Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
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By lindabcooks
Aug. 15, 2013 11:10 a.m.

Ten o’clock.  The neighborhood’s quiet has finally been broken by the hum of lawnmowers somewhere down the street.  For the last two hours, I’ve enjoyed quiet.  Throwing open the back door and looking out to my garden of basil and rosemary and lemon thyme with some geraniums woven in for color.  I indulged myself in the rare morning quiet, listening leaves clicking softly against one another in the wind, a pair of cardinals calling to each other.  I lost myself for an hour in a book, a a pot of strong coffee, a toasted English muffin slathered with butter and raspberry jam, and glances at an American flag flickering its red stripes in the spaces between leafy branches.  The computer and piles of work sat accusingly on the desk, jealous that I hadn’t yet paid them attention.
Now, I’ve snapped to back to reality, vacation over, the coffee pot practically drained, the cardinals flapping furiously away. The lawnmowers buzz like a swarm of crazed bees as more landscapers unload equipment around the neighborhood.  The refrigerator starts depositing ice cubes furiously into its bin.  I’ll turn on sports radio full blast to my favorite broadcaster, as long as he’s talking baseball.  Pick up the kitchen.  When the noise stops, I’ll move the computer outdoors and try to outrun the sun.
Maybe later, I’ll put together a berry crisp with my cache from the farmers’ markets: they’re just about to go too soft to put on my Cheerios.

ANY BERRY CRISP                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Makes about 6 servings

 5 to 6 cups mixed berries, any kind

1/3 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 cup AP flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

½ cup rolled oats

1/3 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or any combination)

Whipped cream for serving

  • Heat oven to 350F.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
  • Toss together berries, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  • Toss together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in another bowl.  Cut in the butter with this flour mixture until large crumbs form.  Mix in oats and nuts.
  • Transfer berry mixture into baking dish.  Cover with flour mixture.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until top is golden and crisp, juices are bubbling.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving plain, topped with whipped cream or with vanilla ice cream.
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