If you asked me about the first food blog I ever read, I don’t think I’d be able to give an exact answer. It could have been 101 Cookbooks, or Orangette, or David Lebovitz. Or it could’ve been Smitten Kitchen. Back in early 2006, there might’ve been a few more choices, but not that many.
By the time I was a freshman in college, I’d already sort of become obsessed with food. Trouble was, I was living in a shared dorm at a small school in the suburbs, and it was way before the days when your average college had any interest in serving food that was even mildly appetizing. (In fact, during my first semester, I found a piece of cooked bell pepper on my plate still had the sticker on it. I almost had a nervous breakdown.) I couldn’t cook in my living space, and didn’t even have a car to drive off-campus to eat somewhere else.
That year in school, I remember eating a lot of flavorless black bean soup and stale bagels with peanut butter. So looking back, reading blogs was probably my way of vicariously savoring food that was delicious—and maybe also a lifestyle that didn’t involve sharing a postage stamp-size space with a roommate who’d plant thumbtacks on the floor next to my bed. I’m not kidding.
Until very recently, there was a while where I didn’t have much time to read food blogs often anymore. So I found out from my friend Shannon that Deb Perelman was coming to our local bookstore this past Friday. For some reason, I tend to hold off on buying the things that I really, really want for a long time (and instead buy things I realize I don’t want that much…I bet there’s some interesting psychological work going on there), so I didn’t actually pick up a copy of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook until Thursday. But I’ve been reading and re-reading it ever since, and getting to see Deb talk in person on Friday just made me love her book even more.
The first thing I made was her Apricot Breakfast Crisp, with a few tweaks to have it make sense for fall. I hit on the idea of dessert for breakfast about a year ago, and it seems like Deb and I are on the same page.
Don’t feel bad about eating this first thing in the morning. It’s too delicious for debate.
Comice Pear Breakfast Crisp
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
For the fruit
1 1/4 pounds Comice pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
Pinch of nutmeg
For the topping
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 1-quart baking dish with butter.
2. Add the pears, sugar, flour, and nutmeg to the baking dish. Use your fingers to toss the pears until they’re completely coated.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the sugar, then the oats, the flour, the salt, and the walnuts. Mix to combine.4. Dollop the topping over the fruit evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and pears are soft. Serve warm