Last night there was a point in which I thought the momentum of the evening could have taken me anywhere. Despite the soupy air and a sun that would never set, I felt great in my Jackie Treehorn homage for the Big Lebowski showing at our brewery: White shoes. White pants. Red Shirt. White tuxedo jacket, that somehow was tailor made for me thirty years ago. Fueled by a steady diet of wheat beer and white russians, my friends and I’s hedonism was not merely limited to the lawn where the film was being shown, but spilled out of the front gate, down the street and into my favorite cocktail bar. After a sidecar-or two-and a failed attempt to impress the girl I was chatting up’s wingmate, it was time to call it a night. I can only assume that mirthful thoughts where in my mind (I can’t recall them at the moment) as the back of my suit jacket waved goodbye to downtown under the self-propelled momentum of my bike. Somewhere, sometime between then and home, my chin decided to make friends with the pavement below me while my right hand and the phone it was holding, evidently, offered only a slight deflection. Thus, upon literally peeling my face from my pillowcase in the morning, I quickly developed a craving for comfort. Lacking the soft touch of a caring woman, I decided on the next best thing: food.
My grandparents are just barely winning in their long, indistinct battle with insanity. I was called out of the brewery the other day to pick up “something” that they had dropped by our tasting room. Welly-boot and extended chemical gloves clad and spilling sweat, I rushed into the tasting room to be handed an issue of Saveur with the preface that the recipe I wanted was tucked somewhere in its pages. For a good couple hours while I finished my brew day, I wondered what the hell they were talking about as I could not remember asking for any recipe. Finally when I got home and turned the pages did I connect the dots in my little mystery, as well as find this tasty looking treat. Three weeks prior, for my sister’s 21st birthday they took us to a steak house. I asked our poor waiter about steak tartare, of which he had never heard. I glossed over the major points for him (Raw. High Quality. Acid. Aoili.), but could not exactly say how it was made as I’ve never made it before. For whatever reason, that little nugget sunk into my grandmother’s brain only to be mined out when she came across the recipe in Saveur. Its sweet and thoughtful yes, and I only label it as strange because she remembers this, but sends gift certificates to stores I’ve openly complained about for Christmas. I can only assume that I will be this “selective” when I get older.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar, plus some for sprinkling
- 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 lbs. blueberries
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 glugs of brandy
- Ice cream for serving
- Whisk flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large bowl; add butter, and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until little pea-size crumbles began to form. Add milk and stir just until a moist dough forms. Make sure you get all the way down into the bowl so none of that flour is hiding. Then refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 400F. In a cast iron skillet or dutch over, bring the blueberries, citrus juices and the rest of your remaining sugar and salt to a soft boil after you stir it up nicely. Here is where I decided to throw in a couple of glugs of brandy, because brandy makes cooking fruit bad ass. Give it a shot. Saveur suggests to take it off the heat once you get to a boil, but I would cook it a little longer next time to try and reduce the liquid a little bit further.
- Once the heat is off, take two table spoons and use them to scoop out little turtle shells of dough and drop them onto the surface of your slump. Sprinkle sugar on top of the dumplings.
- Place skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes at 400F.
- Plate and eat with ice cream if you know what’s good for you.
So comfortable. For some good comfort tunes, check out Chappaquidick Skyline from Joe Pernice and you can take solace that you are not as sad as he. Then enjoy your slump, or cobbler, or grunt, or whatever the hell you want to call it.