much happiness in plates of warm blueberry crisp on the porch as the early evening comes upon us and pushes back the heat. Best served with friends languishing on cushioned porch furniture as the quiet of the day settles into night.

 

Blueberry Crisp with Minted Coconut Cream
Classic crisp with creamy coconut sauce with refreshing mint.
Print
309 calories
51 g
30 g
12 g
2 g
7 g
134 g
151 g
39 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
134g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 309
Calories from Fat 104
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
18%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 30mg
10%
Sodium 151mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 51g
17%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 39g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
10%
Vitamin C
13%
Calcium
2%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)- cold
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 qt blueberries, fresh or frozen
  7. 1 can coconut cream
  8. 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  9. 1/4 cup fresh mint, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a box grater on the largest holes, grate the butter into a medium bowl. Add the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Using your fingers blend the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a wet sandy consistency. The mix should bind and clump when you squeeze it together.
  3. Toss washed and dried blueberries with the flour and place into an 9x9" (or comparable) baking pan and make an even layer. Add the crisp topping across the top making sure you cover the edges.
  4. Place the pan on top of a baking sheet and place into the center of the oven. Bake until the blueberries bubble and thicken around the edges and the topping is golden brown.
Make the coconut cream
  1. In a small saucepan add the coconut cream and the sugar. Heat over low flame and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust the sugar, and you may need water to thin. The consistency should be that of heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and cool until warm to the touch and then add the mint. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. I often make double batches of the crisp topping and keep it in the freezer. I also keep a few bags of frozen fruit or berries on hand too. Frozen berries may be topped with the frozen topping and placed directly into the oven to make the best last minute dessert ever.
  2. Feel free to multiply or divide this recipe- individual crisps anyone??
beta
calories
309
fat
12g
protein
2g
carbs
51g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

Lentil Salad with Grilled Haloumi + Machu Picchu

lentilSalad

Oh what fun I’ve been having the past month or so. For those that do not know, the wife and I went down to Peru and hiked the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu. I was without a doubt challenging in many ways. Five days and four nights, and 38 miles on the trail was arduous, but it also turns out that this city girl is afraid of heights. Normally this doesn’t impact my life very much, but when hiking through the Andes it can be a challenge.

There is nothing like countryside of Peru. It is breathtaking, absolutely stunning! The mountains rise up straight from the ground in vertical regal grandeur, nudging the clouds. Towns and villages cling to the edges in miraculous ways, as the sun and winds sweep over them. As a flatlander I was dazzled by the agility and grace of folks traversing up and down cliff like hillsides without one single huff or puff. All this at elevations miles above sea level. I, on the other hand, struggled like a 100 year old woman. 

haloumi

Even though we spent three days in Cusco adjusting to the altitude (11,000 feet), I was still plagued with piercing headaches, nausea and and overall feeling of being on a college weekend alcoholic bender. The hiking itself is tough going over rough rocky trails, and the first days they took us upwards to a peak of 15,000 feet. From the highest point it is mostly a descent, taking us from scrubby mountain terrain down into humid leafy jungle.

There were several moments of terror for me as I traversed narrow trails carved into sheer cliffs- the worst being a long crossing over a huge mudslide on a fresh (and rather soft) man made trail which dropped off several hundred feet into a ravine. I was only able to do this while clinging onto our guide and my wife, and NEVER looking down.

By the end of the trip I had fallen off of a horse, suffered altitude sickness, blistered my toes, shivered in tents, slept on slopes, and was traumatized by the heights- but I can sincerely say it was by far one of the most fantastic things I have ever done. Though I ached and fretted, the hike was so beautiful, so encompassing, that I did not suffer my ills.

bitten

How this is possible I cannot say exactly- to feel uncomfortable or even pain, but not suffer it. Perhaps it’s because our comforts are not always the thing that drives us, or insures our happiness. There is more. As I hiked along I kept thinking. I am here. I am here now in Peru, and I let myself experience that, rather than my aching toes. The pains washed through and over me. I felt them, especially my anxiety, but they did not color my moments of being there.

Lentil Salad with Grilled Haloumi
The lemony aspect of the dressing balances out the smoke and heat of the paprika. This was inspired by Donna Hay's recipe.
Print
316 calories
40 g
0 g
12 g
16 g
2 g
381 g
67 g
5 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
381g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316
Calories from Fat 103
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
18%
Saturated Fat 2g
8%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 67mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 40g
13%
Dietary Fiber 22g
86%
Sugars 5g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
551%
Vitamin C
31%
Calcium
13%
Iron
38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup french puy lentils
  2. 1 bay leaf
  3. 2 heads romaine
  4. 8 oz haloumi, sliced into 4 pieces
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  6. zest of one lemon
  7. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  9. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In medium saucepan, combine lentils, bay leaf and a pinch of salt with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. About 30 minutes. Set aside and discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile make the dressing
  1. In a small bowl combine the zest, lemon juice, olive oil and paprika and stir thoroughly, set aside.
  2. Preheat a grill pan or cast iron pan over high heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray and grill for 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Prepare the plate by placing several clean romaine leaves, then sprinkling with lentils. Place haloumi on top and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
beta
calories
316
fat
12g
protein
16g
carbs
40g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
composit

Moon Pie! {someone hand me an RC cola!}

MoonPie

Along with gumbo making, Moon Pies are pretty much on the Southern cook’s list. When I was a kid my father’s favorite cookie was called Mallomar. It’s similar in that there is a cookie base, a puff of marshmallow all covered in dark chocolate. Some like to equate it to a S’more- but I say without the burnt sugar and ash on the marshmallow, it doesn’t compare a bit.

Because of their delicateness and tendency to melt, Mallomars were only distributed in the cooler months. This was largely due to the fact that in 1913 New Jersey, when the cookie was created, delivery trucks were not kept cool. Nowadays that’s not a problem, but the marketing geniuses have kept to the schedule to create a demand.

 undimmed moon pie~ A stack of dishes

The Moon Pie has been around for about as long  as the Mallomar and originated out of Chattanooga. It was created as a one hand dessert to be enjoyed by the “working man”.  In fact, my wife’s grandfather was a farmer here in Northern Louisiana. Back in his day he would go down to the general store each day to buy his men their lunch. When asked what they would like, invariably the answer would be “A Potato Po’Boy, a Moon Pie and an RC cola”. It was NRBQ’s song “An RC Cola and a Moon Pie” that make the combination popular with the rest of the world, but in the South they had long been at it.

Another claim to fame for the moon pie is it’s place during Mardis Gras. Along with the mountains of beads that are tossed from floats, you can also catch a flying Moon Pie if you’re lucky. Catching beads during a parade is tremendous fun, but I wish you could have seen my face when a cello wrapped Moon Pie landed at my feet. What a wonderful world it is where they toss delicious baked goods at you!!

justdipped

Moon Pies are a little fiddly to make, but such the crowd pleaser. As you can see I did a little “cheat” with my dipping. This chevron dipping allowed me to keep my fingers clean while making a pretty presentation. I also cheated by using marshmallow cream in the middle. I will admit that I regret that decision. Though it was super delish- the cream was too soft and made the cookies a little weepy. If you’re going to eat them right away you can get away with this trick, otherwise I recommend taking the time to make some marshmallow.

Moon Pies
The cookies are made in steps, which you can mete out over time. Bake the cookies one day, fill and dip the next.
Print
241 calories
33 g
22 g
12 g
2 g
6 g
58 g
66 g
20 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
58g
Yields
30
Amount Per Serving
Calories 241
Calories from Fat 106
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
19%
Saturated Fat 6g
32%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 22mg
7%
Sodium 66mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 33g
11%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 20g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 2 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Marshmallow
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. pinch of cream of tarter
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 2/3 cup caro syrup
  5. 2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 cup powdered sugar
  7. {marshmallow cream}* see notes
Chocolate coating
  1. 12 oz semi sweet chocolate
  2. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and incorporate. Add the flour and salt until it binds. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the dough into 1/4" thickness and cut 60- 2" rounds with a biscuit cutter and space evenly on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 13-16 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown around the edges.
  5. When the cookies are cool prepare the marshmallow.
  6. Warm the caro syrup in a small clean pan until it reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
  7. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a spotlessly clean mixing bowl with the whip attachment. Beat until foamy and add the salt. Continue beating until you get soft peaks.
  8. Carefully drizzle the syrup over the whites as you beat them and add the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute, then carefully add the powdered sugar. Beat for 4 minutes until slightly cooled.
  9. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip- or alternatively using a large plastic bag with the corner snipped (snip smaller than you think, you can always enlarge), fill the bag with marshmallow and immediately pipe onto half of the cookies.
  10. {any remaining cream can be piped out onto parchment and saved as eating marshmallows- dust with powdered sugar}
  11. Top with the second cookie.
For the chocolate
  1. In a medium heat proof bowl, carefully melt the chocolate and oil over low heat. When smooth you may dip your cookies. To fully dip, use two forks to lower the cookie in and out of the chocolate. Set onto clean parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set.
Notes
  1. I used marshmallow cream to save time. I made and served the cookies right away so I was able to get away with this. However, if you need the cookies to sit for any length of time I recommend taking the time to make marshmallow.
beta
calories
241
fat
12g
protein
2g
carbs
33g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/