Last week, I left my heavy coat and boots behind, and aimed my car down the mountain to the town I’d lived in for the past 25 years. It was the first time to be there as a visitor, since we sold our home in March to move full-time to the mountains around Lake Tahoe.
It was a quick overnight trip, and I was curious how it would feel to be back as a visitor in a place that part of me still calls home. The weather was glorious, the trees well into leafing, and flowers popping up everywhere with flashes of yellow, lilac, pink, and white. I strolled through town, peering in shop windows at the new spring fashions, and wandered into the local grocery store where I’d shopped for years. Familiar faces manned the cash registers and worn counters, and I spied some fresh fava beans to bring back with me. I was in my happy place.
I was well on my way back home to Tahoe when I realized that except for the cashiers, I hadn’t run into a familiar face, a friend, an acquaintance during the visit. I could have been in any cozy little town. For all the years I spent there, I’m still not sure how connected I felt there. It’s a place where everyone is busy with someplace to go, and they’re running late. I was that person too.
Here in our small town on the shores of Lake Tahoe, we lack a number of amenities. There’s no real downtown. The restaurant life and take-out options are limited, and there’s only one movie theater, with one screen, usually showing a kid’s movie or a super-action-packed film that’s huge on special effects, and sparse in dialogue. Most of the car washes are DIY open bays where you park the car, get out to put coins in a machine, and then spray the car with a mixture of water and soap before heading over to the tall, oversized vacuums. The cultural life is mostly limited to summer options (which means July and August), which are highly anticipated by everyone, local sports means the high school, and although we have a few dress shops, I have to drive down the mountain to Reno to buy underwear.
But I also rarely go somewhere here without running into someone I know, and we stop to visit for a bit. We all entertain more in our homes, curled up on sofas with our shoes kicked off and share our lives for hours, and the outdoor activity options are nearly unlimited, which supports a healthy lifestyle. This is where you come to get away from the noise of life. We may be a little short on amenities, but we’re long on essentials. I’ve found there’s a lot of life here to have. Maybe more than what I had just outside a major city. It just all depends on what you call life.
I’m not sure what this has to do with a Strawberry Blueberry Hibiscus Crumble, except that this is the kind of dessert that has been popular for over 100 years. It’s the kind of dessert your grandmother made when the family all came over for dinner. It’s the kind of dessert you visit with friends over, with your shoes kicked off and your legs curled under you. It’s all about home.
- 2 cups halved strawberries
- ⅔ cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon (~4 tea bags) hibiscus tea leaves (I use The Republic of Tea Natural Hibiscus loose leaf herbal tea)
- ½ cup spelt flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour einkorn
- ½ cup rolled oats (not quick- or instant)
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoons cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F, and get out an 8" square glass baking dish or pie plate. Combine the strawberries and blueberries in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the sugar and tea leaves. Cover, and simmer until the strawberries start to collapse, about 8 - 10 minutes.
- Pour into the baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, brown sugar, cardamom, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture in which the butter is as uniformly distributed as possible.
- Spread the crumble topping evenly over the top of the Crumble Filling. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream!
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #WIMPYVEGETARIAN on Instagram. I’d love to see what you cook!
Looking for more ideas with berries? Check out my Berry Madness Pinterest Board:
TEA Party (recipes featuring tea)
- Earl Grey Dinner Rolls by The Redhead Baker
- Tea Smoked Duck (Gluten Free) by The Heritage Cook
- Southern Sweet Tea Roasted Corn by Pastry Chef Online
- Vanilla Black Tea Rice Pilaf by All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Chai-infused Madeleines by Mother Would Know
- Glazed Lemon Tea Scones by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Strawberry Blueberry Hibiscus Crumble by The Wimpy Vegetarian
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.