I’ve been trying my best to write a blog post this morning. It is Tuesday which means blog post day. But then I remembered that I needed to check the planting calendar in my go-to gardening book Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon and then I thought I’d better see if the spot I had in mind for summer squash was actually big enough. . . I get carried away in my little garden and tend to plant things too close together, forgetting year after year how gigantic squash plants get. And then I saw some weeds that needed pulling, flowers that needed dead-heading, flowers that would make a lovely bouquet, arugula that needed thinning. . . . An hour later I’m back.
Typing away I notice that my hands are starting to look like my mothers’–a little cracked, with dirt embedded in them that no amount of washing will quite remove. As I child I was often given the choice between “indoor chores” and “outdoor chores”. For years I chose indoor, exclusively! I hated the feeling of dirt on my hands, especially as it dried and cracked. I hated pulling weeds. My mother lived in her garden and I just didn’t get it. Now I get it! I just want to be out there, pulling those weeds, sowing beans, digging in the compost, watching the volunteer sunflowers pop up everywhere. I love it!
Reflecting on this progression in my life is liberating as a parent when my son shows no interest in things I love or excessive interest in things I don’t. When I asked him yesterday what I should write my blog post about today ( he’s 3), he said: “Chainsaw movies!”. He likes to watch logging videos on youtube (his uncle owns a sawmill, hence the obsession), which is what he means by chainsaw videos. Not that I don’t like chainsaws but they don’t inspire me.
Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up so I can get back outside. However, I’ll share a recipe for a crisp that I cobbled together (inspired by Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks yet again) on the fly a few nights ago.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Note: If you don’t have any port don’t worry, but it does add a lovely dimension.
Preheat oven to 375.
2-3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch chunks
1 1/2 – 2 cups whole strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Port (or 2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar if you don’t have port)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup ground almonds (I use my little Zyliss cheese grater for this or you can pulse them in the food processor)
2/3 cup of rolled oats
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbs butter, melted
Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, sprinkle over fruit and mix well. Add port, mix again and place in 9 x 12 baking dish.
Mix dry ingredients well in medium bowl. Stir melted butter into the dry ingredients and combine well with a spoon or with your fingers. Some dry spots will remain which is fine. Cover fruit with topping and bake until the fruit is bubbling and topping starting to brown, about 45 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream.