Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rhubarb-Blueberry Crumb Bars

There is very little else to say about these things. Holy yum, batman.

Yesterday morning, we decided spur-of-the-moment (ah, summer) to go to Beech Hill Land Trust for their free picking day. I had just discovered this gem of a recipe in the backlogs of Deb's blog, and we set out for the hill with Miles in the ergo, an empty terra cotta plant pot (someone - er herm, me - forgot the pail) and what turned out to be some wild ambitions.

 Four cups of low bush blueberries is SO MANY blueberries! Jesse entertained the little guy (meaning he let him crawl around in the bushes and occasionally dug things out of his mouth) while I picked. And picked. And picked. An hour and a half later, we had about two cups of blueberries and suddenly the idea of blueberry crumb bars wasn't all that exciting anymore.

Except, it was. Oh, how I wanted those sweet, crumby squares of delicious. And then (oh, then!) I remembered - Rhubarb! Miraculously, I still had a few stalks of rhubarb left in the fridge, so they stood in for half the blueberries in this recipe and OH. MY. GOD. I don't know what I would have done without them. Truly, their bright tartness adds such a vibrant high note to the sweet, lush blueberries that I can't stop eating these things. No, really. Someone come and take these away from me. This is a problem.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Zest and juice of one lemon (one healthy squeeze of juice, if you're using the bottled stuff)
2 cups blueberries (I think frozen would work well here, too)
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. Stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or your hands, but move quick so you don't melt the butter) to blend in the butter. Add the egg and squish. It'll be crumbly, like a loose pie dough.

3. Pat half of dough into the pan.

4. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Mix in the berries and rhubarb to coat. Sprinkle the filling over the crust.

5. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or so. Top should be LIGHTLY brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares (It's hard, I know, but trust me, they're better cold - although Jesse didn't seem to notice the difference, so do whatever).

Keep these babies in the fridge, but don't do what I did and leave them uncovered (they're even good stale, wow!). After they're cool, cover in tinfoil or in a tupperware to store. If any of them last that long.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Sandy Pants

Living near the beach definitely has its perks.

Dangling toes in the waves? Perk.
Listening to the gulls and terns? Perk.
Picnics on the rocks in the evening? Perk.
Eating handfuls of sand and chasing it with a pile of seaweed and some small rocks? Oh, definitely a perk.

Sand diapers? Not so much a perk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pita Pride

Guys, I am so proud.

Seriously, besides the birth of Miles and maybe that time I kicked a soccer ball in the right direction (twice!), this is my proudest moment in life.

Check these babies out:

I know, right? How gorgeous is that? They're magical!

And here's a secret (shhh, don't tell) - they are ridiculously easy to make. I mean it - I made them while simultaneously frying falafel patties and feeding Miles cantalope. They're in that group of mystical recipes that look super impressive (creme brulee? Souffle?) but take almost zero skill. Perfect!

Adapted from  here.

1 1/8 cups hot water
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1  teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1.Put ingredients, in the order written, into the bread machine and use the dough setting (the bread machine and I are getting along much better lately).

2.Turn dough onto a floured surface. Stretch dough into a 12 inch ropeand cut dough into 8 pieces.

3.  Roll each into a small ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle (about 7"). Set aside and cover with a dish towel.

4. Let rise 30 min, until just a little puffy.

5. Preheat oven to 500.
6. Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack (this part's important - they need high, direct heat). Bake pitas on rack 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown.
7. Remove from oven and immediately put pitas in a sealed brown bag so the heat will soften them.

You can stuff them with just about anything (falafel and tsatziki, seafood salad, turkey and cheese, hummus and veggies, puppies...) once you snip the top off. So much fun!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life Preserver

Miles had his first sailing adventure yesterday! It was . . . .  interesting.

I feel like I say that alot these days when asked how something was with the baby. How is sleep? Um, interesting. How is dinnertime in? Certainly interesting. Well, sailing was like that, too. We're really, really lucky when it comes to the baby thing; we've got a happy, flexible, not-easily-ruffled little guy, and it makes doing all the things we used to do really pretty easy. Miles is only 6 months old and already we've been hiking and camping and swimming in the ocean and out to eat at restaurants and to see bands at pubs - he doesn't cramp our style so much as add a little extra pizazz (and spit up) to it.

That being said - whoa sailing. When Jill came over for dinner on Friday she invited us to go out on the boat and we leapt at the chance. I grew up on the water (and in it) and Jesse has never been on a sailboat, so he was psyched to try it. And we just kind of assumed, given that Miles is a total fish and likes pretty much everything, that he would feel the same. What we didn't factor into the equation was . . . the life jacket of doom.
Apparently, life jackets are crap. And sunscreen makes him shiny.
And shiny is crap too.

The instant we strapped him into his just-purchased, coastguard-approved vest he started making horrible guinea pig noises. The guniea pig noises escalated into hyena noises and he pretty much started flipping out before we even left the dock. He settled down for the dingy ride out to the mooring, but then once we were settled onto the boat and had cast off, the hyena-pig returned. I spent the first hour of the sail with him attached to my boob, balancing on my lap like a little buoy and alternately whining and sleeping.

We were able to enjoy the sun and waves and spicy chips and giraffe nuts and goat songs and all the other stuff that goes along with sailing (sailing with Jill, at least) while the young Captain slumbered.

Then upon awakening and realizing that, jesus christ, I'm still in this freaking life jacket, holy god, the most tantrumy of tantrums I have EVER experiences from my little angel ensued. We're talking eyes screwed shut, flailing fists, wailing at full volume for like 6 hours. (Or 15 minutes. I'm not sure. Whatever). And then, as is typical of my dear child, once he realized that, sorry honey, mommy can't do anything about it because we're on a freaking sailboat in the middle of the ocean, (and once we allowed him to be naked - little nudist) he settled down and spent the rest of the sail calmly watching the waves, smiling, eating a banana, and chewing on the jib lines.

So yeah, sailing. It was interesting.