Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pear-Cranberry Crumble

Yesterday, I was going through a pile of old stuff that had been sitting in a closet at my parents' house. Included in the pile were all my old journals from middle school and high school, which were fascinating and hilarious to read through. The funny part was how angsty I was all the time, about school, family, ballet, college applications, relationships (namely a certain boy named Gabe) was all SO dramatic and I was constantly doubting myself and my abilities. It was really refreshing to look back on those experiences and realize how well everything turned out: I got into a great college, I grew so much during the years I spent dancing, and that awkward high school relationship with Gabe was the best thing that ever happened to me. So I guess this is a long way of me saying that this year, I'm thankful to have perspective. It's a perfect reminder to just take things as they come, appreciate the good things in life and learn from the hard things, and remember that everything happens for a reason.

Speaking of being thankful, this is the dessert I made for our second Thanksgiving. It's slightly tart and perfectly refreshing (especially after a huge meal), and the gingersnap crumble on top gives it a little kick. It's a gorgeous, festive dessert for any holiday meal!

Pear-Cranberry Crumble (recipe adapted a tiny bit from Smitten do I love her!)

Crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 16 small cookies, pulsed in a food processor - I used Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) melted and cooled

2 pounds (4-5) large Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour, both types of sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Then pour in the melted butter and stir until large crumbs form. 

In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch, then add it to the fruit mixture and stir until it's evenly distributed.

Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble evenly over the top, and bake for about 45 minutes or until the topping is slightly darker and the juices are bubbling through.

I would recommend serving it while it's still a little warm, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life Lately

Two non-recipe posts in a row - yikes! That's kind of how it's been recently though. We were out of town visiting family in Carmel Valley, then the following weekend we moved, and last weekend we needed some time to recover and do nothing.

Luckily I do have some photos to tide you over until the next recipe post! I'm making desserts for all three (yes, three) Thanksgiving celebrations we're attending this year, including a classic apple pie, a pear-cranberry crisp with a gingersnap topping, and an attempt at a gluten-free dessert for my mother-in-law. Stay tuned...

We took a drive down to Big Sur during our time in have I not spent more time there?! It was a gorgeous fall day that made me fall in love with California even more.

Not long after that relaxing weekend, we moved. I can't remember the last time I was that exhausted! We are finally settling into the new place and are amazed by how spacious it is.

Poppy likes it too, since she has much more room to run around and chase imaginary things. Also more closet space to hide in.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

In Transit

Gabe and I are moving this weekend, just a few miles away, to a much bigger place with a yard and multiple closets and all kinds of other awesome stuff. It's a little bittersweet since we've created such great memories at our soon-to-be old place, so I felt a little tribute was in order.

This apartment was our first place together, fresh out of college, and meant the world to us as our first home together. After more than four years of long distance during college, being able to finally move in together was a huge, exciting step for us. When we moved in, Gabe didn't have a job yet, so he stayed home and put together Ikea furniture all day. After a few weeks we finally bought a couch but the space was so small that all we could fit was one half of a sectional.

Around Valentine's Day last year, we went to a local animal shelter "just to see what was there" and ended up becoming the parents of a sassy orange cat who has clawed her way into our hearts.

We brewed beer together, cooked meals together, and I started a blog. We learned each other's habits and quirks and settled into a routine.

Last May, I helped Gabe slowly climb the stairs as he returned home after an eight day stay in the hospital. A few short months later, I bounded up the stairs alone, my heart racing, as an epic treasure hunt ended in Gabe's proposal in our living room. Poppy participated, of course.

Amy came to visit and we watched the Giants win the World Series!

We had our first Christmas together and picked out a tree that barely fit in the living room...but it was perfect nonetheless.

We spent countless hours planning our wedding: stamping envelopes, writing our vows, creating seating charts, trying to account for every little detail.

And then we returned from our honeymoon, back to real life, and ready to seek out a new place to turn into our home.

Thanks for the memories, Stuart Street. I can't wait to see what the next place brings!