Poached Rhubarb


Nate, 6 months from today I’ll wear a white dress and meet you in a garden with all of our family and friends. We’ll say our vows and give each other our hearts and a lifetime. I’m so excited to share this new part of the adventure with you. I’m a lucky girl.

When I see rhubarb at the market I know that spring has found its way here. This is a simple recipe for new beginnings so I think it’s appropriate to share today.





I give full credit to my instructor, Nicole, for introducing me to this method of preparing rhubarb.Quickly poaching it in a sugar syrup tenderizes and sweetens it just enough and doesn’t sacrifice flavor or crispness. The rhubarb retains its shape and beautiful color. I’m showing it here with some ginger biscuits, mint, and a generous dollop of creme fraiche as a full homage to spring, but it would pair beautifully with just about anything. Spoon it over ice cream or a lemon loaf, or maybe simply with some plain yogurt and granola.


1 pound rhubarb, cleaned and ends trimmed
equal parts water and cane sugar (I filled up a quart jar of each)
1 vanilla bean
lemon zest, to taste
special equipment ~ ice bath (large bowl packed with ice and water; this should be big enough to fit another bowl with your cooked rhubarb inside of it)

Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized sauce pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve all sugar.
In the mean time, chop the rhubarb into small equal sized pieces, about an eight of an inch. Place in a large heat-proof bowl.
Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the seeds out using the back of a small paring knife. Add both seeds and the pod to the bowl of rhubarb, along with your lemon zest.
When the sugar/water syrup has come to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the rhubarb.  Allow to sit until it reaches desired tenderness (3-4 minutes for crisper rhubarb and 5-7 for a softer result) Using a slotted spoon or sieve quickly sift the rhubarb out of the syrup and place into a separate bowl. Place bowl of rhubarb over your ice bath to quickly stop it from cooking. Make sure you don’t have so much ice or water in the ice bath that it spills into the rhubarb.
When both syrup and rhubarb have cooled completely add some syrup back into the rhubarb to keep it juicy and plump. Reserve the simple syrup for cocktails – I recommend a tablespoon in the bottom of a glass of prosecco. Bottoms up





A few weeks ago it rained like crazy around here.  It started one day and didn’t let up for about five. None of our typical sprinkling or misting. Just torrential downpours for days. That doesn’t normally happen around here, though in the midst of this California drought it was greatly needed and kinda magical. It felt a little bit like somebody up there in the sky heard our plight and wanted to say don’t worry… you are not forgotten.  Whoever was responsible ~ thank you.

Remembering how much we needed this rain aided my patience when we came home  Sunday night after a relaxing weekend of wine tasting to find our basement flooded in six inches of water. Oh yeah. I can’t say we were surprised; extraordinary weather + 102 year old house… things happen. In a late-night scramble we called all of our friends, family and local hardware stores to track down a sump pump and came up empty handed. We  went through the moment of “let’s just leave this til the morning” before we realized the flooding had put out the pilot light on our water heater. Patience…. patience.

We sloshed around up to our shins in icy rain water, passing each other buckets and bins and garbage cans and hauling them away to the storm drains out front. Bucket after bucket after bucket of rain water and absolute misery. Fortunately at one point I started laughing, and then Nate started laughing.  We probably looked like two lunatics if anyone had walked in on that scene, but I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. You know you’ve found a good one when you can look each other in the eyes in a moment of chaos and expletives and lose yourselves in laughter.

We finally got the water to a less scary level and then went upstairs, closed the door on our rank basement and made some brothy, soupy, vegetable-y pasta to soothe our tired backs and minds. While I cooked, I tried to brand the importance of patience into my mind; store it there to be recalled later in times of need. Those times seem to be coming up a lot lately and Nate and I are becoming patience experts.

I am grateful for patience and those who show it to me on a daily basis. I’m grateful for love that binds when patience fails. I’m also still grateful for the rain, especially since it finally coaxed my daffodil bulbs out of the ground. Speaking of love and all that cheesy stuff, I recognize that yet another holiday has come and gone without a holiday-appropriate recipe.  Although I’m a little late, these cookies served as my valentine to Nate last month and they are delicious so I’d like to share them anyways. They are a pretty good throwback to real deal Oreos, except without all that processed stuff we can’t pronounce. The dutch-process cocoa is crucial to getting that distinct Oreo flavor in the cookies so use it if possible. Don’t make these without having access to copious amounts of milk for dunking.

It’s raining again now and that’s a pretty good excuse for some cooking making and patience practice.




adapted from Martha Stewart

Cream filling
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk

Cream butter  in a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer until pale in color and fluffy. Add in the sugars and beat until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and beat again until combined.
At this point the mixture will probably be a little chalky and powdery. Add the milk a few drops at a time, beating after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. It should be pretty thick so take care not to add too much milk.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Combine the butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture in two parts, mixing to combine after each addition. Use your hands and knead the dough until it becomes a cohesive dough. It should be a lot like play dough (we’re really throwing back here with play dough and Oreos). 
Divide the dough into two balls and roll out onto parchment paper. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes before cutting out desired shapes (go for the hearts… they’re too cute) and then refrigerate the cutouts again. This helps them keep their shape as they bake. 
Preheat oven to 350F and bake about 7 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.
Allow to cool completely and then pipe or spread some of your cream filling onto one of the cookies. Stick another one on top. Dunk in milk!

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