June 22, 2012

Super Simple Fruit Cobbler

Picking blackberries involves nasty gross summer heat and prickly bushes. It was not my favorite way to spend summer Saturdays at the lake as a kid. But my mom loves to dress head-to-toe and slave away amongst thorns for tart berries. That's where you'll find her these days while I am a lazy bum at the house or dock. She'd rather pick her blackberries, and I'd rather buy them, even frozen; but for the record, she'd rather buy her bakery cake and I'd rather bake one myself.

What mother and daughter do have in common is that we both make this shortbread-crumble-top cobbler and have been since I was first forced to pick blackberries.

It's super simple:
Sprinkle berries with cinnamon in a pie crust. Use a pastry cutter (or two knives) to cut together flour, butter and sugar.
Sprinkle shortbread topping over berries. I like to sneak some of this mixture to snack on, mmm, buttery, sugary yum.
 Bake it. And boom, you have a crumbly crust-topped gooey warm berries to delight.

And some vanilla ice cream, and it's golden (really cheesy pun intended).

June 14, 2012

A theology of cooking creativity

Sometimes creativity, even culinary creativity, feels selfish. Sometimes it is selfish for me.

But Wayne Grudem, in his giant volume of Systematic Theology, helped reorient my thinking last year: we delight in creativity because it comes from God, and we should be worshipful in it.
I have amazing, culinary-creative friends who turn out potluck feasts like this beauty of a backyard barbecue, complete with homemade iced brownies and whiskey sours made with homemade sour mix.
"God has so made us to enjoy imitating, in a creaturely way, his creative activity. And one of the amazing aspects of humanity—in distinction from the rest of creation—is our ability to create new things. This also explains why we take delight in other kinds of 'creative' activity: many people enjoy cooking, or decorating their home, or working with wood or other materials, or producing scientific inventions, or devising new solutions to problems in industrial production. Even children enjoy coloring pictures or building houses out of blocks. In all these activities, we reflect in a small measure the creative activity of God, and we should delight in it and thank him for it." -Grudem, page 272

Like all things in life, I want each moment of my creation to be intentionally done out of gratitude and delight in the ultimate Creator, to glorify him and make him known.  That is why I cook, or why I want to want to cook.

June 6, 2012

Crostini with Lima Bean Hummus and Simple Corn Relish

I bought corn and lima beans on a farmer's market hopping trip with the intention of boiling them and eating them, a nice simple summery side dish for the week.

And then I went for a bike ride and somehow came up with a different idea, because when I have free time I tend to busy myself with random projects instead of doing whatever else I meant to do.
These babes were more dainty looking, outside-the-box, blog-worthy, entertaining-worthy, and therefore worth more of my free weekend time where I was actually in town.

Corn Relish: sweet and vinegary condiment; way to cook corn that stretches it to many uses over many weeks; the best part of this fancifying my food idea. 

Lima Bean Hummus is good, but the texture is coarse and hard to get to spreadable consistency, much more so than other beans I usually use for hummus. It is a pretty color for summertime, fresh, and in season though.