Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bar
Med school is off to an intense start with a 6 week block of anatomy. We had our first exam after only three days of class. I’m pretty much in class and lab for 8 hours a day and studying the rest of my day so when I say I have no free time, that’s why. I told myself going into this that blogging is a priority, but not important enough to lose my precious sleep over. I do still want to keep it up, and right now we're in the eye of the tornado so to speak so I have some time to squeeze this update in.

The last few months, my blogging frequency has dropped significantly due to a variety of reasons and I've always been making updates trying to explain myself (making excuses) and making outlandish goals ("101 Things to Cook This Summer" ring a bell?) in an attempt to get back to the way things were. Sadly, as much as I wish I could, I won't be able to post multiple times a week for, most likely, a very long time. With this final update post, I want to let everyone know that I will be busy indefinitely and if I haven’t posted for weeks, I'm probably studying my ass off. I will still be posting recipes but I won't be able to visit and comment on my food blogging buddies’ blogs as much as I want to. I also won’t be able to answer the comments on here individually like I have been in the past but even though I may not answer your comment, please do continue to leave comments because I do read each and every one of them! If you have a burning question about something, especially about a recipe, shoot me an email and I will answer it. If you leave a comment I might not get around to answering it for a few days. Please don't hate me or think I'm being selfish because at this point I'm just trying to stay sane. After the content stealing fiasco, a rude comment someone left, and just the time consuming maintenance and upkeep (I still haven't updated the banner, which I've been meaning to do since spring... but hey if you want to make me a banner lemme know) I wanted to take some time to remember why I blog.

At first I started this blog as a way of talking about food and release all my nerdy excitement when talking about cooking that no one I know wants to hear about. In the beginning days, with only a handful of readers, it was essentially a one way conversation. But now after blogging for over a year, I love sharing my recipes with my small-but-growing reader base. The best part is when you guys write me an email or leave a comment saying that you tried a recipe and it turned out great. That is my absolute favorite part about it all. Blogging has made me more aware about eating seasonally and locally. When you see 10 different recipes on 10 different blogs using apples in the fall or fava beans in the spring, it's kinda hard to be oblivious to fact that food is supposed to be enjoyed at its peak. On a similar note, Steven and I are eating more locally sustainable and organic foods too, especially after signing up for our CSA box, which is totally awesome by the way. Not only do we eat our 5-a-day, but we feel good about where we get them. And finally, while I already have hundreds of things I want to cook, I still see creative and delicious looking recipes on other blogs that make me say to myself "Wow I have to make that!" Food bloggers as a group never fail to impress me with their originality and creativity.

This recipe is an example of why I love the food blogging community—because we inspire each other. I made this a month ago at the height of blueberry season. Blueberries have disappeared by now but if you're lucky you may have some stashed away in the freezer. Right now my freezer is filled with strawberries from July, as well as blueberries and blackberries (from my backyard) from August. I'm hoping this berry stash will carry me through the dreary winter. I first saw this recipe on Susan's blog Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy. The instant I saw this, it was one of those "gotta make this" moments and I went ahead and made it later that week. Susan had seen these on Deb's Smitten Kitchen who got the recipe from All Recipes.com. Now I'm making my version with very minor adjustments from Deb's recipe (which had minor adjustments from the All Recipes recipe).

I definitely recommend this recipe especially if you need to make a quick dessert for a party. I brought this to a potluck and it was just one of the best potluck desserts I've ever made. It's one of those ridiculously simple things to make that tastes so unbelievably good.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
From Smitten Kitchen and Allrecipes.com

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 C white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 C, feel free to use that much if you like sweeter desserts)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Confectioner's/powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the 3 cups of flour, 3/4 C sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut into the butter until the butter is in peices no larger than a pea then mix in the egg. Or you can do this in a food processor. The dough will be crumbly but stick together when you squeeze it. Pat half of the dough into the pan.

In another bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Add the blueberries and gently toss them to coat. Pour the blueberry mixture on top of the dough in the pan. Then crumble the rest of the dough evenly over the surface of the berries.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned. Cool completely then cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar if preferred. Can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Oh also, I haven't forgotten about the xiao long bao and croissant recipes, both of them are just extremely long. In fact I have the xiao long bao post all written up but it's 4 pages long (yeah, I know) and I haven't gotten around to editing it. I'm sure there are some pretty embarrassing grammatical errors interspersed in there. I'll post that after I get around to editing it.

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