Food Discoveries

I’ve found a new favorite–rhubarb.

Aside from a few pleasant encounters with strawberry-rhubarb pie at Thanksgiving, this strange pink celery-look-a-like was just another acquaintance.  My mother had occasionally remarked that she ate it raw as a child, sprinkled with sugar.  Otherwise, it was listed rather far down on my “Try This Someday” list, not for any particular dislike, but simple disinterest.

It was on a whim that I picked up a bit when I saw it in the grocery, thinking maybe my mother might like a taste of nostalgia.  While she was appreciative, the thick stalks sat in the vegetable bin for a week.  I was reading over Shauna’s latest posts and she mentioned having rhubarb compote over yogurt and added a parenthesized, far-from-a-recipe, list of ingredients.  Rhubarb. Lemon zest.  Sugar (I used a drizzle of honey instead.  I’m on a honey kick). Nutmeg.  White wine.  Chop, grate, mix, simmer.  It seemed simple enough.  I dug out the rhubarb and sliced off a bit.  Raw and dipped in sugar, this vegetable amazed me.  Mom had it right.  I’ll remind you: this makes me think of pink celery on sight, so the tangy-tart apple-like taste was entirely unexpected.  And delicious!  I chopped and grated and mixed away, and set in all simmering to some chardonnay (all we had in the fridge), nibbling on a few reserved slices along the way.

At the stove, with the dusky sunlight slipping through the windows, hardly betraying the muggy mid-90s  weather, the smell of simmering wine took me right back to London in January, where every pub had big vats of mulled wine ready and waiting to soothe our freezing fingertips.  It was a lovely reminder of that amazing trip, but the end result was as far away from winter as your can get.  Even still warm, the compote was wonderfully crisp, hinting lightly at the tart start, but ultimately mellowed by the honey and wine.  I can’t wait for it to chill, and, thanks to Shauna, I know exactly what breakfast will be tomorrow: yogurt and rhubarb compote, with a Honey Walnut Banana Chip muffin (also whipped up today, but that’s for another time).  I can’t wait to wake up.

And my next trip to the store, I’m certain, will end with more rhubarb in my basket!

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