How to take a “stay-cation”:
Make a really good summer dessert.
Invite a friend to share it.
Sit under a tree on a pleasant afternoon.
Savor the sweetness without a whisper of guilt, preferably with vanilla ice cream.
May be humble
Yet it suits me
I won’t grumble
Give me tea
A chair outside
No need to travel
Far and wide
Rhubarb Crumble (Serves 4 to 6)
Cooking rhubarb has an unpredictable side. How will it turn out? Will it be as beautiful as a bowl of rubies, or a disappointing gingery brown? To preserve that yearned-for red color, I’ve tried the following method that works about seventy percent of the time. Darned if I can figure out why, and believe me, I’ve tried. First, cook the rhubarb very briefly in a wide pan to facilitate evaporation of the juices, which may contribute to the dilution of the color (best guess.) Then immediately transfer it to a baking dish, top it with the crumble and bake.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt
Pinch of baking powder
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut in thin slices
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1. Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process with a series of short bursts until the mixture looks crumbly and is the color of cinnamon toast. It should not look at all floury. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the nuts.
(To make by hand, stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a wire whisk to break up the butter into pea-size pieces. Continue to work the mixture until it looks crumbly and is the color of cinnamon toast. Stir in the nuts.)
1 cup organic cane sugar or white sugar
1 small orange
2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths (to make about 6 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Set a 10-inch by 2-inch round baking dish next to the stove. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Measure the sugar into a wide (12-inch), deep sauté pan. Finely grate the zest of the orange over the sugar. Halve the orange, extract the juice and add it to the pan. Stir the mixture over high heat until the sugar liquefies and the mixture comes to a boil.
3. Add the rhubarb to the pan and stir just until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook the rhubarb, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until it begins to soften but does not yet fall apart. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Immediately pour the rhubarb into the baking dish. Let cool for 10 minutes. Cover the rhubarb with the crumble topping and bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is browned. Serve warm.
Around the web, try
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's many recipes for rhubarb
Red-wine poached rhubarb from David Lebovitz
Strawberry rhubarb cobbler from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes
Rhubarb fool with gingersnaps from Cookin' Canuck