One of the hardest things about balancing a full-time job in addition to this blog is finding time to do chores. It's crazy how much time things like doing the dishes, laundry, and just general tidying up can take! Week nights can stretch late into the night, especially after a long work day, an hour at the gym, cooking dinner, and so on. Eventually, something's gotta give.
The good thing about living in San Francisco is that you can practically outsource almost everything and anything. Want somebody else to do your laundry? There's an app for that. Want somebody else to park your car? There's an app for that, too! The only market that doesn't appear to have been "disrupted" is the one of dirty dishes. Can somebody build an app already where somebody takes my dirty dishes away and returns them all clean and shiny? Kthanxbai. You can thank me for the idea later.
In all seriousness though, I recently had the chance to try Farm Fresh To You, a San Francisco-based second-generation family farm (whew, say that three times fast, I dare you) that delivers seasonal produce and other fresh groceries directly to your door. You can opt for regular, fresh groceries on their site by signing up for one of their CSAs. Although it's not quite an app, it's similar to one of those services that promises to make your life easier since all produce comes washed and ready to use right out of the box.
And although I've always loved shopping for my own groceries and picking out my own produce, I've been frustrated by more recent experiences in San Francisco and decided that this was a good opportunity to take it easy and let somebody else do the work for me. I opted for one of Farm Fresh To You's "No Cook" CSA boxes and was pleasantly surprised — the box was delivered two days later and had been delivered overnight. It was nice to have it waiting for me on my doorstep first thing in the morning, allowing me to put away the produce before heading into the office.
Even better, however, was the produce in the box. At first glance, I saw three different types of lettuce, cucumbers, and heirloom tomatoes. And the fruit! Don't even get me started! Erlend and I received a watermelon and a honeydew melon, as well as an abundance of strawberries, nectarines, pluots, and peaches.
With so many fresh fruits lying around, I decided to bake the strawberries, nectarines, and peaches into this whole grain buckle that you've been seeing throughout the post. Buckles are basically a sort of cake studded with generous amounts of fruit and topped with streusel to give it its crumbly, almost "buckled" appearance. Although buckles are traditionally made with blueberries, I decided to give it a bit of a California twist with the fruits from my CSA. Buckles are also traditionally made with all-purpose flour, but I swapped it out with both spelt and whole grain pastry flour to give it a heartier flavor, as well as make it a little bit more healthful. But don't panic! Just in case things were getting too healthy, I kept a ton of streusel in there too — ya know, to make life fun.
This post was sponsored by Farm Fresh to You!, though all thoughts, opinions, and words are my own. If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend you checking out their site and trying a box for yourself!
Some baker's notes:
- If you're not a fan of the berries and stone fruit that I used, feel free to swap them out with the fruit of your choice! This recipe also works incredibly well with blackberries and traditional blueberries.
- This recipe uses spelt, which is one of those ancient whole grains that's incredibly tasty and good for you. It looks kinda like wheat flour, but has a slightly tarter and sweeter flavor. It's available in most health food stores or fancy grocery stores like Whole Foods; alternatively, you can always buy it online.
Strawberry, Nectarine, and Peach Whole Grain Buckle
(adapted from Good to the Grain)
For the Streusel Topping:
- a 9 by 9-inch square cake pan with deep sides (in a pinch, you can also use a 9 by 13-inch rectangular pan with deep sides)
For the Streusel Topping:
(makes enough for one 9-inch square cake)
- 1/2 cup whole grain pastry flour
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
For the Cake:
(makes one 9-inch square cake)
- 1 1/4 cups spelt flour
- 1 cup whole grain pastry flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream (in a pinch, you can use plain yogurt!)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into half and quarter pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh nectarines, de-stoned and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used 2 small nectarines)
- 1/2 cup fresh peaches, de-stoned and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used 1 medium peach)
For the Streusel Topping:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup whole grain pastry flour, 1/2 cup spelt flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt until well combined. Use your fingers to rub the 3 tablespoons cubed, cold butter into the flour mixture, breaking it into smaller bits and making sure that all of the bits are coated. Continue rubbing until the mixture feels coarse and you're left with pea-sized crumbles. The faster you do this, the better (or everything gets all melty and gross).
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape 1 large egg over the dry ingredients, before stirring the egg in. Once the egg incorporated throughout the mixture, use your hands to squeeze handfuls of the dough together. The topping should result in hazelnut-size clumps mixed with finer crumbs. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
For the Cake:
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare a 9-inch square cake pan by spraying generously with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 1/4 cups spelt flour, 1 cup whole grain pastry flour, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Paddle the ingredients together on low speed until well combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add 1/2 cup unsalted butter until combined.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup whole milk, 1/3 cup sour cream, 4 large egg yolks, and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Lower the mixer to its slowest setting and slowly pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl, paddling on low speed until the batter is smooth.
- Scrape half the butter into the prepared dish. Sprinkle half of the strawberries, nectarines, and peaches over the batter. Scrape the remaining batter over the fruit and use an offset spatula to scrape the remaining batter into the pan. Sprinkle the last half of the fruit over the batter and top with the streusel crumbs that you made earlier.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched. Allow the buckle to cool in the pan on a wire rack and use a spoon for serving.