12 May 2008

rabarbra (that's rhubarb for you non-norwegians*)

So gardening season has officially started here in MN. Yes, it's supposed to get down to forty something degrees tonight, but I'm ignoring that forecast and focusing on the seeds I just planted in my garden yesterday afternoon. That would be some carrots, kale, salad greens, and zucchinis. I'll soon be adding some beets and spinach, as well as all the seedlings I have growing in my living room and kitchen (tomatoes, chard, peppers, broccoli, and herbs). Yeah, I'm pretty excited.

And to quell that excitement and anxious, I can't wait until I'm harvesting feeling, I decided to take advantage of something that was actually ready to be harvested. That's right, rhubarb (or rabarbra, as hanne taught me). We have some that someone generously planted on the side of our house (probably a previous tenant) and lucky for us, it's a perennial. I don't think I had ever actually eaten rhubarb until last spring, and for some reason (that is especially unbeknownst to me after the deliciousness of yesterday) I just left the plant last summer, not using one bit of it. This year, probably stemming from my yearning for something fresh and local, I decided I would find a recipe for rhubarb something. Well that something turned out to be Martha Stewart's Rhubarb Galette. Let me tell you, this was good. It was have two pieces and then another for breakfast good (and that wasn't just me- you know if Jared is having two helpings of a dessert, it's damn good. He certainly does not sport the sweet tooth that I do and is often accusing me of trying to make him fat by baking so much).

A few notes about the recipe- I skimped on the sugar just a bit (maybe using 1/8 less than is called for) because I had a feeling it would be super sweet. It was a bit tart (I like it that way) so if you don't want that- just follow the recipe. And I think next time I might try it with brown sugar instead of white, because I just like the taste better- so maybe it would be about 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of the 3/4 cup white. Also, Martha does not actually tell you when to transfer the dough onto the parchment lined pan (maybe most people know this, but I was at a loss). I stupidly filled up the dough with the fruit mixture, folded up the edges, and then realized how the eff was I going to get this whole concoction onto the pan?! It was a sight, let me tell you. I would (in my expert experience) recommend rolling out the dough, transferring it to the pan, then filling it up with the fruit and folding up the sides, etc. Also (to accommodate the vegan in my life) I used margarine instead of butter in the crust and replaced the egg wash with a sugar water wash. It was delicious. And I can't wait to make more.

I've been thinking a lot about baking lately. Last weekend, Jared and I watched "Stranger than Fiction" (an excellent movie for those of you who haven't seen it yet). And the baker woman character really struck a chord with me. She was so delightful, and I like to think that she reminded me a little bit of myself. I know that I've talked before about working in a bakery, and how much I loved it (well, mostly). Ever since that experience, I've harbored this little fantasy of starting my own little bakery/cafe, and seeing this movie totally brought that back. I've been baking and cooking a ton lately, and I just can't describe the feeling that I get when something delicious is coming out of the oven or off the stove. And it's an even more heavenly experience when you watch that deliciousness fill the mouths and tummies of people who appreciate it (I think this is why I was so unhealthy when I was cooking for one- it's so anti-climactic). Anyways, I've been talking with Jared more about this lately, and I know that starting a bakery (or any enterprise like that) is no walk in the park. But wouldn't it be so amazing? Yeah, well I'm not quitting my dayjob just yet (or anytime soon- don't worry mom), but I'm definitely not ready to give up my fantasy bakery just yet either.

*Also, I am not norwegian, but hanne is, and I kind of fell in love with her little video.

Side note: I have to say that I almost didn't post this today. With all that's going on in the world right now, I'm feeling a bit depressed and as though my baking adventures are, well, frivolous and unimportant in the face of thousands of people dying in Myanmar and China, hundreds in Oklahoma and Missouri, and even more being evacuated from villages in Chile. In the end, I decided to share this with you all, because I believe that it's the little joys like baking and gardening (at least for me) that make life so enjoyable. And I believe that we have to remember to appreciate all that we have- from a roof over our heads, to delicious homemade foods- especially in the face of others (both around the world, and in our communities) losing everything they have. My thoughts are with all of those that are dealing with all of these tragedies right now.


  1. First off, rhubarb is amazing. I knew I was in love with my husband for sure when he brought me home a rhubarb tart from the fancy-pants bakery he worked at.

    Second, I adore your post. It's so good, reassuring, inspiring to know that other women out there are excited/scared to make the leap. Wanna start a support network?

    Rhubarb and a bakery could change the world.

  2. :)

    and i think that everyday life like this is in need to brighten the days when the world seems dark.

  3. Julia--- thank you for your sweet comment, and what a beautiful post. Keep your head up--- you'll get there.

    That treat looks amazing!

  4. Julia, we can't cave in to the bad things and let them take over our world. Thanks for your post. :)

  5. I've been growing rhubard in our yard for years since my mom had it all the time as well while I was growing up. One of my favorite recipes is on my blog under "recipes" and it's super quick and easy to make if you want to try it.

    Remember you can chop up the rhubarb and freeze it for the winter months if you have any left.