Thursday, July 24, 2008


Not just bad. Awful. I made a simple rhubarb crisp the other night and it was so horrid I couldn't even eat more than a bite. It was grainy and pasty and disgusting. Characteristically, neither Pete nor I had the heart to chuck it out, so it sat, covered, on our counter for 2 days until he finally did the dirty work and sent it to its final resting place.

This has never happened before. Anyone else out there had that experience? Ugh. If several people have had this experience, that would explain why there aren't more rhubarb enthusiasts. And there was one other factor. A reason which seems almost blasphemous to name, but....I used a Martha Stewart recipe from her website. Martha is, of course, one of my Favorite Folks On This Earth, living or dead, forever and ever, amen. And maybe it's just me, but sometimes the recipes from her website leave something to be desired. Like the whole flippin' desert you were planning to have and now is just sitting sadly on your counter, like a dead fish in a bowl.

This is probably good, because I have to go to a wedding in just 2 short days and the dress I am going to have to wear is just a tiny bit too small. I've been subsisting on about 900 calories a day for the past week to squeeze my tush into it. I joke that it's like the diet from The Devil Wears Prada where she says, I don't eat anything all day, and when I feel I'm going to pass out I eat a cube of cheese. Anyway, my mother is visiting tonight, so I'm sure I will get a honest assessment. Mothers are good at those sorts of things.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mall Rat

I have a real love/hate relationship with the mall, most likely because I was raised in a small WV town where the best stores in the mall were Spencer's and Deb, and also because my parents are small business owners. Video killed the radio star.

But my kiddo really likes the activity at the mall, and Durham's Southpoint mall is nice. I went into Pottery Barn Kids today, again a store I have mixed feelings about, but I found these awesome placemats for $2.5o on clearance. I got pink and black. When I saw the black ones I thought, in an obvious stroke of genius, Wouldn't these be cool if you could write on them like a chalkboard? I ask the saleswoman about this, hoping to impress her with my ability to think outside the PB-box, and she said that in fact, you could use chalk on them. I smiled knowingly. When she rang me up, I saw on my receipt that these placemats are literally called - by the company - "Chalkboard Placemats". Oh, well. Nothing new under the sun. But aren't they cute?

No, your eyes do not deceive you - I may have to write another post about rhubarb. Arrrggghhh!!! First of all, I have such a problem with baked goods, the biggest being that I cannot refuse them at all. Last night I was browsing Amy Karol's site and discovered that she is wild for rhubarb as well and then saw this, and oh, my.

They are just delicious, and believe it or not, I have only had half of one. This is because I have sequestered myself to the upstairs of the house. Using her recipe I got about 5 pies, with some rhubarb left over. I also added a few chopped strawberries. The next time I make these I think I will throw in a little more sugar, but no harm done here - any tartness is completely off-set by the vanilla ice cream you will want to have on top.

I also recently became completely disgusted with the amount of extra cotton yarn I have lying around everywhere. This time last year, when I was just learning to crochet, I bought some really inexpensive cotton to play around on. Now that I'm much better I splurge on the good stuff, but that left dozens of half-used skeins on my hands. So, I've decided to make dishcloths with it. I made a red one the other night, very easy, just ch 31 and then sc until it's square. These dishcloths are so nice - heavy and textured and good. Perfect for scrubbing baked-on rhubarb.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rhubarb Bars

(courtesy Cooking Light)

I made these a long time ago, have in fact, been making them for years and years, but am just now getting around to posting them. Here is the recipe.

They will call to you while you're drying your hair, or cleaning out the car, or even reading a book. They're dangerous in their addictiveness. Of course, I feel that way about nearly everything rhubarb.

The first thing you do is to make a shortbread crust and bake it until lightly brown. While the crust is tanning in the oven, the rhubarb is combined with the makings of a custard. After the shortbread is ready, the eggy, rhubarby mixture is poured over the hot crust and baked.

Now you muster up every bit of patience you have and wait for it to cool. And it really does have to be cool. While it's cooling, make sure the ingredients for the cloud-like topping are coming to room temperature. It simply will not work if they're not.

Top, chill, and stand by with fork in one hand, a glass of prosecco in the other.

This recipe comes from Cooking Light, thereby implying that it is guiltless. It also clearly states that a moderate person should be able to get 40-some servings from this. Hardly. I would count on it serving 12-16, conservatively.