Rhapsody In Rhubarb
We’ve only been back a week, but already I’m baking all the time. In France I practically never baked, for an alphabet of reasons: a) there was a bakery right next door, b) there were 14 other bakeries in town just in case we needed them, c) French ingredients behave a bit differently and don’t always work well in American recipes, and d) and I had a limited supply of baking pans available.
Shel went to the bakery once or twice a day, for his morning pastry and often a bit later for the day’s bread. Here on the island the bread situation is downright tragic. There’s bread that’s quite decent, but it’s delivered from Seattle, and only 5 days a week. There’s bread at the weekly farmer’s market, for $6 a loaf. Fresh, cheap, local, delicious bread available anytime, including weekends? Forget it. Before we went to France I used to bake a high percentage of our bread, and now I remember why. I also used to bake piles of breakfast treats for Shel and freeze them, and I guess I’ll have to take that up again as well. But in the meantime there’s the rhubarb to keep me busy.
Having a vigorous plant, and being the only rhubarb lover in the household, are pretty much guarantees that all of my hostess gifts plus most of my own breakfasts these days will involve the sprightly, tangy fruit. Here’s a recipe for the best rhubarb compote I’ve ever tasted, probably the only one I’ll make from now on.
It makes a gorgeously pink, addictively sweet-tart compote, laced with Grand Marnier and orange zest. I’ve been eating it with Greek yogurt, but if we had any vanilla ice cream I’d likely put them together in a bowl and bliss out. I’ve even loved it on a rye crisp covered with almond butter, but then, I’m weird like that.
Then there’s this recipe for rhubarb cobbler. Let me just say that this very afternoon a ravening horde of otherwise genteel lady writers demolished it in a trice. And that it was very good. And that I agree, a higher rhubarb to cake ratio would make it even better. And that even though we have guests coming from California tomorrow and I need to bake something for them to have for breakfast, I think I’m rhubarbed out for the moment. Coffeecake, anyone?