Once upon a time, when we were little – we thought our parents were gods. Infallible and perfect beings, who fed us and cared for us and loved us unconditionally. Those things are still mostly true for me, except now, I’m wiser and know that parenthood is full of blunders and trials and lessons learned. Similarly, as a kid – there were a bunch of people I really respected. Older girls who were full of energy and ambition and passion, who I looked up to and secretly wished were my older sisters. Dream power couples who lived (what I naively thought) perfectly enviable lives. Accomplished men and women who I deeply respected and tried to emulate. But as I grew older, I began to experience this phenomenon, where these folks who I had so admired began to lose some of their allure and luster. Those dream couples have since divorced. Those accomplished men and women live duplicitous and selfish lives, and their interpersonal relationships are in shambles. Those same girls who I had modeled myself after have long since abandoned their dreams and succumbed to an uglier side – slaves to various addictions, mean-spirited, cynical and not the shining role models that I had dreamed of. As a kid, I clearly put them all on an unfair pedestal. And in terms of their eventual fates – a lot of it was circumstance. And while I hate to say it, but a lot of it was probably choice too. And though it’s mean and judgmental of me, it’s made me lose a lot of respect for these individuals, who once upon a time, inspired my dreams and were the gods of my childhood.

2016-07-05_10-03-04 An arrangement of dahlias, tulips, hydrangeas, peonies, roses, climbing roses, rice flower and white fuchsia

Summer Fruit Crisp
Source: This recipe is a mishmash of the ATK’s Skillet Apple Crisp topping recipe and my own filling. One of the beautiful things about a crisp is that you can’t really go wrong with the filling as long as you’ve got good fruit, a bit of sugar and some thickener. That’s really all you need. The rest is really all up to your own tongue and personal preference. As a note though – berries are low in pectin and will need a bit more starch to help thicken the juices, while stone fruits, particularly plums, have more pectin and will need less help from the starch to achieve that nice thick, syrupy consistency. I used apricots, which I peeled using the boiling water bath trick, but would have also liked to have used plums and cherries, which are also beautifully in season this time of year. Maybe next time.

3/4 c all purpose flour
1 c pecans, chopped and toasted
1 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp table salt
12 tbs unsalted butter, melted

3 c fresh mixed fruit, hulled and chopped as needed
juice and zest from 1 lemon
1/3 c granulated sugar [or to taste]
3-5 tbs corn starch, depends on the consistency you like

Preheat oven to 375*F.
For the filling, gently toss all the ingredients together without bruising or crushing the fruit. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow the liquids to release and thicken.2016-07-05_10-05-31Gently scrape the fruit and any juices into a deep pie dish [my Emile Henry was perfect], and place on a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20 minutes.2016-07-05_10-06-33Meanwhile, combine all topping ingredients and stir to combine. Place in fridge while fruit filling bakes. At the 20 minute mark, remove fruit filling from oven and top with the nut-oatmeal mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until the juices are bubbly and the top is a beautiful golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to let the syrup thicken. Serve warm as is or with whip cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.2016-07-05_10-00-40

We had this over the 4th of July weekend, and it was perfect. The topping was crisp and deliciously sweet and nutty, while the fruit was still slightly tart and smelled divine paired with the lemon zest. What a perfect ode to summer fruit.

These days, I don’t see too much of my fallen heroes. I’ve distanced myself and am a bit rueful of what could have been. It’s no one’s fault really, except perhaps mine and my childish expectation alone. And while I can’t change what has been (and they likely don’t care what I think of them), I suppose these fallen heroes still serve as a great teaching moment – and that’s intrinsically valuable enough for me.

Thanks for reading and hope you’re enjoying your summer.


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