May 13, 2010

Best Case Scenario Crisp

Last Tuesday night, one of my favorite people from waaaaaaaaaay back in high school came over for dinner.
I’ll never forget one of the most meaningful conversations in my life, back then, when he and I were hanging out in the back seat of the school bus on the way home from a leadership conference. The Smith’s were blaring excellent tunes from someone’s boom box and Jeff and I were talking about the important things in life. It is a Technicolor memory for me. Transforming and important. For over twenty years Jeff didn’t know how much that conversation on the worn green vinyl seats in the back of the bus meant to me. He wrote to me from Bible College for a little while, until we lost touch and went in separate directions. Seeing him again, we picked right up where we left off.

Kevin, Jeff and I enjoyed steaks sautéed in shallots and butter with blue cheese compound butter melted greedily over the top. I’d bought a loaf of fresh French bread at New Seasons and made a salad with spinach, strawberries and avocado. Just as I was about to put the rhubarb apple crisp into the oven, a fuse blew and the oven light was out. Kevin texted our neighbor Mary and asked her if we could run the dessert over to cook in her oven.

Just as the dessert returned, Jeff asked us what the “Best Case Scenario” would be for us. What would the Best Case Scenario in life entail?

It made us pause and think… maybe it caught us off guard. You don’t actually do that very often anymore as an adult. No one asks what you want to be when you grow up once your grown up, and everyone assumes you must be doing what you want to be doing because you’re not doing something else. But is that necessarily true?

Suddenly, the lights flickered on and the oven was again in working order.

We sat in silence and savored the hot rhubarb crisp drenched in melting vanilla ice cream, each of us quietly pondering our “Best Case Scenario.”
Crisp Topping:

• 6 Tbs butter, cut into ½ inch chunks
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• 2/3 cup flour
• ½ cup rolled oats or chopped nuts
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp grated nutmeg
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Using your fingers, work the butter into the rest of the ingredients so that each piece is coated and you have a coarse crumbly mixture.

Set aside.

 Rhubarb-Apple Filling

• 1 and ½ pounds baking apples, peeled and cored
• 2 pounds rhubarb, diced into 1-inch pieces
• 1 and ¼ cups sugar
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• A pinch of ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dice the apples, then put them in a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Arrange the fruit in a cast iron skillet or a 2 quart gratin dish and cover with the toppings. Set the dish on a sheet pan to catch any drips and bake until the juices from the fruit are bubbling and the topping is brown, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve with a lovely scoop of vanilla ice-cream
*Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

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