Warning: This post contains complaining. It also contains a very nice recipe. Feel free to go directly to the recipe.
The kitchen renovation has been rough. This is not the first time we’ve had construction done on our house, so we knew to expect disruption, mess, loss of privacy and inconvenience. We had no way to anticipate that we were going to discover that our house was built incorrectly, badly, nonsensically, and that everything would be affected by major structural problems. I don’t say this lightly; it is as if our house went in for routine surgery and the surgeon found metastatic cancer.
We have been stalled for about 6 weeks now, completely gutted. At various points, we have had no walls, flooring or ceiling in the room that was once a kitchen. I have been doing food prep in the basement, but the guys have had to rip out much of the ceiling there, too. Sometimes, I have no water or electricity. The vacuum system has been disabled for weeks and there is no power in the center of our home so it is like a big black hole at night. Bob and I are both very worried about the massive additional expense.
All of this is challenging; I am usually able to maintain my emotional equilibrium by running or cross country skiing. Most winters I am out no matter what the conditions. But this winter has been so brutal, I am worried for my safety. As I type these words, the temperature outside my window is 8 degrees below zero; so I am relegated to the elliptical, located under hanging, exposed wires.
I have said this before, I am not a stranger to true tragedy, so I do manage to keep perspective most of the time. I still trust our team, and we all continue to work well together. Sadie is getting used to the commotion and venturing into the demolition zone more frequently.
Bob was at meetings in Washington, DC this weekend. I took the opportunity to glaze and fire a kiln load of new pots. You can see some of them in the Gallery; more to come.
My tech angel and beloved friend, Mary was kind enough to invite me over for a wonderful dinner in her warm, beautiful kitchen with her beautiful daughter and kind husband. I knew she would understand if I came empty handed, but I wanted to bring dessert. Mary is eating vegan and gluten free, so I developed a delicious fruit crumble based on what I had on hand. At the end of a long day of glazing and loading pots during a snowstorm, the last thing I wanted to do was go food shopping. Thus, this recipe was developed.
Yes, I baked it in the toaster oven. And yes, you may use your real oven!
Blackberry Apple Crumble
I used a honeycrisp apple, my winter favorite. Use your favorite baking apple. For inspiration, look at Apples, or More Apples. I don’t peel, but if apple skin bothers you, get out your peeler and have at it.
1 pint blackberries, washed
1 apple, cut into chunks
¾ cup cane sugar or brown sugar
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbs. coconut oil
1 cup oats
1 tbs. sesame seeds
1/3 cup walnuts
2 pinches salt
You will need an oven proof bowl or baking dish that is roughly 6 inches across. Preheat the oven to 350°.
Put the apples and blackberries in a mixing bowl and toss them with ¼ cup of the sugar, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set this aside while you work on the topping.
Place half of the oats, the remaining sugar, pinch of salt, and the coconut oil in a food processor (I use my mini for this). Pulse until everything is evenly coated with oil. Add the walnuts and pulse to break them up. Add the rest of the oats and the sesame seeds and process just to combine.
Put the fruit into the baking dish and toss with ¼ cup of the topping mixture. Then, cover with the rest of the topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until nicely browned and apples are soft.
This would be lovely topped with something creamy like whipped cream or ice cream or yogurt. We had it plain, but engaged in a conversation regarding our curiousity about vegan whipped cream (made with coconut milk). I may try that when I have a kitchen. I’ll keep you posted.
Leftovers are amazing reheated for breakfast.