Blueberry Cherry Crisp – the dessert you should make right now!

Perhaps it’s the specter of the Whole 30 challenge I have planned for Lent (which I just realized is actually 46 days long, wow!), but I have really been craving desserts lately. All the time I’m spending on Pinterest isn’t helping matters either, I’m sure! Tonight, back pain notwithstanding, I was determined to make a delicious dessert for my family. I decided on this blueberry crisp recipe since all the ingredients sounded delicious and it looked simple and not fussy to prepare. The following is my version:

Blueberry Cherry Crisp
2 C frozen blueberries
2 C frozen cherries
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup organic butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup

Dump blueberries and cherries (no need to thaw) into a greased 8×8 pan. I’m sure other fruit like blackberries, raspberries or peaches would work as well. Just use what you like or what you have on hand.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the liquid ingredients.

Now for the most challenging part of this recipe: spoon the topping over the fruit without eating all of the topping raw first. I was very tempted just to eat all the topping and then whip up another batch, but I was running low on pecans and maple syrup, so I restrained myself.

I divided this into 9 servings. Tom was initially concerned about the calorie count, but after he tasted a bite he decided that he didn’t care. If you are counting calories, 1 serving is about 350 calories that are completely worth it. Ok, now seriously, stop surfing the net and get baking! What if the zombie apocalypse happens tonight and you never get a chance to eat this because of your newly acquired taste for brains?

Turnabout is fair play, even if it’s Turnips

I often joke about the fact that Tom and I have a mixed marriage. I was brought up Catholic in Wisconsin and Tom was brought up Baptist in southern Mississippi. Part of our vastly different upbringing was the types of foods we ate growing up. I was exposed to a wide variety of cuisines. Milwaukee has a large ethnic population, so I remember Mom buying prosciutto from an Italian deli and fresh tortillas from a Mexican grocery store. Mom taught cooking classes at night, and my sister and I would beg Dad to let us stay up to sample Szechuan pork or whatever scraps of leftovers there were. We ate lunch in a restaurant in Chinatown in Chicago, and Dad ordered random things off the Dim Sum menu, which was only in Chinese. I ate squid salad without flinching (although for some reason that one got to Dad, go figure!).

However until I married Tom I had very little exposure to Southern American food. The one experience I remember was at an international food festival where the Southern booth had sweet potato pie. In our typical style, we ordered one piece of pie and 4 forks. We quickly went from small, hesitant bites to fighting over the pie and threatening each other with our plastic forks. We glanced back and saw the plump African-American lady at the booth completely doubled over with laughter after watching this crazy white family fight over sweet potato pie. That was the first time I remember tasting sweet potatoes. I wasn’t much on cooked vegetables until I went to college, actually (and I still eat half of the green beans raw while I am cutting them up to cook). Anyway, I’m usually the one encouraging Tom and the girls to try new foods, but Tom grew up eating a wider range of vegetables.

I do like to eat seasonally, and I had a craving for roasted root vegetables. I mentioned that to Tom, and he suggested turnips. Although I like turnip greens, I never have acquired a taste for the roots. They taste like bitter potatoes to me, but I was willing to give them another shot since he is always such a good sport about trying things like zucchini chips and hot cereal made out of nuts. Jewel has also been interested in trying new foods, so I couldn’t be seen as the picky eater! Therefore I chose this recipe for Carmelized Turnips, Carrots and Parsnips:
Preheat the oven to 425

Chop vegetables into 2 inch pieces, peel garlic and toss with salt, pepper and a generous amount of olive oil. I also added fresh rosemary since I had some on hand.

Roast for 15 minutes, turn veggies over, then check for doneness when you remember. I think these took at least 30 minutes to cook.

I found this to be a tolerable way to eat turnips. The roasting counteracts some, but not all, of their bitterness. The parsnips and carrots were excellent fixed this way, and I would be willing to make this recipe again, although I personally would prefer to substitute sweet potatoes for the turnips. Jewel especially liked the parsnips, so I plan to look for other parsnip recipes.