Tag Archives: rhubarb

The Fulfillment of the Promise


What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. ~Gertrude Jekyll

It has been a beautiful spring so far in Southeastern Wisconsin. Yes, we have had some chilly air here and there. But overall things are right about where they should be. I find some comfort in that. After enduring winter’s bone-chilling cold and colorless landscape, it’s feels so good to know that once again Spring has arrived and the promise of another season of growth and life is now here.

The spiritual message of all this Spring wonder is not lost on me. I’m reminded of life eternal each year, and that only through death can we truly gain life. I don’t want to forget that, even in the giddy excitement of planning and planting the garden and observing the world as it comes back to life.

Here is some photographic evidence that the month of June is here at my house in all her glory. I’m sure the story is similar in countless backyards everywhere. By the way, you don’t have to have a garden to enjoy the sight of wild asparagus on the side of the highway or gorgeous green leaves upon the trees. Go find your own evidence, pretty much anywhere you look right now. And enjoy! It only comes once a year.

A boy with a frog. Love these critters in the garden where they eat slugs and other bugs I don't want hanging around.

A boy with a frog. Love these critters in the garden where they eat slugs and other bugs I don’t want hanging around.

Found this photo on my camera. My kids picked these radishes and then photographed them. Wonder where they would get such an idea?

Found this photo on my camera. My kids picked these radishes and then photographed them. Wonder where they would get such an idea?

A peek at the red orach which reseeded itself from last year's planting. The color is outstanding.

A peek at the red orach which seeded itself from last year’s planting. The color is outstanding.

Giant stalks of rhubarb awaiting some yummy recipes.

Giant stalks of rhubarb awaiting some yummy recipes.

Strawberries setting fruit.

Strawberries setting fruit.

What a beautiful crop of spinach we are enjoying this year. The best ever.

What a beautiful crop of spinach we are enjoying this year. The best ever.

Chive flowers are now open and attracting something new this year--honey bees! I wonder if a neighbor has a hive?

Chive flowers are now open and attracting something new this year–honey bees! I wonder if a neighbor has a hive?

This year's tomatoes freshly potted. Here's hoping for a good tomato year.

This year’s tomatoes freshly potted. Here’s hoping for a good tomato year.

Patio with herb garden. Perennial herbs are now up and getting leafy. I should be able to start enjoying all of them soon.

Patio with herb garden. Perennial herbs are now up and getting leafy. I should be able to start enjoying all of them soon.

This raised bed will be featuring the following this year: garlic, onions, borage, spinach, arugula (already done), red orach, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, marigolds, dill, and one volunteer head of lettuce.

This raised bed will be featuring the following this year: garlic, onions, borage, spinach, arugula (already done), red orach, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, marigolds, dill, and one volunteer head of lettuce.

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Photos from the first week of May.


Peas... I crowded them in there on purpose so we could snack on the pea tendrils.

Peas… I crowded them in there on purpose so we could snack on the pea tendrils.

Tomato seedlings, first day outdoors.

Tomato seedlings, first day outdoors.

Chives are in and we've been eating them.

Chives are in and we’ve been eating them.

Herb garden in foreground and veggies in the back.

Herb garden in foreground and veggies in the back.

This raised bed is planted with strawberries, walking onions, red onions, leeks, fennel, three kinds of kale and nasturtiums--so far!  Much more to come.

This raised bed is planted with strawberries, walking onions, red onions, leeks, fennel, three kinds of kale and nasturtiums–so far! Much more to come.

Raspberries on their way up.

Raspberries on their way up.

The raspberries have filled in their spot nicely this year.

The raspberries have filled in their spot nicely this year.

Mint is starting to grow back.  I was able to harvest some for my Derby Day mint julep.

Mint is starting to grow back. I was able to harvest some for my Derby Day mint julep.

Close up of the mint.

Close up of the mint.

Radishes and swiss chard.

Radishes and swiss chard.

Celeriac (celery root).

Celeriac (celery root).

Here is the garlic.  It seems to me that several cloves did not grow.

Here is the garlic. It seems to me that several cloves did not grow.

A new development involving some buckets.  I'll keep you posted!

A new development involving some buckets. I’ll keep you posted!

Rhubarb is filling in.

Rhubarb is filling in.

I love the color of the rhubarb stalks.

I love the color of the rhubarb stalks.

The dwarf meyer lemon tree is doing better than ever and sporting several lemons.  I didn't even count them, there were so many!

The dwarf meyer lemon tree is doing better than ever and sporting several lemons. I didn’t even count them, there were so many!

Robins have returned to my honeysuckle trellis and here are their eggs!

Robins have returned to my honeysuckle trellis and here are their eggs!

 

Please note: I realize all of these photos have a smudge on them.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it until it was too late.  This is what happens when you let your kids use the camera!  I should also mention that some of the photos at the time of publishing appear to be the wrong way.  I’m working on it, and it may be that as you view it they will already be corrected… I’m not sure what is wrong on my end since all looks to be right.

Photos from the fourth week of April


Yellow tulips finally opened today!

 

Here comes the rhubarb.

 

These chives were clipped last night for dinner... fresh oniony flavor.

 

Arugula is tiny, but growing.

 

A row of radishes.

 

Peas!

 

Spinach starts are now outside and doing well... should be able to harvest baby spinach soon.

 

Oregano leaves are plentiful. This is now a three-year-old plant.

 

Here's something to enjoy tomorrow.

Rhubarb: Freezer to Pie Plate


Nothing could be easier than growing rhubarb.  This perennial practically grows itself.  Our house came with an established rhubarb plant and I’ve done nothing but harvest stalks from it since we moved in.  I haven’t had to do anything else!  It’s so easy.

Our rhubarb plant in early May.

This past summer, I thought it might serve us well to put some rhubarb in the freezer, just in case we get a hankering for a taste of summer in the middle of January (as tends to happen).  Marking the amount on the outside of the bag, I set the washed, chopped and bagged rhubarb into the deep freeze.  Like my other time traveling foods, the rhubarb would be opened up again in another season, at another time… when it would seem somewhat exotic and out of the ordinary.   Several months in the freezer would elevate it from commonplace to commodity.

Rhubarb in the deep freeze.

After thawing in the refrigerator, the rhubarb is now ready to be made into something special–a rhubarb pie.  A tart and tangy treat to punctuate our dull January existence.  A nice change of pace from the heavier holiday desserts we are now trying to forget (or exercise off of ourselves, whatever the case may be).

For this pie I’ve decided to kick it old school, REALLY old school, and break out Betty Crocker’s 1951 Picture Cookbook.  This book just screams pie to me.  The red and white cover, the cute illustrations of homemakers in aprons.  And from what I can gather from my extensive mid-century cookbook reading, this was a time in America when people often did sit down with each other and enjoy a slice of pie and a cup of coffee (made in the percolator of course).  I have been thinking of making the rhubarb pie recipe in this book for a while now, and the time has come.

Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook: Kitchen companion of many a 1950's housewife.

What could be easier than pie? I must go put on an apron and pearls.

Recipe for Rhubarb Pie, and several practical variations for when you want something "special".

 

Mmmm… hello summer.  This will be great with coffee.  Rather than a percolator, I use a Keurig.  But the sentiment will be the same.

I’m sure Betty Crocker has a fine recipe for pie dough.  But my favorite pie dough recipe comes from my Gourmet cookbook, and can be found online HERE.  It combines butter and shortening to achieve tasty and flaky results.  It never fails.

Pie dough can time travel too.  It’s handy to have a few discs of dough in the freezer for when things start coming up in the garden.  Rhubarb pie of course, but how about a savory tomato pie or a salmon and swiss chard quiche?  Empanadas, spinach tarts or any sort of fruit galette would be tasty too.  Don’t forget the classics–berry or apple pie, yum!

When is a rhubarb a rose?  Sometimes it’s the little things in life–like a slice of rhubarb pie and a cup of coffee–that remind us to slow down, savor life, smell the roses as they say.   Enjoying my rhubarb harvest in the middle of January is a sweet-smelling rose among winter’s thorns.