Strawberry, Rhubarb and Basil Compote

IMG_0216Our first CSA share came with a stunning batch of strawberries, red as gems, and three stalks of rhubarb. There’s really not a whole lot you can do with just three stalks of rhubarb – not quite enough for a crisp or a tart or an Upside Down Cake – but the perfect amount for a compote!

Strawberries and RhubarbRhubarb and Strawberries

Need the easiest dessert idea in the world? Well, this is it.

  • Chop up your rhubarb into about half-inch pieces.
  • Avoid and discard the greens as it’s been hammered into my noodle my whole life that they’re poisonous. I remain skeptical, although I just stumbled on a “Cooking Light” article entitled: “Healthy Foods That Can Kill You,” starring the poor, downtrodden rhubarb green. Do not fear though: I promise the stalk is harmless.
  • Take the stems off your strawberries, though I have no poisonous disclaimer about them – only a bitterness one.
  • Put your strawberries and rhubarb stalks in a saucepan with a splash of water, three well-sized teaspoons of sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla.
  • Wait for a heavenly aroma to engulf your home.
  • Then throw a few leaves of (preferably garden-fresh) chopped basil in right before serving.

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Once cooked down into a mushy-like substance, compote is divine on ice cream and a real crowd pleaser. So we pleased a crowd and showed off a little.
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Give it a whirl.

 

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CSA 2014!

photo 5 After a long and painful fresh veggie-less winter, our CSA has finally returned. And we are in pure ecstasy eating food that tastes surprisingly like, well, food.

In our very first crop this week came:

  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Mesclun Greens
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Bok Choi
  • Sweet Salad Turnips
  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • And Frozen Blueberries

photo 3Not half bad for week one.

And with said bounty we made a Vegetable Lasagna with zucchini, share arugula and spinach, and a vegan’s nightmare’s worth of ricotta and mozzarella.

We had several mesclun salads with greens that taste incredibly unlike store-bought salad, with radishes and Oh My Goddess Dressing.

For dessert, we’ve made Strawberry Rhubarb and Basil Compote to serve over vanilla ice cream. (No, I’m not even a little kidding).

We also made Blueberry Muffins (with lemon zest), Coconut Soup with Rice Noodles, Tofu and Bok Choi, we roasted asparagus with garlic and lemon, and even tried sautéing sweet salad turnips. Those, while counterintuitive via their namesake, were surprisingly delightful.

Still more dishes to be made, as our loot has yet to run out. Doing a little dance now. Actually, doing many, many little dances.photo 4

What came in your share this week?

Windowsill Growings-Ons

We’ve made some mentions lately of goodies from our garden being thrown in our meals, like scallions in our peanut noodles and chives in our eggs, et cetera, but it’s been a while since we’ve given a progress report on our window garden’s goings-ons.

Our cherry tomato plants we were so dubious about are actual tomatoes… or tomatoes of the not-red-yet variety.  They’re cramped and could definitely be happier – drought not helping – but they’re fruiting, so I, for one, have big plans for their future.

Cherry Tomato Plant

Cherry Tomato Plant

We have added zucchini to our plot, knowing that it tends to grow copiously. And copious it has been! The zucchini greenery has spread like mad, and we now have little zuchi flowers a-bloomin’!

Zucchini Flowers

I’ve heard rumors you can cook with the flowers, but haven’t heard of any appealing recipes. Would be delighted by contributions.

And a certain someone demanded we have a lemon tree. I have no clue on earth how a lemon tree will survive in our apartment come winter, but I assume we’ll find out. And it must be going well enough as little buzzy bees have been visiting our windowsill!

Lemon Tree BeesAnd as our last addition, we grew some berries! They’ve quickly gotten squiggly with the heatwave we’ve been suffering, but when we get to them in time they’ve been a stupendous treat.

Strawberry Plant

In less good news, our spinach totally kicked the bucket. It was a comic failure. As were our mustard greens. And our mint has on days and off days. But I’m taking the optimistic view that for our first window garden ever, things are going in our favor.