That’s The Way The Blueberry Crumbles
At a monthly community dinner last night, a lively conversation arose about breakfast food. Some thought we should offer a breakfast menu at our next dinner, featuring eggs and sausage and bacon and pancakes and I don’t know what all. Several allowed as how that sort of food was way too heavy to take on board first thing in the morning. I pointed out that by the time you’ve prepared all that, it’s probably more like brunch time. We all agreed that a light breakfast menu does make a pleasant change for an evening meal, though our ideas about what that might look like varied wildly.
I often make an omelet for breakfast or dinner, usually filled with a handful of whatever the garden offers. This morning, it was sweet onion, sweet mini peppers, and a few green beans, perhaps a cup of raw veg in all. They were briskly sauteed in avocado oil with a dash of homemade garlic salt while I whisked two eggs with a little water (I fill the larger part of an eggshell with water once for each egg). When the veg are soft and sizzling, pour on the eggs and swirl the pan. Cover loosely, reduce heat to very low and cook until eggs are set to the degree you prefer. Takes maybe two minutes of prep and about 10 minutes of cooking time. Sprinkle on some snipped herbs and soft goat cheese, fold in half and you have a light, fluffy, puffy omelet that’s golden brown and lightly crusted on the outside and silky soft on the inside. Perfection!
The Perfect Crumble
In summer, another favorite breakfast treat is a fruit crumble with a relatively nutritious and totally delicious topping. For the fruity filling, I often combine blueberries or raspberries with coarsely chopped nectarines or peaches. Here’s my current favorite version, which can be varied according to what’s ripe and luscious. You can also use a cupful of any combination of nuts and seeds or just one kind, whatever you have on hand.
For the filling:
1 tablespoon butter OR avocado oil
2 tablespoons flour (any)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Juice and grated rind of 1/2 large lemon
4 cups blueberries
2 large peaches or nectarines, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup *
* (if fruit tastes flat or isn’t quite ripe)
For the topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
2-3 ounces butter
OR 2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
Lightly butter or oil a 9 x 9 inch glass baking pan, set aside. Combine flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and zest in a large bowl, add fruit and gently toss to coat. Transfer to baking dish and drizzle with lemon juice, maple syrups if using, and remaining oil (or dot with remaining butter).
For topping, combine oats and nuts in a food processor and grind briefly to a coarse mixture. Add sugar and butter or oil and grind for a few seconds to blend. Spoon lightly over fruit for an airy, crumbly topping or press more firmly for a crunchier topping. More butter or oil makes for a crunchier topping either way. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving hot; it’s good warm or cold, really.
Calming Food For Distressing Times
In recent weeks, I’ve been feeling the sorrow and stress of breathing in the final breath of dying trees. For the smoke sensitive, exposure affects not just the lungs but the eyes, throat, digestive and nervous systems as well (anxiety and depression are common symptoms of smoke inhalation, even of second hand smoke). Digestive upsets can limit us to very bland, comforting foods, so this gentle, soothing custard is tops on my breakfast menus for rocky days. It’s also great for convalescents, for those in grief, and those on their way out of this world. It’s also just plain delicious, so feel free to enjoy it even if there’s absolutely nothing wrong in your life and you feel great! Hooray!
A Better Breakfast Custard
The secret to making perfect, silky smooth custard is to beat the eggs thoroughly and to cook it at a lower than usual temperature for longer than you think you should. I use un-homogenized whole milk with cream on top, from a local dairy. If you prefer a sweeter custard, use more of whatever sweetener you like. With a very simple recipe like this, the quality of the ingredients is critical to success. Use the best of everything and the results will be splendid.
6 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup OR sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 quart whole milk
Cinnamon or ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk eggs until well combined. Add maple syrup or sugar and vanilla and whisk until blended or sugar is dissolved (if using). Add milk, whisk well, pour into a 9 x 9 inch glass baking pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Bake at 325 until golden and bubbly (45-50 minutes). Turn off oven but leave custard in closed oven for 10 minutes before removing dish to a cooling rack. Good warm or cold, with fresh fruit or Breakfast Crumble.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Thick, heavy wildfire smoke has haunted Western landscapes for weeks. Here in Washington, it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows because there are fires on every side. Folks like me who have respiratory issues have been staying indoors with windows shut and monitoring air quality sites hourly (the numbers can change fast). Walking around town, I’m seeing people old and young wearing N-95 or N-100 particulate filer masks. The N-95 model filters out most air borne particulates that are .03 microns or larger in size, but it’s not the best for oil smoke. The N-100 version can filter out almost all of any oil-based particulates, as are common in wildfires. It’s especially important to protect our lungs since wildfire smoke contains a largely unstudied mixture of plant material smoke and fire fighting chemical residues.
If smoke fills the air, here are some good sites to check:
For more info on what that smoke is doing to the world: