Monday, June 6, 2016

If you're quiet, you can hear the rhubarb growing

Lahiri writes such gorgeous sentences!

Most people trusted in the future,
assuming that their preferred version of it
would unfold.
                                   ~Jhumpa Lahiri
                                     The Lowland

Like the rhubarb bubbling in the pans, coating them red, [Indian-ness] stains everything she touches .... Jhumpa Lahiri scrubbed her latest novel clean of stereotypes--except for the turmeric of autumnal leaves ....

                                   ~Charmi Harikrishnan
                                     India Today


Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland begins in the Tollygunge area of Calcutta, just outside the famed Tolly Club, where two brothers grow up united in friendship, family expectation, and love .... but become divided by temperament and ideology. When one brother's rash political activism gets him killed, the older brother, of a more cautious and individualistic turn of mind, rescues the former's pregnant wife and makes a new life for them in America. 

After I read The Lowland, I wanted to cook something colorful and filled with contrast. Rhubarb has a lot of pucker; strawberries are friendly and sweet. The two combine for a heady, delicious mix, topped with oats and almonds for crunch.

We had it instead of cake for Pat's birthday, with grilled chicken and a fresh salad of garden greens. First cookout of the season, with a bright and tangy dessert. Next time, I'll try it over coals in a Dutch oven. Welcome summer!

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp

the farmer's market has a lot of rhubarb just now

Fruit Filling
     4 cups rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
     2 cups organic strawberries, quartered
     1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
     1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
     1 tsp. vanilla extract

     1 cup unbleached flour
     1/3 cup brown sugar
     2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
     1 stick very cold, salted butter, cubed
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
     3/4  cup sliced almonds

Combine filling ingredients and stir to coat the fruit with sugar and cornstarch. Don't add extra strawberriesI was tempted! but they have too much water in them. The sugar will help to tame the tartness of the rhubarb. Transfer the filling into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Combine flour, sugars, butter, and salt. Blend using a pulsing action in a food processor or mixer until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, like for pie crust. Stir in rolled oats and almonds.

ready for the oven
Spoon the topping over the fruit in the baking dish and spread evenly. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown. The kitchen will smell wonderful! 

Serve with vanilla ice cream. Delicious for breakfast, served with plain yogurt.

ready for the table

ready for you!

"With children, the clock is reset.
We forget what came before." ~Jhumpa Lahiri

I feel that way about summer!


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