The last couple of times we've had friends over for dinner recently, I've made this dessert, and each time it gives me a little thrill to see how much people like it when it really couldn't require any less effort or talent on my part. Now that berry season is about to be in full swing, I plan on making many different varieties around here on a smaller scale when the four of us want (and deserve) a good dessert after dinner. (But if you're coming over for dinner, I promise to serve something different) Some have asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it here. It comes from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon or to taste
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
Pinch sea salt
Cream the butter and brown sugar together using an electric mixer, food processor or fork. Stir or pulse in the remaining ingredients until combined and crumbly; it won't hold together like a dough. (This step can be done in advance, just wrap mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready for it.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, pour in washed berries. For a large crisp (enough for 8 people), I use about 8 cups of berries. Add in 1/2 cup of sugar or to taste. Pour sugared berries into a buttered baking dish. Break crumble mixture on top of berries until covered. Now it's ready for the oven.
Bake until golden or just starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately or at least while still warm.
Wasn't that easy?
Hold the phone, we now have a certified yellow stripe belt in our house. Six months after starting with the plain ol’ solid white belt, Mateo and his friend William were deemed ready to “test” up to the next level. I love how children this age have no concept of performance anxiety. They each had to stand up in front of dozens of people and pull out their best moves. It should go without saying that I was seriously nervous for him. But he did a great job, and a few days later when we looked to see if he and his friend passed, Mateo was actually excited and extremely proud of himself, especially after Mr. Yi “retired” his old belt by tying it into a ceremonial knot. Maybe this Karate thing means more to him than I realized.
I discovered this Portobello burger recipe in Food & Wine magazine 6 years ago when Matt and I were still living kid-free in Washington DC. At that time we were living near U Street, which back in the day was a thriving and self-sufficient African American community during the segregation era. It was considered Washington's “Black Broadway" with folks like Duke Ellington playing the after-hours jazz clubs.
But when we lived there, it was not Black Broadway. Almost everyday I would have to step over a homeless person who was passed out drunk on our front steps. I never walked on the carpet with my bare feet because I didn't know what was lurking in it. Matt was bitten by a rat taking out the garbage. We could hear prostitutes conducting business meetings outside our bedroom window. It was bad. But, we figured, we were young and the rent price was right. We could handle it.
So one night I brought home this recipe to cook. It was a ridiculously sweltering DC summer night, and Matt and I got cooking in the kitchen. Vegetables were frying, cheese was melting, buns were toasting. It was all coming together until suddenly cockroaches started flying out from behind the stove. Literally flying. I didn't even know those suckers had wings. Five, maybe eight came flying out and attached themselves to the walls and started crawling. It was bananas.
I ran out laughing and disgusted, but Matt had the bravery to stay. A few minutes later, sweat pouring down his face from battling yet another insect/animal encounter, he brought me this burger on a plate. I had lost my appetite, but he urged me to bite into it and when I did, it was heaven. Really, really juicy and good.
I know selling a recipe with stories about roaches is not really a good thing, but trust me, it's tasty. We make a basil aioli with it that is the crowning touch to the woody richness of the Portobello and the smokiness of the gouda. Anyway-each time we make this, I have to laugh to myself and thank the Gods that I'm no longer surrounded by killer DC roaches.