Getting my ingredients ready for blueberry crumble, where the berries can be prepared right in the pan and the topping in a small bowl, photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Getting my ingredients ready for blueberry crumble, where the berries can be prepared right in the pan and the topping in a small bowl, photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Something nice

It feels like the right time to make some of my grandma’s blueberry crumble.

By Victoria Petersen

For the Peninsula Clarion

Yesterday, I found out a friend from college died. We weren’t super close, but it was a relationship that felt genuine. They were one of those people who always remembered everything you told them and hugged you every time you ran into each other, and they reminded you that you were appreciated. Their smile always brightened your day. Death remains a reminder to never take the people we love for granted, which can be a challenge when we all have a thousand things on our to-do lists.

A different friend helped me prepare for a nerve-wracking job interview a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been trying to think of a way to repay them. My mind immediately went to food.

I first made lemon cardamom cookies, but our oven temp was off and the cookies burned on the bottom. Fine for us to eat, but I wanted to give my friend something more worthy. A few days later, I tried again, this time with a box of brownies. What could go wrong? Apparently the temperature of the oven, again. I thought the brownies were ready, but once I let them cool, I realized they were definitely under baked. I couldn’t serve this to someone who took time out of their day to help me.

It’s been a few days since then, and my desire to cook or bake is minimal at best. But I’m heading back to the kitchen at 7 p.m. now because I feel so grateful for my friends, all of them, especially the ones helping me get through this pandemic and this time in my life. Pouring that love and appreciation into a bowl of brownie batter or cookie dough seems like the best way for me to express that to my friends right now. It’s a recurring theme in this column: make something yummy and give it to someone you love.

We just passed Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, usually romantic. But, most Valentine’s Days for me have been focused and centered on my friends. My partner and I don’t really celebrate because we think we want to celebrate our love and each other all year long, not just on Feb. 14.

The same should be for friendships, which in my experience, have been some of the most important, and life changing relationships in my life.

I have been thinking about a falling out I had with an old best friend from the past. Seperating from that friend was more heartbreaking than any romantic breakup I experienced. I think society puts a lot of importance on romantic relationships, but arguably, our network of supportive friendships are the people who help us move through this life.

I remember being really young when my grandma told me how important her friendships were to her. It was the family she got to choose. That’s always stuck with me.

With that said, it feels like the right time to make some of my grandma’s blueberry crumble.

If I had a signature recipe, this would be it. It’s one I’ve written extensively about in the past, specifically in college when I was taking a food writing class. I’d say it’s also one of my grandma’s signature recipes. She started making it when she was a young teacher, wife and mother in Anchorage. The recipe is from an Anchorage Women’s Club cookbook my great grandma gifted her. She never changed anything in the recipe, which she says is perfect the way it is.

Every time I make this I think about my grandma, and blueberry picking for my birthday when I was little. Both of which are nice thoughts during cold dark days. It’s also a great recipe to use up some of the frozen berries you have stored. I’ve made this recipe using blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and various mixes of all four. It’s very versatile.

I don’t have much else to say this week, except to hold your loved ones close, tell them you care, show up for them and cherish them.

So this week, I’m making and sharing this crumble, sending cards to friends far away and messaging old pals to let them know I’m here for them.

Ingredients:

4 cups blueberries or other berry/fruit

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

For the topping:

1 1⁄2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place the blueberries into a baking dish. Pour in the sugar and flour, and stir with a spatula until the blueberries are evenly coated. Distribute evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.

3. For the topping: in a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. Mix until evenly combined, then spread across the top of the blueberry mixture with a spatula.

4. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Let the dessert cool completely.

A blueberry crumble ready to be baked for friends and family, photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A blueberry crumble ready to be baked for friends and family, photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

This screenshot from the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference website shows the faculty who will be attending the conference, held virtually May 15-18. From left to right, top row, are Francisco Cantu, Victoria Chang, Ernestine Hayes, and Brandon Hobson. From left to right, bottom row, are Anis Mojgani, Marie Mutsuki Mockett and Vera Starbard.
Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference includes readings for the public

After hiatus, annual event back as program transitions out of pandemic

Alex Rydlinski holds one of his pieces in an Instagram photo from July 18, 2020. (Alex Rydlinski)
Alex Rydlinski holds one of his pieces in an Instagram photo from July 18, 2020. (Alex Rydlinski)
Art Guild welcomes self-taught artist as new executive director

Originally from Fairbanks, Rydlinski was looking for a place “off the grid”

Foreground, from left to right: Kenai Middle School seventh grader Cooper Tallent-Darling and eighth grader Gavin Hunt perform as their “Lion King” characters, Simba and Mufasa, while the rest of the cast acts in the background. The school drama department recorded and filmed a rendition of the Disney movie and premiered it in May 2021. (Photo provided by Kenai Middle School drama)
Kenai Middle School produces movie musical rendition of ‘The Lion King Jr.’

The film is available to stream online this weekend.

Sierra Moskios is the coordinator for the REC Room. Moskios recently received an Alaska Afterschool Superhero award for her dedication to the youth of Homer. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Moskios earns Alaska Afterschool Superhero award

Sierra Moskios earned the Alaska Afterschool Superhero award for her dedication to Homer youth.

A souffle omelet takes a delicate hand but offers rich flavors and sophisticated textures. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A Mother’s Day omelet from the heart

Mother’s Day has been one of the hardest days of every year since my mother left this world 13 years ago.

Brie and caramel apple voulevant is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, photographed in April, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A celebration of food

Make first gatherings special with this simple but sophisticated brie and caramel apple voulevant.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Time to enjoy, not to annoy

I’m already overhearing growing concerns about whether or not the usual influx of tourists to the peninsula will be dampened due to the surging tsunami of fuel costs.

Photos courtesy John Schoen
Mary Beth Schoen admires a large-tree old-growth stand in Saook Bay on northeastern Baranof Island. Some individual trees were over 6 feet in diameter and many centuries old. This riparian area was adjacent to a salmon stream and was full of bear trails. Large-tree old growth stands are rare on the Tongass.
‘Tongass Odyssey’ explores decades of research, politics and change

‘What we learned is that old growth forest is very important’

Will Morrow (courtesy)
When did I get wise?

When did I turn into that old guy who feels like he has to give everyone else advice?

Most Read