This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Kraft.
When I think “cream cheese” I think “bagel.” Which is why, when BlogHer asked me to develop cream cheese recipes for Philadelphia cream cheese’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” campaign, my immediate thought was: “How can I riff on my favorite food of all time—ok, second favorite food next to pasta—a bagel with lox and cream cheese?”
You can taste great food in your head long after you first experience it. That’s the case for me and the rhubarb cocktail I drank at Franny’s in 2009. Most rhubarb drinks have a cooked quality to them; the rhubarb is generally poached in a sugar syrup. The Franny’s rhubarb drink (which, apparently, is made with Aperol) is nothing like that. The rhubarb flavor (which comes from juicing rhubarb raw) is intense and sharp and the cocktail, as a whole, is incredibly bracing. It’s the kind of drink that makes you sit up in your seat, alert and ready for dinner.
Delusional isn’t a word I’d use to describe myself. Sure, I have my flights of fancy and my exaggerated sense of what’s happening at any given moment, but am I so-out-of-touch that I deserve the “D” word? Doubtful!
But I was delusional on Saturday when I took a bunch of rhubarb–rhubarb that I’d purchased with Deb of Smitten Kitchen, issuing a challenge in the process (“Let’s have a contest to see who does the better thing with this rhubarb”)–and convinced myself that I could casually piece together a rhubarb pie. “I’m not gonna stress about it,” I said to myself. “I’ll be like a country grandmother and just make this pie happen.” There’s only one word for such a line of thought, especially when it comes to me and pie: it’s the D word.
Another quick, seasonal recipe from Dorie Greenspan. Take one pound of rhubarb, cut it into 2 inch pieces, place in a pie plate with 1/2 cup of sugar, orange zest (or lemon zest) from one orange or lemon and let sit for five minutes. Preheat oven to 400, cover dish with foil, and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see if sugar is dissolved: if not, stir around, and let it go a minute or two more. Then remove the foil and cook another five minutes. That’s it! Let it cool and serve with yogurt. A lovely, healthy spring snack.
I used to be very confused about seasonal food. I understood the basic idea–that you should buy food when it’s in season, at its peak–but what I didn’t understand is that because most supermarkets in America stock these “seasonal” foods all-year round (tomatoes and watermelon in winter), the only real way to experience seasonal food is by going to farmer’s markets.
Isn’t the internet great? On that same trip to the farmer’s market (see Green Garlic Soup) I bought a bunch of rhubarb and a carton of strawberries. After having that soup for dinner, I wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb cobbler, only I didn’t have a recipe. Enter the internet. I Googled “Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler” and what was the fourth result? My friend Elise’s recipe. And guess what? As you can see by the picture above, it’s a pretty fantastic recipe. You can read the recipe here. The only substitution I made was, because I didn’t have any tapioca (and it was too late to go get some), I just used an equal amount of corn starch. That worked fine. Hot out of the oven and topped with a scoop of David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream (which I had in the fridge), springtime desserts don’t get much better. But you better act fast: strawberry and rhubarb season’s almost over. Get thee to the farmer’s market!