One year ago, I threw my Mom a surprise birthday party. I made one of my ubiquitous grain salads, and a bunch of people asked for the recipe. I had always prided myself on being the sort of person to actually go home; hunt down or make up the recipe; write it on a cute little card; and stick it in the mail. This time, I decided to put the recipe on a blog, figuring it might save a stamp or two. What I didn't know was that, for several months, the absolute only thing I'd want to do is cook and write about it. In Praise of Leftovers moved in.
A year later, it's clear to me that this venture saved me from myself in lots of ways. Bits of my angst leaked out, but it's easier to tell you now that last year was a hard one for me--lots of identity issues; the intensity of Yancey starting a new job; working again to find my place in the world. That's a journey that never ends--a task that crops up over and over again if we're trying to live engaged lives. For the moment, though, I'm happy to be taking a breather from asking impossible questions. My family and I seem to have come into a clearing of sorts--we're a little scratched up from bushwhacking, but the sun's out now and we've found a grassy patch. And, of course, I brought a picnic.
Spring means rhubarb. And rhubarb means rhubarb sauce. For starters, how on earth are you going to shove all those unruly stalks into your fridge? I know my fridge would resent it. Too many tubs of half-finished yogurt camping out. So wash and chop it, throw it in a saucepan with a good bit of sugar and splash of water, and you'll have spoonfuls of spring in 20 minutes. To my taste, there is nothing better.
Happy Birthday, In Praise of Leftovers. Thanks for giving me a swift kick in the *$%# last year. And for all these dear, dear readers whose insights and friendship have helped me love life more.
We had a giant patch of rhubarb in our alley growing up, so Mom became an expert in all things rhubarb--cake, crisp, chutney, bread, and always sauce. Mostly, I eat it with yogurt and granola, but you can use it a million other ways--over ice cream, pancakes or waffles; in smoothies or stirred into oatmeal.
5 cups chopped pink rhubarb (I chop mine into 1/4" dice. If you chop them bigger, they'll just take longer to cook)
3/4 c. sugar (or more to taste)
Throw everything into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until most the fruit has dissolved and it's a nice thick consistency. Add more sugar if you want. Cool, then refrigerate. Keeps a week in the fridge.