I am still on a bit of a sage binge, but now I have turned it's attention to dessert. Not just any dessert. One of my all-time favorite comfort deserts, one that I make over and over this time of year.
I've also been kind of obsessed with the idea of making a dessert in a jar. I've seen apple pie in a jar, and I always thought that it had a bit of a fun and wow factor rather than just serving as it normally would be.
Years ago, when we first started dating, Michael took me on a date to this fancy place that cooked and served everything in mason jars. I loved it, he totally impressed me with that one. I am a sucker for food things that are interesting and different (even if a bit gimmicky).
When they came over to serve our food, the waiter carrier over an uber-hot jar with some sort of tong holder thing (just like those ones you would use for canning) and then he spooned it from the jar onto the plate. They cooked the food low and slow in those jars, and the results were quite delicious. That place has since closed, and I have yet to find anywhere that does something similar. Such a unique idea. Things in jars are always more fun.
I’ve been brainstorming about my dessert in a jar for weeks now, and I've been craving a good apple crisp. Apple crisp is so much easier to thorw together than a pie, but it is just as satisfying … sometimes more. Alternate layers of crisp and apple is how a crisp should be. Equal part crispy goodness, equal part sweet apple yum.
Serving them in a jar is fun because adds a bit of interaction if you have guests. It also has a practical element because you can make them ahead, put a lid on them, and save them until you are ready to bake/eat. If you're having a party, I would pre-bake it, that way you can pop them in the oven shortly before you're ready to serve. Just be sure that if you are serving them to your guests in the jar that they are cool enough to touch, or else you'll need to provide some sort of oven mitt or heat proof towel for them to spoon it out. Better yet, it's probably better if you bring it over to their plate spoon it out for them. I'm sure they'd be impressed.
Before you ask, I am going to answer the question that might be burning in your brain, which is …. No, these jars are not going to explode all over your oven. I promise. I’ll admit, I was a tinge nervous putting them into the oven that I was going to have a mess of glass and crisp all over the place, but I've done it a few times, and everything was fine. You MUST use canning jars for this, because canning jars were made to take the heat. They are made to withstand boiling water which means they can easily withstand the heat of a 350º oven.
This recipe is for a basic, vegan, gluten-free crisp which you have probably seen around before. The sage mingles so well with apples, if you love sage feel free to add as much as you like. You can also experiment with different crisp combinations in these jars. I think pears with be great, or if you want to get crazy and more savory, go for some butternut squash.
The only thing I will not negotiate with you is the ice cream. It is a must. I always use a dairy-free coconut based vanilla, but any type or flavor that you like will do just fine. A crisp is not a crisp without the cold melty ice cream to go with it.
For my first recipe of 2013, I hope you weren't expecting a salad or a smoothie.
Now is probably a good time to tell you that I don't really do resolutions. Not to discourage the cleansers and the dieters - I'm proud of you, yay! - but I do believe that we should be making good decisions to eat healthier all year round, not just in January.
I do feel it is important to take the time to reflect on the past year and think about what was good and what was maybe not so good and make slight life adjustments accordingly.
If I ate too many pieces of pie last year, maybe I try to not eat so much pie this year.
If I didn't eat enough kale last year (not really possible), maybe I try to eat more kale this year.
If I drank one too many glasses of champagne at a christmas party (that may have happened), maybe I try to drink one less next time.
Cutting things out of your life that you enjoy are only going to make you want them twice as much, at least that is what happens to me. So, I prefer to make little changes in order to create more balance.
That's what it is all about, isn't it?
Okay, onto pancakes.
I've been on a bit of a pancake kick lately. More than normal.
I guess I was feeling like I needed some more pancakes in my life ... you know, to balance things out.
I made these pancakes with a mixture of quinoa flour and white rice flour, which turned out to be a pretty nice gluten-free blend. The only thing I would mention is that they do have a strong quinoa flavor .... so if you you want more of a subtle quinoa taste, feel free to lessen the ratio of quinoa flour. Say more like 3/4 cups of white rice flour and 1/4 cup of quinoa flour.
If you did make resolutions, I hope that they are ones that you will benefit from all year and bring balance (and maybe some extra pancakes) to your life.