I was nervous about taking last week off from posting, but felt I could use the break. I think I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Or should. As tempting as it was to skip another week, I’m back at it. Last week was the university’s Spring Break, so we spent it in Crested Butte to squeeze out as many remaining ski days as possible. Neva turned three years old over break, which we celebrated with many of her favorite things like food, orange tennis balls, snow, running, and sleeping in the sun. You can watch her eat her birthday dessert on my Instagram.
happy birthday, little neva!
We received a little powder early in the week on the mountain, migrated to the Nordic trails until they were too worked over by the spring freeze/melt cycle, and then discovered the joys of crust cruising with our skate skis off-trail. It was a good lesson in making the most of every situation. The important thing is to look back on this ski season with gratitude that I was in good enough health to do all of these things in the first place.
such a beautiful sight to behold
getting plastered with snow on the lift
jeremy grabs a fresh line
crust cruising the wide open spaces
Spring in the mountains has been a series of fast moving snow storms alternating with sunshine and blue skies. This pattern can wreak havoc on ski trails as well as running/hiking trails because it’s never all snow or all dirt/rock in spring. More typically you have a combination of dirt, snow, ice, and mud, which is pretty miserable to run and nearly impossible to ski. But I feel so alive as we flirt with the smell of wet forests, spy budding catkins on the aspen trees, and watch sunset later each day.
then it snows and a mama moose and yearling stroll through for a snack
I’ve been waiting over six months to post this recipe for braised (roasted) rhubarb. Living at an elevation of 8500 feet means that we are seasonally out of whack with most of the country (and the world) for much of the year. Rhubarb is popping up all over my Instagram feed, but I know it will be months before my neighbors’ plants even begin to think about producing those brilliantly colored stalks. Those wonderful neighbors gave me some of their rhubarb last September before the first hard freeze. Since I was short on time, I made a super easy spiced rhubarb compote.
rhubarb, honey, orange juice, vanilla bean, star anise, cardamom pods, ginger, salt
slice the rhubarb
scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean
There was enough rhubarb for me to make a half recipe. [If you do scale the recipe down, consider using a smaller pan to keep the liquid from completely evaporating during roasting.] The prep time takes all of a few minutes to slice the rhubarb, peel and slice the ginger, split and scrape the vanilla bean, and juice the orange(s). Do you have to use freshly squeezed orange juice? I recommend it, because it tastes light years better than store-bought orange juice, but you won’t ruin the dish if you don’t have fresh squeezed on hand.
place everything in a bowl
If you’d like to save yourself the trouble of washing an extra bowl, you can toss the ingredients together in the baking pan. Arrange the rhubarb evenly across the pan and roast for 15 minutes. You can give the rhubarb a stir every now and again. The rhubarb is ready when it is tender.
ready to bake
out of the oven
Just thinking of the tangy tart braised rhubarb is making me salivate. The rhubarb flesh disintegrates under the gentle pressure of your tongue as warm spices flood your mouth. I find it a bit intense to eat straight up, but completely delightful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or maybe on French toast. If you have an abundance of rhubarb and are tired of all the strawberry-rhubarb partnerships that are usually tucked into pies and pastries, try braising them. Or you could send some my way!
perfect pairing with vanilla ice cream
tart, sweet, creamy, spiced
1 1/2 lbs. rhubarb, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 pods green cardamom
2 whole star anise
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss all of the ingredients together in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring the rhubarb, until the pieces are tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Makes 4 cups.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|cinnamon-rhubarb mini loaves
|bourbon caramel chocolate banana cream pie