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Posts Tagged ‘Rhubarb’

Yeah, yeah, I know: another rhubarb recipe.  Yawn.

No!  Wrong attitude!  Rhubarb’s season is brief, and we’re running out of time.  We only have a few more weeks to find new and interesting ways to put this stuff to use.

And, as part of this blog’s resurrection from the grave, I’m trying to feature more local, seasonal ingredients wherever possible, which I hope will give all of you ideas on how to use your farmers’ market spoils.  (And, happily, chocolate and vanilla are always in season, so fear not: there will be plenty of non-fruit-and-veggie recipes on offer too.)

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this strawberry rhubarb tart without some reservations.  Wait, you say, a strawberry rhubarb tart with a crisp topping? That sounds awesome. Well, it was…almost.

Everyone who tried the tart loved it (and, admittedly, it tastes delicious — sweet and tart and…well…like spring), but in my mind, the recipe wasn’t perfect.  Here’s the problem: Rhubarb and strawberries give off a lot of juice when cooked, and if your tart crust shrinks even a teensy bit, the juices bubble up over the sides and leave you with a soggy, flabby crust.  Bleh.

In my case, only one side of the crust shrank, so one side ended up soggy while the other was flaky and tender.  So it wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t perfect.

My recommendation?  Try it with this crust, which never shrinks on me.  It’s sweeter than the one called for in the original recipe, but I think it will yield a better tart.

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Well, well, well.  Look what the RSS dragged in.  I’m sure the one person who still follows this blog is thrilled.  (Hi, Mom.)

Alas.  It’s been, what, 18 months?  As in, I could have possibly birthed two children over the course of this interlude.  Don’t worry; I haven’t.

I have, however, quit my job, moved to London, moved back to DC, and started and finished the first draft of a novel.  So…yeah.  I’ve been busy.

But I’m back!  And I’m going to get better about this blogging thing.  At least I’ll try.  Hard.  Even if some of my blogs don’t provide recipes and are more discussions of food-related issues.  Would you mind?  Because, frankly, at this point there are so many recipe blogs out there that I hardly stand out from the crowd.  And when I go back and read some of my earlier entries on my blog, I blush.  Some of the writing is so…I don’t know…nerdy and stiff.  Also, bad.  And the photos?  Let’s be honest.  I’m no Smitten Kitchen.

So, Mom (and whoever randomly forgot to delete me from their Google Reader), let me know what you think.

In the meantime, here’s a recipe to make up for my prolonged absence.  Consider it a peace offering.  It’s a rhubarb crisp that Roger — the crisp/crumble aficionado — deemed “perfect.”  Perfect?  Wow.

But I might have to agree with him.  It’s pretty awesome.  You can barely taste the rose flower water, but combined with the vanilla bean, it adds a floral note to the tangy rhubarb.  And I’ve already told you how much I love crisps, crumbles and the like.  So just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you have a perfect springtime dessert.  It may not make up for an 18-month hiatus…but hey, I’m trying.

Sorry. Crisps are hard to photograph. Alas.

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I often think about what it must have been like to grow up in my dad’s house when he was a kid. By all accounts, there were always homemade baked goods on the counter. Always. His grandmother, a Hungarian immigrant and known to everyone as Gram, lived with him growing up and, well, although I know she had a bedroom and frequented other rooms in the house, I think she pretty much spent most of her time in the kitchen, baking and cooking and baking some more

From what I hear, there were cheese pockets and coffeecakes (“Oh, we were never without coffeecake,” my grandmother has told me) and muhn cookies and pies. Seeing as Gram grew up sleeping on a dirt floor in Hungary and made her way here at 13, formal “recipes” weren’t really part of her vocabulary. Over time, she worked out her own recipes, but more than anything she developed a feel for how recipes worked. She could throw together a pie or dessert without really thinking about it.

I recently came across a stack of Gram’s old recipes, written in barely legible chicken scratch, a Yiddish/Hungarian/English hybrid, most of it phonetic. Some day I will make and post those recipes — promise — but I need to work out the ingredients and measurements and, well, I’ve been a little busy. You know, planning a wedding and stuff.

Though my Hungarian great grandmother surely never used rhubarb in her cooking — and I know the words “sponge pudding” never grazed her lips — this rhubarb sponge pudding is the sort of “thrown together” dessert I picture someone like her baking. It’s almost effortless, and you can have it together and in the oven while you make dinner on a lazy Sunday. With recipes like this in my arsenal, I just may have baked goods lining my counter constantly too.

Edited to add: I stand corrected!  My aunt has informed me that Gram did, in fact, cook with rhubarb and made a wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie.  Who knew!

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