30 years. 3 decades. 1,565.32 weeks. Even more days, hours, minutes, and seconds. 30 years of heart beats and breaths. 30 years where smiles have outnumbered frowns. Laughter has been abundant. Tears have been rare. Cities have been explored and oceans have been swam. Miles have been walked, ran, and flown. Friendships forged and loves lost. There have been high hopes and big dreams alongside stinging disappointments and slight blunders.
While the past 30 years (especially the previous 5+) have seemingly flown by with little resistance (and I am sure the next 30 will do the same)…I am honestly and wholeheartedly looking forward to this upcoming decade. I would be lying if there haven’t been moments in the past year where I have slightly freaked out about turning 30…they weren’t moments of comparison between my position in life and that of others. We all lead different lives at varying paces. However, do you ever feel like you are just tumbling along like a rogue sock in this big dryer called life? Yeah…moments of feeling lost in the shuffle have made me apprehensive about turning 30. I guess I always assumed 30 year olds didn’t tumble. 30 year olds knew what they wanted. They walked confidently. How naive my younger self was. While I don’t feel like I am tumbling about, but have gracefully graduated to gentle stumbling…I think learning how to confidently walk is what awaits me/us in our 30’s. And you are silly if you can’t find the joy in that.
Birthdays have a tendency to be celebrated with layered cakes and multiple scoops of chocolate ice cream and rivers of hot fudge and mountains of whipped cream and showers of sprinkles. However, after I recently had a rather heated (ha!) text message conversation with a friend over the best cake flavor (chocolate versus spice), we both realized that cake was our 4th favorite dessert. Who argues over their 4th favorite dessert? Pies, cookies, and brownies are favored over cake…all day, every day. So, on this 30th birthday of mine…there will be no cake, but a dessert I have made no less than 5 times in the past 3 weeks. A favorite of mine? Perhaps.
The simplicity that is a crisp is why I favor this dessert in the spring/summer. A few cups of fruit that is hanging about the house, tossed with some sugar, a thickener, and perhaps a squeeze of a lemon or lime…topped with a quick crumble and in no time you have a dessert that will please everyone and anyone. Young and old. Friends, coworkers, and family.
Plus, when you have a friend who supplies you with bundles of rhubarb because it grows in abundance behind her house ( I give thanks to whoever owned the house prior to her … we would have been fast friends as well) and when the strawberries are sweet and delicious … my mind can think of nothing else besides strawberry and rhubarb. Rhubarb and strawberry. It is the only thing I have been pumping out of my kitchen.
So, while I enjoy a bowl of warm strawberry rhubarb crisp and say adieu to my roaring twenties…I am giddy and anxiously awaiting what my 30’s will have in store for little old(er) me. Cheers!
- Crumb Topping
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- pinch of salt
- 2 lbs Strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 2 Cups Rhubarb, ½ inch dice.
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar (less if you like it tart)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime (if you don’t have citrus, just omit – it’ll still be awesome, trust me)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare topping first: In a medium bowl, combine all crumb topping ingredients and mix until well combined. Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Prepare filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, corn starch, and lemon/lime juice. Carefully toss to combine.
- Pour filling into 9 inch deep dish pie plate (or an oven safe dish that will hold this amount of filling – casserole dishes work well).
- Carefully spread chilled crumb topping over fillling.
- Placed in preheated oven (place a baking sheet/tinfoil below baking dish to catch any drippings) and bake for about 45-50 minutes until the top becomes golden brown and the juice around the edges are bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
- Store at room temperature loosely covered.
I read several food blogs daily, big surprise right?
I consider the compelation to be my own personal newspaper, since I don’t read any mainstream newspaper. Some of you, I know read at least one newspaper a day…you have told me so, proudly, and I am proud of you. I actually admire you and want to be more like you. See I have tried to get into the habit of reading a daily newspaper. I have made it a New Year’s resolution, downloaded them to my Kindle, had them thrown at my front door. The only thing that has stuck is making CNN my homepage…so this is where I get my news – from headlines on www.cnn.com.
*The crust is quite crumbly*
Therefore, I may not know exactly what is going on in the Middle East or even in Cleveland, but I am always aware of what is hot at the farmer’s market, trending foods and cooking methods, and rarely do these blogs ever make worry about bombings, shootings, and coup d’etats.
I don’t consider this a bubble, just a comfort zone.
So what is hot at the farmer’s market? Strawberries and rhubarb!! Wahoo! I am pretty sure I am the only food blogger not to have blogged about this combination in the last month. So, I guess its my turn.
I am absolutely surprised by how many people have never had rhubarb or think they don’t like it. WHAT?!? Crazy people…
I didn’t know exactly what to make. Sure there is pie – a favorite, or a crisp topped with some vanilla ice cream - currently salvating, or a muffin or quick bread topped with a pat of butter – oh yeah! However, these creations are how most people indulge in these fruit soul mates. Yes, they were made for eachother. I like knowing that God has a bit of a sweet tooth.
I decided on bars. Its a mix between a crisp and a pie, well kinda, sorta, maybe.
*Completely assembled, ready for oven!!!*
I took the crust from my Grandma’s famous raisen bars and filled the crust with a strawberry rhubarb jam-like substance. I was half tempted to save the filling and slather it on some toast, but I restrained. You can top the finished bars with a simple glaze, making this one heck of a summer dessert or breakfast – hey there is fruit and oatmeal…definately breakfast material. Definately.
If you do not have whole wheat flour then by all means use 1 + 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. I have a bag of whole wheat flour that I am experimenting with. Plus it was expensive and I don’t want to waste it.
*To this picture please add white sugar, had a blond moment and forgot it*
2 Cups Strawberries, sliced
2 Cups Rhubarb ( about 3 stalks), cut into about 1 inch chunks
Juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
3/4 Cup white sugar
2 + 1/2 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
1 Cup All – purpose flour
1 Cup Brown sugar
1/2 Cup butter ( 1 stick), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 Cup Confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoon Milk
In a medium saucepan, add the lime juice, strawberry slices and rhubarb chunks. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they are tender. This will take about 15 minutes.
Stir together the corn starch and sugar. Add mixture to fruit.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil until mixture thickens, about 1 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside while making crust. ( If you find that the mixture is too chunky for your liking, then take out your hand blender and give it a whirl.) The final product will look a lot like jam.
Crust and Assembly
Preheat oven to 350°F
Blend together the butter and brown sugar.
Sift together the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and oats) and blend into the butter and sugar mixture. Blend until combined – the mixture will be very crumbly.
In a greased 9 x 13 dish, press 1/2 to 2/3 of mixture (guess-timate) into bottom of pan, reserve the remaining.
Pour strawberry and rhubarb filling over crust, spreading it evenly.
Scatter remaining crust over filling – doesn’t have to be precise.
Place in oven for 35 minutes, filling will be bubbly.
Remove from oven and let cool, prepare the icing.
Icing (the bars are amazing without the icing, so this isn’t necessary, but a nice touch)
- Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, and milk. Add extra milk if necessary so its pourable.
- Drizzle over cooled bars.
Cut and enjoy!
* I just finished my second serving…these are most definately worth the calories! While I was munching away, I was thinking of all the different fillings that could be substituted. I am totally going to try peach, cherry, and blueberry. Wowza, can’t wait!