I have been stalking the markets, waiting for rhubarb. It finally showed up last week. My favorite vegetable. I have all sorts of plans for its short sassy season, but right away on getting it home I needed to make something.
It had been a year since I last had my favorite rhubarb compote, which only takes ten minutes (!) to make. Chop, stir, and onto the stove immediately, along with a custardy French (or “frenched” if you’re my kids) toast.
We added thick and creamy plain Greek yogurt and a spill of fresh market blueberries.
Since Kyle was gone, we decided we would also have this for dinner.
We also decided we should have seconds.
The next time we made the compote (two days later, no shame) Jacob chopped the rhubarb (with a real knife!) while Kyle and Lucas mixed up waffle batter. I sat back and drank my tea, watching them lined up at the counter, three cheerful and hardworking and hungry guys. If I could hold the warm ease of that sunny morning in my heart forever – well. And so I shall try.
I hope you are all feeling some of the same. Happy week everyone – and happy rhubarb.
Elsewhere in things that are good:
Illustrated Etymology (thanks Dan!)
Jim Wallis talks about being (or trying to be) on God’s side in an age of bitter political dysfunction.
I’m reading this and am almost embarrassed by how much I like it. (Total number of people surprised by this: zero)
Deanna shared this article about why we sometimes pay more at the farmer’s market – and why we should.
One more nudge to plant some bee-friendly flowers in your backyard.
Elsewhere in rhubarb:
We made this port-splashed, pine-nut rich crumble at a friend’s house this week … amazing warm with a spoonful of clotted cream, and leftovers for breakfast the next morning were possibly even better. (I’m planning a second study, to be sure.)
One of these days when I have more than ten minutes, this rhubarb curd will be waiting for me to make it, and love it, and eat it straight from the jar.
Kimberley is not afraid to admit to her obsession with rhubarb. So I will freely admit to my obsession with her rhubarb almond breakfast cakes.
(No, no, no, rhubarb compote on top of a rhubarb breakfast cake is not “gilding the lily.” It is “delicious.”)
My Favorite Rhubarb Compote
If like me you are a rhubarb purist, this compote gives you a straight-rhubarb way to have an easy (daily?) hit of the sweet-tart pink goodness, helping maximize the joy of its way-too-short season. On a custardy slice of French toast, on a crisp-edged waffle, on a bowl of plain yogurt, on a square of wheat bread, on a buttery shortbread cookie or on a spoon straight from the pot … I won’t say no to more elaborate rhubarb creations, but I promise that for an every-day version of rhubarb you cannot go wrong with this simplest of treatments.
This is rhubarb-forward and barely-there sugar, and it sits squarely in the sour camp that makes some people insist that rhubarb be wedded with berries. But dolloped on a butter cookie, or spooned waffle-side with some juicy spring berries, that tartness becomes a note that you want your compote to hold. (If you are me, you prefer that tart with or without or any which way, though I can admit I often welcome the sweet harmonies of strawberry – as we’ve noted, some like to keep their same old drummers.)
It is best to make this in single batches, just before you serve them – but it will keep as needed (as if possible!) for at least a week in the fridge.
2 cups chopped rhubarb (~ 3 stalks washed, dried, and cut into small pieces)
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon water, as needed
Mix the rhubarb and sugar in a small sauce pan. If the rhubarb doesn’t immediately start releasing juices, add the water. Heat everything over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and watching that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Cook 5-10 minutes, until the rhubarb breaks down and collapses (like making fruit into jam).
Eat on whatever you are having for breakfast – toast, waffles, yogurt, oatmeal, even a bowl of fresh market berries. It is all good. (Unless, maybe, you are having scrambled eggs.)