Monday, July 27, 2009

Woke up, got out of bed

Rose early, (the 5:15 crowing of our dueling roosters is not easy to ignore - something must be done, but I'm reluctant,) and wanted to get some baking in before the temperature inched up to the forecast 100+ degrees.

I've had some rhubarb, the last of the bings from our neighbors' tree, and a bag of plums from another neighbor in the fridge calling out to be eaten. The rhubarb and cherries definitely needed to be put to use.

Now, I would pretty much say that I never experiment with baking. Other types of cooking, sure. I'll adjust spice levels or replace one ingredient with another that's on hand, especially when we're talking vegetables. There are so many unlabeled spices in the drawer that I'm certain I've been unwittingly using turmeric when it calls for curry and chili instead of cayenne for years. But baking is different. Baking has always seemed so specific to me. And, to be honest, I love baked goods so much that I'm really not willing to risk the outcome by messing with the recipe.

A few years ago when Amy offered her recipe cheat sheet I downloaded it right away. Since then I've checked it a number of times against the contents of the fridge and pantry to see if I had enough for a recipe, and more importantly, could wing the directions which, for most recipes on the sheet, are not included. What I made this morning is loosely based on the recipe for Crisp Topping + Filling.

It was time. The fruit was on hand, and though it may seem an odd combo (plum+cherry+rhubarb,) I wasn't fearful of the mix. And I pretty much always have the requirements for a crisp topping on hand.

Plus, I had thrifted these awesome Le Creuset mini baking dishes who knows how long ago, and they seem far more made for rustic little crisps than the loud stacking and unstacking that Calder used them for back in his baby bodybuilder days. (Le Creucet is lovely but not lightweight!)

Perhaps it was the early hour, but I was finally willing to experiment with baking.

Everything came together beautifully. I enjoyed dropping in unmeasured spoonfulls of various ingredients and shaking in cinnamon to my liking. Guessing at the amount of fruit worked well. It smelled "right" while baking and looked "right" out of the oven.

Why did I ever wonder what I would do with the last of the whipping cream?

P.S. I've been having a little renewed love affair/obsession with The Beatles. Have you checked out this book?

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