A year ago this week, Chris and I set out on our journey east, chasing sunrises and answers to questions we hadn’t yet asked. I can’t believe we’ve been in Maine a year already. Largely, it’s been a really good change for us. Well, I can’t speak for Chris, so I should say it’s been a good change for me. Here’s a quick list of the things I love most about Maine (vs. Alaska), in no particular order.
- Our humble abode
- Portland Farmer’s Market
- Restaurants and breweries
- Ocean air
- (Relatively) Normal day/night/light/dark patterns
- Feeling less depressed, stemming from #5
- WCLZ radio
- Appalachian mountains
- Izzy getting dog-tired (pun intended) from swimming in lakes and ocean
- Fruit Orchards
Speaking of fruit orchards, when Chris and I traveled through the backroads of Eastern Washington last year in our U-Haul, the smell of fresh apples from the orchards creeped through the vents. It was fall in Washington, an enchanted time and place if I’ve ever experienced one.
What followed was sitting down at my mother-in-law’s table after a week of meals on the road. Her cooking will bring anyone to their knees, not just the weary traveler. Her cookbook shelf looks like the reference section of a mid-sized library and her binder of recipe clippings could be a best-of archive. Our first morning there, she had a huge spread of homemade quiche, breads, crumb cake, and jams. Everything brought tears to our eyes (give us a break–we were nutrient deprived) but the star of the show was her Cardamom Plum Jam.
We ate it by the jam by the spoonfuls, and agreed the flavor combo would make a stellar dessert. I tossed around the idea of making a pie or cobbler with the same combination of flavors.
A year later, I was still thinking about this stuff so I tried a fruit crisp recipe out of my vintage (5th edition) copy of Joy of Cooking (click here for Joy of Cooking’s Fruit Crisp recipe).
When I do fruit desserts, I like to make them wholesome enough to eat for breakfast. My answer to Joy of Cooking’s crisp was a similar “meat” but instead the sugar/flour/spice mixture on top, I used rolled oats/nuts/maple syrup/spice. The result was a flavorful baked fruit dessert with a cooled granola-esque topping. If you’re hankering for a fruit cobbler or a traditional, super sweet fruit crisp, you might want to pass on this rendition. WAIT! There is a take-away: use cardamom in place of cinnamon and plums as your fruit in any crisp/cobbler recipe you DO try. The flavor combination is out.of.this.world.
- 6 cups fresh plums, pitted and cut into bite sized pieces
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp. cardamom
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine plums, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cardamom.
- Pour into a buttered baking dish.
- In the same bowl, combine rolled oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and maple syrup.
- Top fruit with oat mixture.
- Dab with butter or coconut oil.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling.
- When ready to serve, beat cream and ¼ tsp. cardamom until whipped.