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Blackberry Lime Crumb Bars
4

blackberry lime crumb bars

Well, we missed picking blueberries again this summer.  I seriously don’t know how we’ve managed to do this for the third summer in a row but somehow, July and early August just sneak by without a spare Saturday to hit up the local blueberry patches.

blackberry lime crumb bars

We did, however, stumble upon a blackberry u-pick field while we were cruising around the north shore of my old stomping grounds early last week.  What a day it was!  The night before was filled with a fun family wedding at an aquarium (such a great place!) and we took Monday off to get in some sun and relaxation before heading home.  Windows down.  Music up.  Long Island’s farm and wine country.  Sea air creating those never-ceasing and uncontrollable ringlets with my not-tightly-enough pony-tailed hair.  We had an inkling of what vacation feels like.

blackberry lime crumb bars

Our intention was to pick blueberries but we filled up 3 pint baskets with gorgeous blackberries instead.  No complaints here, especially considering we got this dessert out of the deal.  A quick stir together of blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lime juice (to help the blackberries break down) is sandwiched between a crumb mixture that acts as both the bar base and topping.   So simple.  So amazing.  And yep, so versatile too – strawberries, peaches, blueberries, apples, raspberries (you get the point) all work beautifully here so you can’t possibly choose the wrong fruit!

Blackberry Lime Crumb Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

The original recipe calls for lemon zest and juice but lime seems to be a more natural choice to use with blackberries. If you use other fruits, choose your citrus according to what works best with that fruit.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cups
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 stick (8 oz or 1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 8x8-inch pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the baking powder and flour. Lightly whisk in the salt and the lemon zest. Cut in the butter and half of the beaten egg with a pastry blender (or two knives or your fingers) until the butter is about pea-sized - the mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour. Spread a little more than half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.
  3. In another medium bowl, stir the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and lime juice together. Gently mix in the blackberries with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the berries. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. These bars keep well refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Source

source: adapted from these strawberry crumb bars

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Black Bean and Beef Chili
20

Black Bean and Beef Chili

With Fall on the doorstep, the morning temperatures here have been dipping into the 30s and honestly, it’s been lovely!  This weather has also got us craving (and I mean craving) cold-weather foods and I’m the first one to say, “Bring on the chili!”  Actually, when I was making up our menu for this week last Friday morning, I sort of had an epiphany when I realized, with my winter slippers already on and a hot cup of coffee sitting next to me, that it’s time for cozy food again.  What an exciting moment in a Fall-favoring foodie’s life!  So this black bean and beef chili made it to the menu and the weather hasn’t disappointed us yet this week.  It seems as if Fall is the only season that “knows” it’s place here in New England – Winter lasts well into Spring, sometimes it feels like we miss Spring and jump directly into Summer, and Winter often feels like it starts in November.  Fall…you’re right on time!

Black Bean and Beef Chili

We made this chili once last winter and decided that it deserves a place of honor next to my turkey chili.  It’s really fantastic…for a beef chili.  Believe it or not, this was our first beef chili – it’s been one of Kyle’s long-standing, yet never-fulfilled requests and I can assure you that he is a happy camper with this recipe.  I was mainly afraid of beef chili being greasy but the use of very lean ground beef in this recipe remedies this issue…which made me a very happy camper.  What’s so cool about this recipe is that you’ll purée one can of the black beans with the tomatoes and this mixture will thicken the chili as it cooks.  The chili ends up thick and hearty without too much heat despite the various types of chile powders.  I can’t think of a better meal to welcome in my favorite season…and paired with a few scoopable Fritos, I’d say it’s pretty darn close to perfection.