nib·ble (nbl)
v. nib·bled, nib·bling, nib·bles
1. To bite at gently and repeatedly.
2. To eat with small, quick bites or in small morsels: nibble a cracker.
3. To wear away or diminish bit by bit: "If you start compromising too early . . . they nibble you to death" (People).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hot time in the Summer

My boyfriend works in organics and occasionally arrives with nearly overripe fruit to make use of. This time he  brought me a ton of very ripe organic strawberries to bake with. I planned to make a strawberry pie but didn't have quite enough free time to do it. He suggested I make a strawberry crumble instead. It was damn good. 

Strawberries and I have an odd relationship. I've been trained to avoid them for most of my life due to my sister's severe allergy to them. She breaks out in hives. So, they were never in the house and I really only ate them at friends' homes and restaurants. Of course they naturally became my favorite fruit by the time I was in highschool. 

As I grew older I was able to buy them for myself, and I really overdid that for awhile. I had strawberries in everything from my salads to my sandwiches. Now I seem to be sensitive to them. This is not surprising because many people with mold allergies (like me) are sensitive to fruits like strawberries and melon because of their high water content. They easily develop mold spores that can nauseate people like myself to no end.

You may notice that my recipe requires that you freeze the fresh berries before baking them. I know that this may seem odd, but I think its an essential step. I have baked many fruit pies and crumbles, and berry pies are always better texturally when baked from frozen. I made the crumble and left it out for 20 minutes before baking it in the oven to allow the fruit to thaw a little. I think it works because it slows the cooking time on the fruit to something closer to the crumble top's cooking time, synchronizing them. The result is a firmer fruit crumble with a more intense fresh fruit flavor. 

 I also had some avocados that were very ripe, so I made a batch of my guacamole to eat with a nice multi-grain ciabatta loaf from ACE bakery. I have been making guacamole for years and have been told that my version is excellent. If you don't want to use the sour cream, you don't need to, in which case the recipe is raw, gluten free and vegan. It should be eaten fairly soon after preparing, but it is thrown together in a few minutes so this isn't troublesome. 

Together these dishes would make a great light summer lunch when paired with a salad. They could also make for a nice afternoon tea or picnic. Both dishes ooze summer in color and flavor. I hope you like them!

NB: Do yourselves a favor and don't bake anything on a hot and humid day. I looked like a beet by the time dinner hit the table.


Guacamole served with a multi-grain ciabatta loaf, hot out of the oven
 Serves 4
  1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mash up with the salt and garlic.
  2. Stir in the juice and zest of the citrus.
  3. Stir in the chopped vegetables.
  4. Stir in the spices. Then incorporate the olive oil, vinegar and sour cream. Drop a pit in the bowl and wrap with saran if storing in the fridge before serving to prevent dip from oxidizing.
  5. Serve with whatever you fancy, I like blue tortilla chips. Also nice with pita or spread on toast with tomato slices on top with a touch of evoo and sea salt.
  6. ENJOY!

Strawberry crumble, hot out of the oven

Serves 4, or one glutton
  1. Prepare one batch of "my crumble topping" recipe with the following additions: Add another tablespoon of oil to the original recipe, add another teaspoon of fresh black pepper, and 1/2 a teaspoon more vanilla extract. Refrigerate it in a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut off the tops of the strawberries and cut the fruit in half. Bag in ziplock bags, freeze overnight.
  3. Remove the frozen fruit from the freezer. Empty into a loaf pan. Top with the butter, lemon, vanilla, olive oil, scotch, sweeteners (sugar and syrup) and spices. Use a large spoon to evenly incorporate.
  4. Top with the crumble topping. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees until golden brown on top and bubbling pink/red around the edges. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.