Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Farmer's Market Secrets and a Fruit Crisp

Are you all going to Farmer’s Markets this summer?  Obviously, I have been.  I have learned a couple of secrets at the Farmer’s Markets I have been going to.  I can’t promise that all markets are the same….but let me tell you what I have learned.  I don’t want to give away all of the Farmer’s secrets, but I have to share this. 

First off, if they tell you that something is ripe….eat it right then and there.  Or later that day.  It won’t last till tomorrow.  Ripe means almost done.  Buy your produce slightly under ripe and let it ripen at home. 

Second, sometimes the produce will look a little icky and wilty.  It is just because it has been sitting in the sun, and it maybe has gone for a long truck ride to get there.  Especially if you are in Nevada.  Our produce isn’t grown in Reno.  It has had a long car ride.  How do you feel after a long car ride in the summer?  Probably a bit wilty and gross.  Just put your produce in the fridge or in ice cold water and it should perk back up.  Don’t get discouraged and think the produce has gone bad….it hasn’t.  And for cryin’ out loud, don’t say bad things about the produce to the farmer.  He or she worked hard to grow that.  Don’t hate.

Lastly, and this is the best secret…..if you don’t have something specific in mind, and you are willing to buy what is there…..shop the last 30 minutes of the market.  Most of the farmers will have marked their produce down so they don’t have to take it back home with them.  I have gotten some smoking deals by just trolling around at the end.  Some even give stuff away right at closing.  Seriously.

Are you wondering what to do with all that fruit you have brought home?  I am going to show you a kick ass fruit crisp recipe.  It is crazy easy and tastes amazing.  You all know what a fruit crisp is, right?  It is delicious fruit baked with a crispy sweet topping.  And….you can use virtually any fruit.  Ok, you can’t use melons or citrus, but pretty much any stone fruit, berry, apple or pear will work.  Let me show you how I make it.

I started with about a pound of fruit.  I used blueberries and super ripe nectarines.  Did I mention that you can mix fruits?  And that you totally should?

My nectarines were so ripe that the skin slipped right off.  If you are using fruit that needs its skin removed, like a peach….do it.  Peel your stone fruits by scoring the top and dropping them into simmering water for about 30 seconds.  The skin will come right off.  If you are using an apple or pear, use a paring knife.

I put my fruit into the bottom of a pie pan.  I sprayed my pan with cooking spray first.  You could do that, or use butter.

Isn’t my fruit pretty?

Let me warn you….I think the best thing about a fruit crisp is the crunchy topping.  I make a thick, buttery sweet topping.  Every bite gets a big ‘ol piece of topping.

I used flour, oats (quick), brown sugar, cold butter, pumpkin pie spice and chopped nuts.  I had some mixed nuts in my cupboard that I threw in the food processor.  That is the best thing about this crisp….I bet you have all that you need to make the topping in your pantry already.

I put all the ingredients in the food processor.  My ice cold butter has been cut into small pieces to help the processor along.

I pulsed this until I had pea sized chunks.  Look very closely and you will see that there are clumps of butter and other stuff that is now pea sized.

I covered my fruit with the topping, making sure that not a speck of fruit was showing.  Remember….I really like this topping.  If you are more of a fruit gal, you can feel free to NOT use all the topping.  But that would be weird, in my book.

I baked this at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

At the end of 25 minutes, I had this thing of beauty.  The fruit still manages to creep up no matter how much topping you put on!

I let this cool a bit before serving.  One of the great things about this recipe is that it is still crazy good room temperature.  It doesn’t have to be served smokin’ hot.

I served mine with whipped cream, but ice cream would be amazing on this.  That is what I normally would do, but this is Paisley’s and she asked for “whiff cream”.

Look at the beautiful nectarines and blueberries!  They are at the peak of their season right now so they didn’t need any additional sweetening.

Remember, fruit freezes well!  Buy a ton from a farmer and freeze it in pie pans!  Then, all it needs is the crunchy topping which takes like 5 minutes to throw together.  How awesome would it be to have this great dessert always on hand?

Yum!  Look at the crunch on that!!  Man, I really love butter.  And brown sugar.  And this.

I hope you try this recipe!  And please don’t tell the farmer’s I’m spilling secrets.

Fruit Crisp

1 pound fruit, such as berries, stone fruit or apples/pears

                -peeled and sliced if necessary

½ cup flour

1 cup quick oats

¾ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup, (one stick) cold butter, cut in cubes

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place fruit in a pie pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Place remaining ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until mixture is in pea sized clumps.

Cover fruit completely with topping.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until top is browned and bubbly.

Serves 6-8

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