I’ve really struggled lately in the kitchen. This is not something most authors of books on the topic might admit, but it’s true and I’ve evaded it completely for months. My life has been in a constant flux of new and possibility, a good scenario to find yourself in, but my regular kitchen life has been upended as a result.
I’m busy what feels like every spare moment with two exciting projects in the works that require lots of energy and attention and the things I enjoyed most about the kitchen have become the 11th hour chore. Making bread once a week, a simple gluten free cake or easy dessert at least once a week. I haven’t made ice cream once this year and that’s one of my joys. Thankfully, I’ve managed a few staple preserving projects, blueberry jam, tomatoes from our garden (a first for me, growing my own and enough to can!)
Well, time or no time, I’m sick of not having good bread or any dessert besides a piece of dark chocolate; last night was no exception to my evasive attitude. At the end of a long day I forced myself to pull out the mixing bowls and line them up on the counter. Railing against each jar of flour I pulled from the cabinet, each additional ingredient to make the dry mix for the loaf I baked last night but also for the next two loaves I’ll bake next week and the week after, I persisted.
As the bread baked and the dry mixes were stashed in the fridge, I took my usual cavalier approach to baking, when you’ve already made a mess, why not keep at it and end up with an extra prize. Well, last night’s prize, beyond the loaf of bread I cut up the next morning, was a blueberry crisp. The first dessert I’ve made in more than two months.
Stepping one foot in front of the other, rather pulling one jar after another down from the cabinet, was how I managed to slowly untangle the web that’s blocked me from attempting anything I used to enjoy in the kitchen. I’m still really strapped for time, but I want to make time for the little things I enjoy and the foods I have become accustomed to eating. Feeling guilty about it, not surprisingly, doesn’t help encourage a smooth reentry. There are ebbs to match up to the flows in the kitchen, and I hope you can see them through calmly and confidently when they swirl through.
I based my gluten-free version on the Joy of Cooking’s 75th Anniversary edition’s recipe for ‘apple or fruit crisp’. You may sub everything through the xanthan gum below for 6 Tbs of an existing GF flour blend if you have one handy. Not GF? Just use 6 Tbs all purpose flour.
Gluten-free Blueberry Crisp
yeilds an 8 or 9” baking dish dessert, however many servings you want to share from that
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour 2 cups of blueberries into an ungreased pan.
2. Combine the following in a small mixing bowl:
2 Tbs arrowroot starch
3 Tbs white rice flour
1/2 Tbs oat flour
1/2 Tbs millet flour
pinch xanthan gum
6 Tbs packed brown sugar (or white sugar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3. Cut 1/2 stick of cold butter into cubes and use a fork or a pastry blender to mash the butter cubes into pea-sized granules within the dry mixture. Pour this evenly over the blueberries and bake for longer than you think (50 min-1hr).
I pulled mine out after what was probably 30 minutes because it was bubbling and the crisp topping had melted into the bubbling berries. I waited the requisite 3 minutes and then scooped some out for a late night dessert and found the crisp not quite crisp enough. The mixture needs time to cook down to let the crumbs come through and not just end up a soggy (yet delicious) mess.
Serve with whipped or fresh cream, or ice cream if you’re feeling fancy.