Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Afternoon In The Kitchen

We're having what I call "hurricane weather"--low barometric pressure and high humidity that makes temperatures in the low 80s feel tropical. Not my kind of weather at all. Certainly not outdoor weather, or even cooking weather, either, but the chard was crying out to be harvested, and I had ten cups of chopped up rhubarb in the fridge that needed to be made into rhubarb bread. "If I get it done," I told myself, "at least I'll have a clear conscience the rest of the day." God knows there's nothing worse than a guilty conscience in hot weather.

While the six loaves of rhubarb bread were baking, I picked a basketful of chard, the technicolor kind that comes with stems of five different shades: white, yellow, orange, pink, and deep red. Along with the chard came a whole tribe of lightning bugs. This must be the year for them. At night the flashing in the front field is enough to give you a headache. Between the lightning bugs and the lightning storms, the owls and the Luna moths, the nights have been full of drama lately.

Three hours later, I now have three quarts of chard and six rhubarb loaves in the freezer, and a semi-clear conscience--semi-clear because I should have also frozen spinach and kale....

I tried a different way to bake the rhubarb bread: I put the pans in the oven without preheating it. I read that food tastes just as good that way, and you save energy. Normally the loaves bake 60 minutes at 350F. Today I put them in a cold oven, turned the dial to 350F and started timing when the beeper let me know that the set temperature had been reached. The bread was done 50 minutes later, and looks fine.

This is a very tolerant recipe, however, and I vary ingredients and proportions all the time, so I'm not surprised that it turned out o.k. I don't think I would want to start with a cold oven for things like meringues and souffles (should I ever feel inspired to make a meringue or a souffle).

7 comments :

  1. I'm impressed with the idea of rhubarb bread. What do you eat it with?

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  2. Mali, I eat it for breakfast. You can use an apple bread recipe, minus the raisins. I put in way more fruit than indicated (10 cups v. 6), less sugar and less oil. If you want the recipe, I'll send it to you.

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  3. Hmmm, it is hard not to read this as a thinly disguised boast about the virility of your garden...;)

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  4. And my comment above is of course a not-so-thinly-disguised wail of lament about the state of mine!

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  5. Elizabeth, didn't I see what looked like raised beds as I drove off after visiting your studio? And shouldn't that practically guarantee a "virile" garden? I need to know, as I'm thinking of making raised beds in mine!

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  6. Raised beds are fabulous - when you have soil and plants in them. What with the rush and pace of life around here (Open Studios, parents visiting, June landscape class and, you know, painting) I have yet to get them all filled, hence the green thought about your green garden....

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  7. Ah, I thought that might be what was happening....

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