Rhubarb Sauce


Some families consider asparagus or morel mushrooms the first sign of spring, but for us it will always be the tart, crunchy stalks of rhubarb.

I make this sauce every year and put it on everything. Spoon it over ice cream, spread it on top of vanilla cheese cake, stir it into oatmeal or overnight oats or spread it on some toast with ricotta and top with sliced strawberries. If you are looking for a simple, but elegant Mother’s Day dessert use this sauce to create Rhubarb Fool. Fold the sauce into whipped cream, spoon it into a champagne flute, garnish with a sprig of mint, and you’re done! You can find the recipe for the Mother’s Day Dessert at the Omaha Farmer’s Market site, or if you just want the sauce recipe you can find it below.

Rhubarb sauce keeps in the fridge for months, which is just another reason to love it.

Rhubarb Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lb rhubarb
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Directions

Toss the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and vanilla bean paste into a medium sauce pan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb begins to fall apart. This should take about 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée the rhubarb. The purée is finished when it’s thick enough coat the back of a spoon and maintain a line drawn through it. If it doesn’t hold the line let it simmer for a bit longer. Continue to stir occasionally. If you want a smooth sauce, set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and push the purée through strainer or sieve. If you are happy as it is, simply transfer the sauce to a container, cover it and keep it in the fridge for up to a month to use as you see fit. You should have a about 4 cups of sauce.

I wrote the following post 18 months ago, and never published it. Now that I’m nearing the end of an extensive PR campaign for New Prairie Kitchen, I feel the need to publish it. I hope you don’t mind the delay.

Today is my first official book signing. This is the part of the book I never thought about. It’s the part where I feel terribly exposed and incredibly grateful, and in awe of everyone who helped New Prairie Kitchen​ come to life. I know it’s one book. Some people will like it, some will not. Some will champion it and others will push it to the side. I know this. I also know a cookbook is not curing cancer or part of some scientific breakthrough, but it’s my contribution to this place.

New Prairie Kitchen SigningDSC_2435

If we believe that personal interests are really gifts —  road maps to who we are intended to be, as I do, then its our duty to foster those gifts not only in ourselves but also in others. I feel the love and support of so many people right now that my joy is palpable. Not because a project that lived in my head for years finally exists and I can touch it, and share it, but because of the character I had to develop through the process.

New Prairie Kitchen gave me a good lesson in persistence, trust, love, leadership and humility. Through it, I have divorced so many of my former selves, not the least of which was a doubting, pessimistic insecure dolt that showed up about the age of 30. I’m amazed anyone tolerated that version of me at all, and I’m thankful to be rid of her.

Unfortunately, for my children, specifically my son, that version of me was his first mother. I distinctly remember thinking, I don’t how to guide him because I don’t know what guides me. At the age of 30 I took a risk and quit my job to attend NYU’s Publishing Institute, then in the weeks before my planned departure I hurt my back. Many doctors visits and drugs led to a final decision of surgery and bed rest. Rather than attending class on a Monday in June, I walked into a surgical clinic.

When I hurt my back and all of my carefully constructed plans landed in one defeated pile at my feet. Rather than continuing my path as a writer in New York City, I found myself unemployed, with a body at odds with itself and me entering the transformative upheaval known as motherhood. I fell hard and fast for years. I didn’t see the path, but worse, I stopped believing there was one.

Then I wrote a story or two about some chefs, then a farmer and an artisan. Some, like the cheese makers, were trying to revive a dairy industry who many thought was all but dead. Others were launching restaurants with young wives and new babies giving it every hour they had with the hope that the time to play would come later. I rose and brushed myself off a bit every time they trusted me with their stories and shared their vulnerabilities. They reminded me that jumping is always worth the risk even if you don’t land on your feet at first.

 

Home Food


I am not one who believes food is medicine, or art for that matter. I do not think it will cure me. I do not think it’s value should be elevated above those who sit with me at the table. I do think think food will nourish me and nurture me and support me through that which may I may suffer. It will serve as my excuse to meet with those whose company I enjoy. I feel like that is enough to ask of an eggplant or a lettuce leaf or parsnip plucked from the ground.

 

It’s a tricky little world to write about that which feeds us. I’ve often wondered why it matters and tried to mull through the conversations about food I’ve been having lately. Some feel we should push the envelope. Others that we should do everything we can to make food simple, and offer it free of intimidation. I agree with that too.

I was recently asked about how I became a foodie. Admittedly, I bristle at the notion. Personally, I am firmly placed in the unfoodie camp. Most of what I make at home is quite simple. I call it home food. Sometimes if I’m feeling poetic, and maybe even a bit sexist, I call it the food of women. I know men cook. I know men cook at home, but I am a woman and I’ve been thinking lately about the food we’ve made at home for centuries. For me, I try to make things that require as little effort on my part as humanly possible, and can be handled by my young children. While I admire modern gastronomy and its variations on foam and smoke, and food towers teetering in the middle of my plate, it’s not what we eat at home; and I’m deeply interested in what we feed our families. I fear home food is being entirely replaced by restaurant meals, microwave dinners and fast food. It’s not that those things aren’t relevant, but everything has a place. Home food represents a connection that doesn’t come in a takeout container. It’s is a craft worth preserving if not for the sake of our families then for the sake of ourselves.

Sweet Corn and Goat Cheese Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 Cup onion (minced)
  • 1/2 Cup sweet corn (cut from the cob, but frozen will do)
  • 4 Ounces goat cheese, chevre (crumbled)
  • 1 or 2 Pinches white pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • chives (enough to add some color)

Directions

Set oven to 375.
Press pie crust into the pan and make the edges fancy or don't. Quiche tastes good with or without fancy edges. If you are using a homemade crust, crumple up a piece of parchment then smooth it out again. Lay it on top of the crust and pour some dried beans onto the parchment. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes.
Once the crust is finished, let it cool a bit and remove the beans and parchment.
In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, milk, half and half, pepper and salt. Sprinkle onions, crumble the cheese and snip the chives onto the pie crust. Pour in the liquid. Bake for 40 minutes. The center will be set, but a still have a bit of a wiggle. The top should be golden. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.