Chat Leftovers: Buckle Topping, Relationship Menu Planning

Morristown, N.J.: Whenever I make a blueberry buckle (like last night) the crumbly topping is less crumbly and more hard and sort of cracks when you press a fork against it. It tastes good, it is just not the right texture. Am I adding too much/too little flour and/or sugar?

When I first discovered buckle a few years back, I too had issues with the topping, as did many MA readers. In this case, the topping was too soft (too much fat, not enough flour) and would sink into the buckle batter rather than sit on top and behave crumbly, as a buckle topping should.

After several rounds of kitchen tinkering, here's what I've come up with: a buckle topping that yields plenty of crumb with just the right amount of fat to keep it from becoming cement.

Buckle Topping, Take 68
1/2 cup granulated sugar or light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into dice

Go here for the complete recipe, with tweaks.

Sterling, Va.: Hey Kim. My bf has very simple tastes...white bread, cheese, meat and a select number of vegetables. I try to eat whole grains, lots of vegetables and stay meat-free as possible. I would like to cook more for the both of us, but the gaps between our palates seem so huge I just get overwhelmed, give up and end up settling for some horrid instant-pasta dish. Do you have any suggestions for how to 'start' identifying meals and dishes we would both like? I am floundering and would really appreciate any help I can get.

Sterling, this is not just your problem -- it's his, too. Is he wringing his hands about the weekly supper lineup as much as you are? I'm thinking a big fat No. And I'd argue that if BF wants to see some of his food represented at the table, he needs to share the responsibilities -- be it meal planning, shopping or rolling up his sleeves in the kitchen.

The burden shouldn't be yours alone to tackle -- nor should it be even if your diets were more in sync. Not that long ago, Mister MA called me from work, asking me what was for dinner. "Hmm, I don't know," I replied. "What IS for dinner?" It was a rather uncomfortable moment for us, but a powerful springboard for further discussion -- and resolution (she says, crossing her fingers).

Before we start talking about meals for all mouths, let's scrape the stuck bits from the bottom of this pot and start talking. And this weekend, tell BF that the two of you are going out on a date -- to your neighborhood farmer's market -- for ideas and inspiration.

The last word:
In response to one reader's request for yogurt-based popsicles, Kelly from Fredericksburg, Va. shared her firsthand blogged report and recipe.

In a post-chat e-mail, Kara P., of Annapolis, Md., came to the rescue with a Washington area source for locally milled flour. She and her husband, who co-write a blog, recommend checking out Wades Mill, a family-owned mill in Raphine, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley, which accepts mail orders by phone.

More from this week's What's Cooking buffet table.

By Kim ODonnel |  July 16, 2008; 8:23 AM ET Chat Leftovers
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Hi Kim,
I saw that the chat touched a little on peach season starting. This year I want to do a pick-your-own adventure with the family, and then put up what we gather. Do you recommend freezing or canning? If we can, can we do it without adding sugar?

Posted by: amo | July 16, 2008 10:32 AM

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but you might want to call Wade's Mill to find out where they get their grain. Yes, it is milled there on the premises, but it may be that most of the raw product that they grind and sell to the public is brought in from another state.

All of that being said, Wade's Mill looks like a beautiful place! I'll have to file it away in memory to go and visit it one day.

I only mention this because the organic mill that I get our flour from, Frankferd Farms Food (, imports most of their wheat and grain from Montana and a few other midwest states. I was hoping to count our flour as a local food for the ELC, but by definition the raw wheat product (prior to milling at FFF) is from well beyond the 100-mile radius limit.

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | July 16, 2008 1:36 PM

Centre: Excellent point.
From reader "FoodieTot" who replied to my query via for local grains, check Byrd Mill near Richmond (, Wye Mill (Eastern Shore), & grist mill at Mount Vernon.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 16, 2008 2:05 PM

Thanks for the update on the buckle topping. Even though my last attempts at buckle were lacking in proper topping texture, they were still delicious. Can't wait to try the new and improved!!

And to everyone else, if you haven't made buckle yet this summer, you've got to try it!

Posted by: MMcG | July 16, 2008 5:52 PM

Hey Kim,

This seemed like a good spot for a random posting. The all-vegetarian rosé wine tasting went off beautifully. Vegetarian (not Vegan) pizza three ways was a hit (chevre with roasted eggplant; margherita; carmelized onions & gorgonzola). The bean burgers (everyone-check out the archive) were terrific!



Posted by: Fairlington Blade | July 16, 2008 9:07 PM

For the woman with the 'white bread' boyfriend, she should start making food the way she wants to and if he doesn't want to eat it, too bad.

Start with foods he likes to eat (whatever those are) and use whole wheat pastas, or mix different veggies in with his favorite ones.

I doubt he's going to break up with her just because she cooks healthy food, but if he does, wow. That might be a guy worth losing.

Posted by: mdreader | July 21, 2008 12:17 PM

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