Getting Chill with the Grill 1: Grilled peach-berry crisp


Over the impossibly fast flash-in-an-instant that somehow equates to 13 years of marriage, I've often deplored-but-secretly-not-minded the way Dave and I have fallen into stereotypical roles. He has a brilliant aptitude for finance, and fixing things. I have a tendency to be a mite too territorial in the kitchen, and  generally care more about the state of the house when it comes to cleanliness (although Dave is much better about de-cluttering, being patient enough to find places for things as opposed to going with my restless tactic of just getting rid of them). Of course, allowing ourselves to get too comfortable in aforementioned roles has an enabling effect that can be somewhat funny, but awfully detrimental in the long run. Case in point: one day Dave looked up how to fry an egg on YouTube. (In his defense, he just has an insatiable need to know how to do things step-by-step perfectly.) Example number two: when Dave went to visit family in England on his own once, I was oh so proud of myself for responsibly paying the bills while he was gone. Too bad I was completely oblivious to the fact that we're set up for direct debit, thus we double-paid that month.

Today, I've decided it's high time we shook off the confining barriers we've constructed for ourselves. No more enabling! OK, less enabling. And small steps. I'm not ready to jump into deep water, but I will dip my toes into something that "Dave does for me" which is a little more comfortable: the world of the grill.

Dave is really good at grilling. He is great at handling the invariable, angry wasp nest released mid-spring from the black, iron cave. He has perfect judgment for when things are done just right. But as someone who loves to cook, I think it's important I get over my reluctance--maybe even fear--of taking charge on the grill, and what better way than via a series of experiments. Similar to a "slow cooker challenge", just not everyday. I'm not that brave.

If you're not totally buying me into this proclaimed new challenge, that's probably because I am purposefully trying to fool myself, a little bit. Who am I kidding? I'm typically all too happy to let Dave enable me. It means I can stress out in peace about things I worry about while he takes care of them! But I do have additional motivation this time. Our oven is having problems. It makes sense not to use it until we figure and sort them out. Besides, it's fun exploring alternatives. Recently, for example, I made slow-cooker lasagna, and while it lacked a bubbly crisp cheese topping, it was lovely. Plus, it's summer, and it's grilling season.

First independent grilling project: a peach-berry crisp. Like I said, baby steps. If you're highly observant (or just a nice person/friend who humors me by reading my blog), you may notice the recipe is remarkably similar to a favorite fruit crisp recipe. That's because it is just about identical, except it's prepared on the grill.  Uh-huh, baby steps.

It may not be surprising or creative or anything new, but this crisp is luscious. It's melting, sweet and tart all at once in a sensational summery way. It's also incredibly easy to assemble, fairly fuss-free, and awfully fail-safe. As with most recipes but even more so, everything is flexible, from ingredients to cooking times.

So far, I like the grilling "challenge".  Who knows, it may even lead me to  a more involved role with household math. And as far as Dave's  burden of being enabled is concerned, he's on his way to becoming a master of oatmeal, and it's fun to cook together, too.

Grilled Peach-berry crisp (oven works too!)

  • Approximately 6-7 cups mixed berries (I used a 16-ounce pack of frozen blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and also added about a cup chopped strawberries)
  • 2-3 medium peaches or nectarines, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar or honey
  • Liberal dash cinnamon
  • 1 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • Dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used a Smart Balance blend; could also use butter)
  1. In a two-quart foil pan, combine berries, chopped peaches, raw sugar/honey, and cinnamon. Stir to mix. Cover with foil and let stand approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Place foil pan on grill over medium heat. Cover and grill for 30 minutes.
  3. While fruit is cooking, prepare the topping. Combine oats, whole wheat flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl. Reserve the oil until ready to top.
  4. After 30 minutes, mix in the oil to dry ingredients to form a crumbly, streusel-like topping. Remove foil from pan and spread topping evenly over fruit. Place foil pan back in grill over indirect heat and cook a further 15 minutes. Serve warm.