Épinal If any of you are wondering what to get a new mom after the baby is born, think about delivering a home cooked meal. Mind you, I only do this for special ladies like my daughter’s best friend Hayley, who lives in Seattle. Hayley is my only hope to lure my daughter back to this city, I’ve known her for ages, and I love her like one of my own.
Hayley recently had her second baby and I clearly remember when I rang the doorbell to deliver dinner after the birth of her firstborn. Both she and her chef-husband expressed so much gratitude for the fairly pedestrian meal I brought. (Incidentally, if you bring a meal for those who cook on a regular basis, do not ever worry about what to make or how your food will taste. It’s the best gift to have someone cook for you!) For this second pregnancy, we had brunch together two days before her daughter Mia’s arrival and carefully planned what type of food she would want – so I knew I would arrive with a dinner they would love.
Hayley gave birth to Mia on the last Monday morning in January and by Friday I was packing disposable pans with Belizean chicken, brown rice, seasonal greens with basil vinaigrette, homemade challah and a berry crisp right out of the oven. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’ve written about both the chicken and challah right here on My Global Kitchens website – so you know they have extra special meaning to me! It was such a delight to meet little Mia. And I promise I behaved myself – I didn’t stay long OR kidnap the baby.
Hayley told me about an internet site called Meal Train where someone who wants to organize meal delivery can offer this as a “sign up” sheet for family and friends. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?? I believe we should all keep this in mind for anyone in need of nourishing meals: an elderly relative, a sick friend, a new neighbor, anyone. Just..do…it!
The dessert I brought them, a berry crisp, has a story of its own. Hayley served crisp at her wedding and LOVES this dessert. I always keep a bag of crisp topping and frozen berries and/or peaches ready for a quick, wonderful finale. Sometimes I put a little fruit in a two person oven dish for me and my husband, and if I have unexpected company or am not in a mood to fuss over something complicated, this is my go-to, end-of-the-meal surprise.
- 2 cups regular flour
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter, cut each stick into 8 pieces
- 1 cup rolled old fashioned oats
- 2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
- 5-6 cups fruit (see options below)
- 3 Tbsp flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar (or less, depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
* makes enough for four-brownie size square pans, about 8 cups. I normally use 2 cups of this per 8-9 inch square pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the crisp topping – combine the 2 cups of flour and the 2 cups of brown sugar into the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse to mix. Add the butter and use the pulse button to combine the butter with the flour. Stop pulsing when mixture is the texture of moist crumbs. You could also do this (cut the butter into the flour and sugars) manually with two table knives.
Place the flour/sugar/butter mixture into a large bowl, and add the oats and nuts. Use your fingers to work everything together gently.
I then remove 2 cups of this for the 9 inch crisp I am making and freeze the rest!
Combine filling ingredients in a bowl to mix well, then place mixture into a buttered baking pan.
Place 2 cups of the topping on top of the fruit, covering the entire exposed filling; especially around the edges.
Bake for 45-60 minutes in the center of the oven or until you see fruit juices bubbling up through the topping. You may want to place foil or a larger rimmed cookie sheet underneath the crisp while baking it to catch the juice.
Cool on a wire rack. This is best served slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, crème fraiche or whipping cream.
Ideas for the fruit (I have used different combos of the following):
- Strawberries and rhubarb
- Mixed berries
- Thinly sliced (1/4 inch) peeled apples (I mix golden delicious and granny smith)
- Peeled & sliced peaches
- Unpeeled & sliced plums