Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here I sit.

...and so it begins, 2010

Here I sit. Bra removed, blouse replaced by husband's t-shirt, feet bare. Classical music at moderate volume. Half prosciutto and fig sandwich resting happily in my belly. One small container of cornichon emptied. One cold glass of milk reduced by two thirds. What? Don't you ever eat a nontraditional breakfast? I've seen the view on the way down the hill and have marched back up. I've had coffee with Chris--our conversation touching on such an array of topics that none saw closure before our kiss goodbye in front of his office building.

I'm in no mood to make order of chaos this morning, so I'll begin with something productive from yesterday. I think I really nailed down my favorite rhubarb recipe.
Yes, I'm still talking about rhubarb. If you haven't attempted any of the suggestions in my last post, try this one first. It is, without a doubt, my favorite.

Rhubarb with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest
6 fairly indulgent servings

3 cups (six long thin ribs/just under 1 lb) rhubarb roughly chopped into 1" pieces
3 cups (two peeled, seeded, and cored) apple (Braeburn) roughly chopped into 1" pieces
Juice of 1 small Meyer lemon
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
Inner seeds of one green cardamom pod crushed well with mortar and pestle
2 bags of Earl Grey tea steeped in 3/4 cup just-boiled water for 3 minutes and then cooled
*Zest of 2 Valencia oranges (1/2 added before cooking and 1/2 added after cooking)
*Vanilla ice cream (!)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chopped rhubarb and apple in a medium casserole dish or oven-safe pot.

Add remaining ingredients (*retaining the zest of one orange and vanilla ice cream for later) and gently toss.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir (It will smell so good). Bake an additional 15 minutes. Fruit should be tender and kitchen should smell even better than it did the first time you opened the oven door.

I let this batch cool slightly (5-10 minutes), spooned some into a bowl, and topped it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I ate the rhubarb as the ice cream melted on top. It reminded me of this. Chris had fallen asleep at this point, but I woke him up and gave him a bite. He liked it too. He even held his eyes open for a couple additional tastes.

Sweet cool cream on warm chunks of rhubarb and apple infused with Earl Grey tea, cardamom, and orange...mmm. It is good cold too. I just checked. It thickens as it cools and I prefer the cooled texture (and color), but I would not give up that first warm taste with the cool melting ice cream. No no no. This is a big batch, eat it both ways.

I have so much more to say (I made this great pizza with Bloomsdale spinach last night and I made Rachel's to-die-for Spaghetti with sardines, rocket, lemon, chilli and anchovy crumbs (oh, those crumbs!) a couple of nights before...I finally read Canal House Cooking Volume
N°1, I'm about to pick up Molly Steven's All About Braising from the library, and then there's my knitting and prose and poetry...) but I fear it would all come across as stream-of-consciousness rambling (too late), so I'll spare you.

Do something nice for yourself today. I'll be here, perched beside my kitchen window, writing, drinking my milk, and thinking about the other half of my sandwich.


  1. It sounds like two very nice meals and both are making me hungry. Our rhubarb is big enough for pulling soon - I can't wait. Life is a bit rough for us at the moment and I'm running out of time to do something nice for myself today. But I'll go into the kitchen and have a slice of homemade bread at least. I owe myself. (By the way, I want to hear about the knitting!)

  2. my mouth is salvating from the descrption of the Rhubarb delight...I am waiting for mineieienot to grow a little quicker...I'll water it a little extra...hurry up grow!
    I need this.

  3. Denise, today you are Lifestyle epitomised and my heroine. Rhubarb and earl grey are two of my very favourite things. Are you sure there aren't socks drying on your radiator or anything else like that to bring us back to reality?

  4. For dinner last night I had a glass of wine and a cupcake. As a friend told me later, I pretty much covered most of the important food groups so what's the problem?

    And thanks for that recipe. When I get my hands on some rhubarb I'm trying it...

  5. Divinity. You have me wrapped up in your words of food and creativity.

  6. Anja, You have your own rhubarb? Lucky you! A slice of homemade bread seems a perfect way of being nice to oneself. On knitting--I'm considering ripping out multiple completed projects. There are some things I just don't use. This way I give the yarn a fresh start. On one hand, it is a little sad, on the other, very liberating.

    Camilla, Maybe reading your rhubarb a bit of poetry or a few of your wonderful quotes will help it up : )

    mise, I don't even know what to do with a compliment when it is being given by such a renowned celebrity as yourself! My (gasp)... I have a pile of dishes on the counter, another pile of laundry in the basket, and my kitchen windowsill is a bit dirty.

    mosey, Well, I just might have to try such a dinner. Perhaps this evening. Prosecco and a chocolate cupcake--yes, that's it. Thank you for the inspiration : )

    alexandria, Really? You are so kind!

  7. i love non-traditional breakfast and that sound soooo yummy.

    what a wonderful day

  8. I am such a traditional breakfast person and then last year I visited my good friend in LA and we had egg salad and some other stuff breakfast and it was just delicious! I need to remeber to break the routines :) The rhubarb with ice cream sounds wonderful.
    Have a great weekend!

  9. This sounds so wonderful as I'm addicted to all of the ingredients. Thanks for inspiring me too to find the courage to cook with rhubarb again with your last post. It was a real success.

  10. This sounds very, very good, perhaps the perfect fate for some of the rhubarb growing in my garden (it is fascinating and a little alarming to watch it force its way out of the earth). I sometimes like to put a spoonful of rhubarb compote in the bottom of pots of creme brulee, as a little tart-sweet-pink surprise.

  11. That sounds SO good! I'm going to have to give that a try; we're big rhubarb fans in our house.

  12. why don't you live in my city? I know we could spend hours together talking, drinking tea and eating rhubarb compote!!!

  13. this is such a unique recipe! Never would have thought to add earl gray. When rhubarb finally comes to the greenmarket near me (this morning I was told it will be another 2 weeks!), this will definitely be one to try.

  14. Oh, I love that image of you perched by your kitchen window..! And I will do something nice for myself today - thank you for the reminder.

    I hope you will do the same, as my today is not the same day you wrote this. :)


  15. I am a big fan of non conventional breakfast and yours sounds delicious. I like your writing very much. Anyway I've had no rhubarb this year so I have liked having it vicariously here. Oh yes, I have this recipe for rhubard and cardamon jelly which I am longing to try - next year. I'm ever so happy that you made the pasta and that you appeciated the crumbs, we had it again on Thursday too.

  16. You had me at "bra removed". That is also my favorite way to sit. Usually, though, you'll find me with a book in one hand, chocolate in the other.

  17. oh that rhubarb sounds DIVINE. i have such a thing for rhubarb so you could talk about it all year and i wouldn't mind :)

    hope you are having a great weekend

  18. everything you've captured here is just so incredibly lovely, as always. such a wonderful scene you've described.

  19. I've never tried rhubarb. In Greece is something you absolutely can't find. Here in Holland I haven't actually looked for it yet. Perhaps I will though cause I would like to try your recipe. In the meantime I would love a sandwich like the one sitting on your desk!

  20. Denise, My father makes a similar spaghetti dish, but without the most interesting ingredients...lemon, chili. I do wonder if, after all of his years, I can gently suggest he try adding a few ingredients!

    And you know, I admire how you write so openly and without hesitation -- something I will suggest (less gently) to me! Best to you as always.


  21. i love french baguette sandwich!
    nice photo!

  22. Oh, goodness, that sounds incredible, delicious and great enough to can it so you can eat it all year. (It's just how I think. Can't help it!) Earl grey is a wonder with apple; with rhubarb, just so clever I'm going to have to try it! Love rhubarb dearly, and so glad I have plants and plants of it!
    And of course, your writerly prose is not to be missed. "Bra removed" certainly wakes you!

  23. Barefoot is bliss. My feet are free of socks and shoes most days (especially as I work from home) and it is utter bliss. As are roomy tees. Here's to a comfortable approach.

  24. I'm so hungry now. Thank goodness there's a batch of muffins coming out of my oven in less 10 minutes. The ingredients in your baked rhubarb sound heavenly. I can't live without cardamom, Earl Grey, and Meyer lemons!

  25. I never have traditional breakfast. This one sounds yum.

  26. My husband loves not so much. But, maybe I'll try one of these recipes just for him!

  27. +++++More rhubarb recipes over on food52+++++

    Char, How about traditional breakfast for dinner? I like this switch too.

    Rebekah, I'm all about breaking routines, sometimes too much so : )

    Vanessa, I hope you are experimenting and having fun.

    Lickedspoon, I know I'd adore rhubarb compote in the bottom of pots of creme brulee. Excellent suggestion!

    stephanie, I hope you like it. Enjoy.

    Amelia, I agree. We'd have some nice times together.

    Nancy, I was "Earl Grey" inspired by a recipe I saw in Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures. I believe she used it in a jelly and again with orange in a preserve. It seemed like something that just might work with rhubarb too.

    Maria, I'm in the same seat today, but there is gloom and rain. It's just not the same. Ho hum... I hope you've done something nice for yourself, maybe a few things.

    Rachel, Thank you! We made those tasty crumbs again too. They are exquisite.

    Relyn, A book in one hand and chocolate in the other is tough to beat. It's a good life!

    Lisa, I wouldn't be surprised if rhubarb does come up again. I still want to try it with fresh ginger. Maybe today : )

    Tumbleweed Woman, Thank you for your comment and for your darling book of haiku poems. It's a wonderful little book/zine.

    Magda, If you can find some rhubarb you should give it a try. Of course, I do adore it, so I'm biased.

    Melissa, Maybe you could make Rachel's pasta dish for your father and see what he thinks. Thank you so much for your comment about my writing.

    Elisabelle, Yes, I love a nice simple baguette sandwich, especially with cornichon.

    Julia, Thank you for your kind words. Canning is a great idea. Your own plants? Lucky you!

    gracia, Today is a bit chilly, so it's stocking versus bare feet. Comfort is key. I believe it fuels creativity.

    life in yonder, It was. I'm missing it today.

    Jessica, I never make muffins. I should, at least once in a while. It's chilly and rainy today...a good muffin day. I agree, there are so many uses for cardamom, Earl Grey, and Meyer lemons. They are good ingredients to have on hand. A staple ingredient post would be fun. I'd love everyone to comment with their staple ingredients. I just might have to write it up.

    Molly, I'm always looking for new breakfast ideas. I do like the basics, but I need more variation.

    Jane, You are a nice wife. I bet he'll be happy.

  28. I love your rhubarb posts! And your writing is addicting--I find myself unable to tear myself away from the screen the more I read! Lovely blog, Danisse :)

  29. I don't know rhubarb very well, but I have a feeling that's about to change. I'm curious whether it's possible for us to grow it here in the coastal Bay Area. My book of edibles says it's iffy in our climate zone, but I'd like to try. Love your blog so very much -- elegant, earthy, eloquent.

  30. I'm going to have to try the rhubarb recipe. Sounds like a perfect afternoon. What happened to second half of the sandwich?

  31. oh, i like how you began this post...


    Just beautiful, friend.

  32. Tricia, Well, thank you for such a kind comment.

    Shae, Rhubarb is easy to get to know. You'll have fun, I'm sure. My neighbor grew rhubarb in Point Reyes, so you should be a-okay in Fairfax. I think I am seriously addicted. I just ate yet another bowl of rhubarb. Today I sweetened with maple syrup and added a little rosemary and lemon zest.

    Ellenitza, Enjoy your rhubarb. I didn't wait long before eating the other half of my sandwich.

    Christina, Thank you.

  33. oh, yum! i am absolutely in love with rhubarb and this recipe sounds delightful.

  34. Something so sweet and simple about this post. Love popping over to your blog for a little smart respite from the online world. Sounds like a great day--and two exciting books (I can't get enough of Canal House although I haven't seen the most recent addition).

    Earl gray, sunshine, and sandwiches. Cheers to simple days. Hope your week's going well!

  35. Audrey, : )

    Katrina, Me too! Try the recipe. It's so easy.

    Megan, It's always nice when you pop over. I have all Canal House issues but No 1 to catch up on, so you are way ahead of me.

  36. This was ridiculously delicious. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    I wrote about it here:

  37. saveur, So glad you enjoyed it! I just might be in the mood for a little rhubarb this evening...

  38. The pizza you made sounds really yummy. I've never heard of chili on pizza before. Wow am I out of date or what?