The powers-that-be at the office made an awesome decision to add a few summer benefits this year. (Hey, in this state, the warm weather makes a brief enough appearance to warrant such acts!) One: we get out a little early on Fridays, provided there isn’t some deadline for a client project looming large. Two: we get to share the goodies from a couple shares they’ve bought in a local CSA.
What is a CSA? Glad you asked! Community Supported Agriculture is a neat little system where you can help support your local farms. Each farm offers a number of shares to the public for their investment. Prices vary, but type CSA and your city into Google and chances are a list of local farms pops right up. You buy a share (or share a share with a friend, if you have a smaller household), and for a number of weeks in the growing season you receive a bunch of goodies right from the garden. It’s kind of like a culinary Christmas every week, opening that box to see what you get to “play” with in the kitchen.
This week, among the lettuce, herbs, berries and beets, was a bunch of rhubarb. I grabbed it. While it wasn’t quite enough to warrant a pie – and in my own humble opinion, nobody (nobody!) beats Sarah Jane’s Bakery in Nordeast Minneapolis for their rhubarb custard pies; I’ve never tasted their equal anywhere else – there was just enough to make a compote.
A recipe found on Epicurious was printed out, and after dinner that night, I got to work:
The recipe is a pretty simple one, from the April 2005 issue of Bon Appetit (with the amount of rhubarb I had, I decided to halve the recipe). All it took was a little chopping, some measuring, and a little time on the stove before it was all ready.
- 6 cups 1-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (from about 2 pounds)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a heavy large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until rhubarb is very soft and begins to fall apart, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer compote to medium bowl. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, about 3 hours. Serve cold.Makes about 3 cups.
The hardest part of the whole recipe was probably the “wait for it to cool so it doesn’t turn the ice cream into soup” part.
So, after a little time spent playing outside, we came in, grabbed some ice cream, and had a tart-sweet sundae topped with some of our fresh compote. (We left enough behind to be the topping on a nice wedge of angel food cake this weekend.)
We’re excited to see what next week’s box reveals!