I love the sound of the birds in the morning. I love light pouring in through huge windows and the ever-changing scatter of tree shadows that accompany it. I love the vibrancy of nature's colors and the sound of sticks crunching beneath my feet.
I love a strong morning coffee in a comfortable chair, taking in all the innocent sweetness of the breaking of the day. Truly, I love crunchy and clumpy granola soaked in almond milk. I love creamy oatmeal and whole grain waffles and morning glory muffins. I love the rustic, bready things, where you can see the seeds and berries and taste the song of your body intaking such wholesomeness. I love tables filled with all the colors of summer delights- corn, tomatoes, bowls of berries, green salads. And I love spending the entire evening outside, from full-fledged heat to stars in the sky.
On the 4th, Aaron and I went blueberry picking. We picked about 5 pounds of blueberries, eating and pelting them at each other along the way. What I love about blueberry picking is that you can simply park yourself under a single bush for 10 minutes or so, and you just pick and chat until all the good ones have been plopped into your bucket and you can't possibly reach anymore. During one of these picking parkings, I told Aaron that if the opportunity presented itself, I truly think I would be a farmer. I was recently discussing this with my sister- sometimes all we want to do is buy a farm together and spend the days working on the land and the nights feeding anyone and everyone around.
There's just something so beautiful and meaningful about gardening, picking blueberries, harvesting the land. It's like I'm instantly transported to my core purpose. Sometimes it makes me feel closer to God than anything else. I just love it- the dirt under my nails, pails full of lush goodness, the feeling after a day of hard work. And the taste… The flavor of real food, as fresh as it can get, pulled from the ground by your own hands. It's those things that remind me that I'm not in control. I had no hand in growing that organism from seed to fullness, yet I still get to pick it with my one-of-a-kind fingers, created by the same One who planted the plants and inspired the harvest. That is a true gift.
So later that evening, to celebrate both my friend's birthday and America's independence from those lovely Brits who are my heritage, I made the best thing you can make with blueberries- a crisp. I forgot to sweeten the blueberries, only adding a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and a heavy drizzle of maple syrup, but that was it. And I'm so glad. For the topping, I threw together some oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Then I melted the butter, put the topping on the blueberries, and poured the butter all over the top, clumping it with my fingers every so slightly. Into the oven went the cast iron skillet, for 30 minutes at 375. We ate it on American flag plates with melty vanilla ice cream, the most soul-filling of treats. Tart but sweet, warm but cold. My teeth were stained blue until the next morning, but that's what photoshop is for.
I may never be a farmer, but I will always pick berries in the summer, and I will always crave granola with almond milk, and I will always love my family and my people.
all measures are approximate. Just eyeball.
- 3-4 cups blueberries
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil or melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently dump the blueberries into your cast iron skillet (preferable) or pie pan. Drizzle maple syrup on top, as well as the lemon juice, if you're using it. Toss with your hands and chase down any runaway blueberries.
In a mixing bowl, combine oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, pecans, brown sugar, and salt. Mix evenly with your hands. Pour this mixture on top of the blueberries, spreading evenly. Take your olive oil or butter and drizzle over the whole thing, and then use your fingers to clump up the crumble mixture.
Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until browned to your liking. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Notes, of which there are many:
First, as I have mentioned before, I am truly horrible at following recipes precisely. Both times I've made this, I didn't measure anything beyond the oats and flour. Crisp is something that you truly can alter in any way and still find delightful results. Please do adjust any measurement to fit your sweetness level or general liking.
Second, I prefer to make this in a cast-iron skillet, but I used a regular pie pan the second time. It turns out fine, but there's a bit less rusticity to it and perhaps less pan depth too.
Third, if you're going for a healthier option, do use the olive oil. If not, definitely use butter. Olive oil provides a more robust and savory flavor, while the butter gives you the classic crisp flavor.
Fourth, there are a lot more things I could say about adjustments, but I'll stop. Go bake this and make it your own.