|individual blackberry crisps|
"Apples in the orchard
Mellowing one by one;
Soft cheeks to the sun;
Roses faint with sweetness,
Lilies fair of face,
Drowsy scents and murmurs
Haunting every place;
Lengths of golden sunshine,
Moonlight bright as day,—
Don't you think that summer's
Pleasanter than May?"
- Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Marjorie's Almanac
Many years ago, I worked as a nanny. One of my jobs in this field was working for a couple. This couple had a chef. They also had 3 housekeepers. The Mrs. didn't work. She spent time going to the gym, and to the salon. Having lunch and shopping. Three times a week a masseuse came to the house for her, because she was stressed. We vacationed in 5 star hotels, I, the nanny, always had my own large suite. One might say they were rich. But they always assured me, "I know you think we're rich, but we're not. We have friends who own their own planes, and we only fly first class. We have friends who own their own vacation homes in every city they vacation in, instead we have to stay in hotels."
So they weren't rich.
It's all a matter of perspective. Or a state of mind, I guess.
The point of me telling this story, is because this chef that worked for them, became a friend of mine in that lonely house. I only had one well behaved baby to watch, so I had time on my hands. I would watch this chef, and he would teach me things. His last job was as an executive chef in a large successful restaurant. He didn't want restaurant hours any more. The pay wasn't much different, he told me. I was fortunate enough to eat those meals he prepared, and wow, that food opened my eyes. I didn't know you could make food taste that good out of someones kitchen.
|Prepping the apricots|
Something he would make often is a fruit crisp. The couple liked them, so there was always one in the fridge. He taught me how to make it, this recipe is his recipe, if you could call it a recipe. He didn't use measurements. He would make them with any type of fruit. Most of the time it was made with berries, sometimes a combination of them. This was in California, so most fruit was readily available. And if money is not an issue, you have the entire produce section at whole foods at your fingertips.
|California Apricot Crisp|
Since I haven't been feeling well, I've been making things that are easy. A crisp is what I think of when I don't want to work and I have fruit on hand. I grew up calling them cobblers, actually. This site goes into the difference between cobblers, crisps, slumps etc. I learned that what I make is really a crisp. The chef called it a crisp, I always referred to them as cobblers.
|individual blackberry crisps, unbaked|
In the past few weeks, I've been making many different crisps. First I made a strawberry rhubarb one. That was so delicious, I made another. This time it was California apricot. I was driving past a store in an area where I don't usually go, and I saw a sign, "fresh California apricots" so I had to purchase some. This one was my favorite. Maybe because I really love apricots. This variety is a little tart. So when added to a crisp the sweet/tart combo is just divine.
|Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, unbaked|
And I made even more. There was a bing cherry crisp. I just used the last of my bing cherries in the freezer. Last summer I purchased 30 pounds of cherries from an orchard in Oregon.
Then I made some individual blackberry crisps. Another favorite fruit of mine.
|Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, baked|
This dish is really versatile. The above strawberry rhubarb crisp, I used half oats and half flour in the topping. For the others I used all flour. I used white sugar in these, but sometimes I use brown. Most fruit would work. My favorite is fresh peaches. I cannot wait until the summer is here for fresh peaches. I just drooled thinking about it.
|bing cherry crisp|
Plums, apricots, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, even apples all good choices for a crisp.
|Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp|
|A deer that lives in our backyard|