California Cold

Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp

When most people think of California, they envision endlessly blue skies, sunshine, sandy beaches, and a casually chic population dashing about with surfboards and lattes while waiting for their next audition.

Well, that's only partially true--and it depends a great deal on where you live in California. While Mr. B and I aren't preparing for our next audition or loading our surfboards onto the car, most days we do enjoy those blue skies, sunshine, and fairly sandy beaches (the coastline includes a mix of jaw-dropping rocky cliffs, too).

But, not in May. Instead, we often find ourselves cranking up the furnace and whiling away the gray mornings eagerly anticipating a little afternoon sunshine. 

This is the month we don our sweatshirts and hit the yard, preparing the garden for planting and thinking up a landscaping strategy that will make our everyday pool time feel like we've skipped off to one of those star-studded resorts.

Back in the kitchen, I busily go through my pantry and freezer on the lookout for any ingredients or wayward scraps that I can use up in a last homage to the colder season. Soon enough, these cold mornings will be gone and like everyone else, I'll be complaining about the heat.

Most likely, it will only be a matter of weeks until I start writing about frozen confectioneries and other summery treats, but until then, I'll share my amazingly simple and delicious recipe for blackberry and blueberry crisp-- a belly warming treat with cinnamon and cloves, hot from the oven and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp

6 cups of mixed frozen blackberries and blueberries
2 Tablespoons sugar in the raw (or white sugar)
1 Tablespoon of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon Myer lemon zest (or lemon or orange)
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
pinch of salt

6 packets of instant oatmeal with brown sugar (remember, using up things from my pantry)
1/3 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
pinch of salt

1 pint of organic heavy cream, whipped with 2 teaspoons of good vanilla

1. Lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the berries, along with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, vanilla and salt.
3. In a food processor, combine the instant oatmeal, the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt and pulse until combined and crumbly.
4. Top berries with crumb mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until the topping is crisp and deep golden brown and the berry mixture is bubbling.
6. Serve warm with a large dollop of whipped cream.


  1. I got your package Mel and it was so thoughtful! Your note brought tears to my eyes, but in a good way. Thank you so much!! Hugs!

  2. Love the idea of using oatmeal packets. I have some that need a home,too!

  3. Even in the summer, I could eat a crisp or cobbler. As long as I'm in front of the a/c. It seems as if our chill has morphed into a mini heat spell. Time to pull out the ice cream! Oh, and I found your blog via the Writing American Food Facebook page. Happy to connect.


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