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foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: rhubarb — it’s not just for pie anymore

rhubarb salsa

Rhubarb with caramelized onions? Rhubarb salsa? Rhubarb and lentil potage? I can hear you now, the ornery ones of you that is: What the hell, woman…rhubarb’s for pie. Crisps. Crunches.

prepping peppers, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro for the rhubarb salsa

For April’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event, I decided to explore the savory side of rhubarb, since there’s a ton of it growing about 50 feet from my front door. As rhubarb is technically a vegetable/herb, why not try some recipes that utilize rhubarb as a vegetable?

chop the rhubarb for the salsa finely. you don't wanna crunch into a big honkin' piece of this stuff.

Hey, salsa has a tangy bite. I bet rhubarb could work in salsa. So I tracked down a viable candidate in The Joy of Rhubarb: The Versatile Summer Delight. It’s a classic Mexican salsa, with fresh cilantro, green onion (which made me happy; I can’t stand regular onions raw), lime juice, jalapeño for a bit of bite, barely-blanched rhubarb, and lots of sweet peppers and more sugar than salsa normally would have, to counteract the rhubarb’s bite.

colorful rhubarb salsa ingredients :)

Dad’s verdict? “It would be great on hamburgers. By the way, we’re having hamburgers tonight….” Subtle hint there, Dad. ;-) Yeah, he went home with some rhubarb salsa. Linda thought it had a bit of a bitter rhubarb taste to it and suggested more sweetener. I loved it. Fresh, crisp, clean salsa taste with the rhubarb adding uniqueness without overpowering it.

Overall verdict for rhubarb salsa: Two snaps up. Read more on foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: rhubarb — it’s not just for pie anymore…

April 23, 2010 in sides, vegetarian2 comments

how to prepare the first asparagus of the season

*this* is what you do with the first asparagus of the season

Do you have an asparagus patch or access to one? If you have any bit of yard at all and you like asparagus, there’s really no reason not to put some in. Asparagus is a perennial, takes up little room, and requires practically no care. Seriously. Mow or cut it down in the fall after it’s gone to seed, and that’s about it. This is one vegetable that absolutely weighs in on the positive end of the scale of labor cost v. return on investment.

the asparagus controversy: fat or thin stalks?

asparagus: nice first of the season fatties

Nearly every cookbook I’ve ever seen that talks about asparagus says the thinnest stalks are tenderest and most flavorful.

And nearly every cookbook is wrong.

Read more on how to prepare the first asparagus of the season…

April 18, 2010 in recipes that make me squee6 comments

recipes that make me squee #2

Here are some recipes and food news from around the interwebs, i.e. stuff I like. These posts and stories have been selected utilizing a most discerning palate, with an eye towards maturity (bento) and calorie-consciousness (gobs of cheese, peanut butter, and chocolate). Chow down.

Read more on recipes that make me squee #2…

April 15, 2010 in main course, vegetarian1 comment

cheesy baked penne with fake italian sausage

cheesy baked penne with fake italian sausage

This baked penne recipe is entirely vegetarian, yet it’ll keep carnivores happy with its fennel-scented tomato sauce and meatless Italian sausage crumbles.

And it’s “baked penne” because I’ve never been able to replicate Italian restaurants’ baked ziti. I suspect their secret is oil and cheese in much more copious amounts than one can bear to consider under home kitchen conditions. Maybe it’s a hotter oven, or a shove under the broiler when it’s done. You know, if anybody knows the reason, inform me. I’m mostly pretty bumbling when it comes to reverse engineering.

cook some damn celery and mushrooms, already

But I’m zen about it, because the approximations to restaurant baked ziti are pretty good on their own. They might be missing the goat dandruff secret ingredient or whatever, but it’s hard to go wrong with pasta, mozzarella, a rich tomato sauce, mushrooms, and fake Italian sausage crumbles. Read more on cheesy baked penne with fake italian sausage…

i-can’t-believe-it’s-meatless tomato sauce

red wine tomato sauce

Hello, my pretties. We’ll be quick today in honor of tax season. I have a zillion e-mail records to go through (the bane of online work) and missing 1099s to calculate by hand. My tax preparer, who also happens to be my best friend from grade school, is in 90 degree-plus Virginia this week, so I really can’t say which of us has it worse.

mmm, red wine

This red wine tomato sauce recipe can be subbed for a jar of any red store-bought pasta sauce. I like to double or triple the recipe and freeze it because hey, if I’m going to the work of making my own sauce, I may as well have some for next time.

sautéed onions, coated in the spices

But is it really work? Read more on i-can’t-believe-it’s-meatless tomato sauce…

April 4, 2010 in garden porn, notfood1 comment

easter, and spring, and budding growing things

forsythia in bloom

Spring has sprung, and flora are stretching, budding, opening for their sun. This is a forsythia’s flower. Forsythia are wild bushes. Lanky as a teenage basketball player, they lengthen and sprawl, and reward our patience with their disorganized antics by bursting into yellow blooms in spring, spring only.

dad about to take the tractor out

It may be Easter, but for some there’s still work to be done before dinner, because tomorrow it might rain.

It might always rain tomorrow. Read more on easter, and spring, and budding growing things…