Hi! It’s been awhile.
Sometimes we take breaks from certain things in our lives because we want to devote our time to other endeavors. Sometimes we go on hiatus for unintentional reasons. Life happens, and we naturally gravitate towards other matters in our lives that are (or seem to be) more pressing.
My break from blogging was an unintentional one. I so badly wanted to blog, but I’ve been devoting my time to co-chairing the 60th New England Book Show. After 10 months of planning, it’s finally going to happen next week on May 9th. If you’re in the New England area and love books, I encourage you to come!
After the book show is done, I’ll be devoting time to writing and branching out of my comfort zone in that arena. One way I like to practice straying away from what I know is to cook with ingredients I’ve never used before in my kitchen.
One such ingredient…rhubarb!
Surprising, right? I’ve had countless strawberry rhubarb pies, rhubarb cakes, and strawberry rhubarb jam, but I’ve never tried cooking the vegetable on my own.
Here’s what I know about confronting something new:
- It can be scary. (“What if I fall flat on my face?”)
- It can be exhilarating. (“What if this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me?”)
- Whether the predominant feeling skews towards fear or excitement, facing the unknown will, undoubtedly, teach you something valuable and make you a stronger person in some way.
The predominant feeling I felt towards those rhubarb stalks sitting on my kitchen counter absolutely skewed towards excitement. I know I love rhubarb. I also know rhubarb pairs well with sweeter ingredients since its sourness creates a balance of flavor.
“So,” I thought, “Let’s dive in!”
Roasted Rhubarb with Orange, Ginger, and Clove
- 6 stalks rhubarb, cut on the diagonal in two inch pieces (If you buy rhubarb with the leaves attached, throw those leaves away! They are poisonous!)
- 1/3 cup sugar (I find this amount achieves the perfect balance of sweet and sour. ½ cup sugar works, but it makes the rhubarb almost too sweet.)
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 10 whole cloves
- seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash rhubarb stalks and cut on the diagonal into two-inch long pieces. Place in a mixing bowl.
- Add sugar, strawberry jam, orange zest, grated ginger, cloves, and vanilla bean seeds to the bowl.
- Mix it all together!
- Let the rhubarb mixture sit for 15 minutes so that the rhubarb begins to release some of its juices.
- Place the rhubarb in an 8” by 8” square baking dish and roast at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. The rhubarb should be fork tender, practically pulling apart.
- Let cool.
I took one bite of this roasted rhubarb, and I did a little dance in my studio kitchen. The spicy ginger, the simultaneous sweet/sour flavor of the sugared rhubarb, the bright kick of orange zest, and the warm clove all melded together at once on my tongue. Enjoy this beautiful concoction over tangy, plain Greek yogurt and granola or vanilla ice cream.
Baking with rhubarb for the first time has made me a better, more knowledgeable cook. Whether you’re facing a new ingredient, a new feeling, or a new life situation, try to embrace that unknown and all the lessons you will learn from that experience with kindness and gentleness towards yourself.
Have a wonderful week, friends, and go bake some rhubarb!