Last year I wrote about sorbets, including rhubarb and rhubarb in general with a recipe for a galette. Read more
Sorbets for the Season
As quickly as summer finally appeared in the Northwest, it disappeared just as fast. We’re back to gray skies and cool weather. But a small window of much-anticipated hot, sunny weather was good excuse to whip up some rhubarb strawberry basil sorbet. You can sorbet almost anything. And sorbets are hard to ruin since they are essentially fruit, sugar, water and often lemon. Sometimes even vegetables. They can end a meal along with a cookie, or they can be used as a palette cleanser between courses.
Below is a recipe for the sorbet I made, but there are many recipes out there and they call for wildly different amounts of simple syrup (your sweet base) and even the ratio of sugar to water for the syrup itself. This means there is no right way or recipe. Some recipes called for corn syrup, which I didn’t want to use so I left it out. Read more
A Year of Produce: May
In April, I posted my first month tracking fresh produce expenditures—comparing local versus non-local produce. See May below or download a high-res PDF of May. To paraphrase a saying, eat the colors of the rainbow and you’ll be fine. May is already looking more colorful.
Two things I’m struggling with:
• Defining local: If I were to use the 100-mile radius rule, then I would have to find out if the Washington apple I buy at grocery store is from a farm within 100 miles. My very loose definition of local is Oregon and Washington. Given that a big percentage of my local produce costs are from the farmers market, I’m fine with my definition.
• Including garden costs: This project isn’t about tracking garden costs. Here is an example of a couple who tracked all input costs, labor and output from their garden. This is far too ambitious for me. An excellent read is Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Her family existed for a year on what they grew or could buy within a 50-mile radius. I am only tracking what I harvest (visually) and the cost of seeds or starts, but not compost or fertilizer. However, I haven’t devised a strategy for tracking every sprig of thyme! I’m a big proponent of having an herb garden. Given the cost of fresh herbs and the flavor boost your cooking, herb gardening is where I would put my effort if I had very little space. See this culinary herb primer on Culinate.com.
Maybe you’re wondering what I do with all this. Here are a few links or suggestions:
• Radishes and Fennel went into a Radish, Fennel, Orange Salad. The watermelon radish, if you can find it, is a visual delight—white on the outside, hot pink on the inside. Radishes make my stomach burn but my mother loves them. It was Mother’s Day. What can you do? The sweetness of the fennel and orange balance the peppery radishes. Plus the salad looks kick ass.
• In an earlier post, I wrote about Rabes (Raabs), and offer up a quick way to cook broccoli rabe. You can also download a recipe for Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa, a signature dish of the Puglia region in Italy.
• May continues to give us rhubarb. If you missed April, here’s another chance to download a recipe for a Rosemary Rhubarb Galette. Top with goat cheese and serve with a salad for a lovely spring lunch.
• Chef in the Market, Jeremy Eckel of Bar Avignon in Portland, OR, made a wonderful farro (This has become my favorite grain. Stay tuned for another post.) salad with grilled asparagus and spring sweet onions. Add some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, and chopped hazelnuts for a great Spring BBQ salad.
• New Seasons market has a nice kale and carrot salad that I’ve recreated at home. It uses an Asian-inspired dressing of cumin, canola oil, fresh ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesami oil. No need to cook the kale first; the vinegar breaks it down so make it a little ahead. I also use the Italian kale in minestrone soup. Sadly, it is still soup season in Portland!
If you have any questions and comments, let me know! Share some of your favorite seasonal recipe ideas. Cheers!
When Life Gives You Rhubarb…
…you better do something with it. Like asparagus, rhubarb does not have long enough a season for one to ponder buying it another day—unlike potatoes, greens or onions, for example. But ask your market vendors. They usually know how much longer something will be available.
One look at these ruby stalks and you think “Making a pie sounds like a lovely idea, doesn’t it?” And then the poor things go limp because your culinary intentions were just that, intentions. But I’ll say this about not only rhubarb: Just cook it while it’s available. Don’t wait for a special occasion or more time or the right mood. The doing of it inspires more of the same. This is true of just about anything.
I say, forget the pie! You can download my Rosemary Rhubarb Galette recipe, which is like pie, only more wabi sabi, and therefore, more fun to make. Not to mention easier.
Former host of Splendid Table , Lynne Rossetto Kasper, offers a Rhubarbarita recipe for when a regular margarita just won’t do. Now I’ve got a quart of this syrupy garnet goodness in my freezer, ready for the next party.
The easiest thing to do is chop it up and cook it with a little water and sugar (like you would for cranberry sauce), till the rhubarb is tender. Eat it with a pork chop or for breakfast with granola and yogurt. Couldn’t be easier. It freezes well, too. Just chop it up and put it in a freezer bag. It’ll keep for a year.