Strawberry gazpacho

June 8, 2012 § 25 Comments

So, I think I might have had more to share with you.  Some further reflections, maybe a recipe, and many many thanks for your wonderful, kind response to my post about my feast.  But it’s going to have to wait.  It will have to wait because my consciousness has been completely and irrevocably subsumed by this soup.

It’s like a secret that’s just too good.  It takes on a will of its own, growing and pushing and elbowing until it burbles out to be shared, whether or not you meant for it to be aired.  I do want to share this soup with you, and it has decided that it simply can’t wait any longer.

When we ate it for supper a while back Joel exclaimed, “this is the first soup that I can say without qualification that I love.”  Myself, I would count it among a very small handful of soups that I have truly loved.  But it is the only one of said soups that does not also contain more than my week’s allotment of cream in a single bowl.

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Strawberry shortcakes with creme fraiche whipped cream

June 20, 2010 § 5 Comments

Hurrah!  We finally went strawberry picking (after being thwarted last weekend)!  And it was, of course, everything I was hoping for.  If there is anything in this world that tastes more marvelous – or looks more beautiful – than a rotund, juicy, crimson strawberry, warm from the sun, plucked and eaten right there in the field, well then I’m feeling hard pressed to figure out what it might be.  The darling little flavor-packed, mixed variety of strawberries available at peak season on farms and in farmer’s markets should make us feel ashamed that we even call those ginormous, watery things that are shipped around the country most of the year, “strawberries”.  They’re just not the same thing at all (though, in the spirit of full disclosure I’ll admit they can be kind of good on occasion, and if someone gives me one dipped in chocolate, I’m afraid I’m not saying “no”).

For me, scrambling around on hands and knees in the dirt, searching for the jewel red berries, as if collecting treasure, sends my gatherer instinct into hyperactive mode.  And eating the berries themselves.  Well, now that is the really good part.  A ripe strawberry needs nothing else.  It defies my standard food writing vocabulary, even the most flowery stuff I can muster, and sends me searching for some deep extended metaphor, or something, to convey my feelings.  Maybe a spiritual metaphor, or a relationship metaphor.  I picture myself telling them “Strawberries, you are absolutely perfect just exactly as you are.”  And isn’t that all any of us really want to hear in a relationship, and believe about ourselves? « Read the rest of this entry »

Rhubarb compote and whipped cream (rabarbrasuppe med pisket krem)

April 20, 2010 § 8 Comments

At this point in my life, pie and crisp may be the first things that come to mind when I think of rhubarb.  And sure, it’s what I just wrote about.  But, this wasn’t always the case. I think that I didn’t actually try rhubarb crisp for the first time until I was in late childhood when I had it at a neighbor’s house.  Rhubarb pie came even later!  My first experience with eating rhubarb was one of the simplest possible, and one I still love.  You just take a freshly picked and cleaned stalk of rhubarb (leaf removed!) and a small cup of sugar.  Dip the end of the rhubarb in the sugar, then take a bite.  The sugar hits you first and softens the blow of what you’re about to experience.  But, the sweetness of the sugar can’t shackle the true nature of rhubarb.  The amazing, almost biting, sour flavor bursts through the thin veneer of sugar to fill your mouth, making you pucker your lips and squinch up your eyes.  Then you dip again and go back for more!   It’s the kind of eating experience that gives you an adrenaline rush.

But, if you’re not quite up for that, the other way I remember having it was as different from this as could be, wonderfully sweet rhubarb soup – topped with whipped cream of course.  This is a pretty standard dessert soup in Norway, as is rosehip soup actually.  Andreas Viestad, the wonderful (and cute – I got to help him make some desserts for a talk once and totally developed a crush, hehe!) Norwegian food writer and cookbook author says he hated rhubarb soup when he was little because his family made a really sour version.  This one does not run up against that problem.

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Backyard rhubarb crisp

April 17, 2010 § 5 Comments

Until I moved to Boston when I was 23, it just never occurred to me that backyards don’t automatically come fully equipped with rhubarb.  All my life I’d just had rhubarb there for me each summer (in cold places it doesn’t appear until summer!).  Even my apartment in college had rhubarb in the yard!  So, when I moved to Boston and the time of year rolled around when I start pining for rabarbra suppe (rhubarb soup) or rhubarb cake or pie or compote, I was a little shocked to find that our tiny snippet of a back yard didn’t deliver.

None of my apartments since then have come with rhubarb either!  It’s terrible really.  I’d like to register a complaint!!  Also, did you know that if you plant a rhubarb, you have to wait two years to harvest any or you might kill it.  How terribly inconvenient for your transient early twenties!  But, this may finally be the year to pop one into the vegetable garden.  We’ll see.  (Speaking of veggie gardens, did you know that rhubarb is really a vegetable?  And – most people already know this, but it’s always good to be reminded – the leaves are poisonous, so cut them off and don’t eat them!!  And wash your hands and the stalks.)

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