Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dry, With a Chance of Rhubarb

For a good many years now, I've pretty much been able to look at a recipe and know whether it will be good. I can't always tell if it will be spectacular, you know, but whether we will like it.

Now you can already tell how this post is going to end.

Two weeks ago, I went to Whole Paycheck for something I couldn't get at my little family-run regular grocery store. And while I was there, I saw that they had rhubarb! The first of the season! So I bought a whole lot of it, stewed it up, shared some with my sister, and pieced on it the rest of the week. It was great over vanilla yogurt. It was awfully nice over cottage cheese. It was terrific just out of a little dish all by itself. It would have been lovely over pound cake, if I had some, but I didn't. So a week later I went back; they were all out and I was told to come back in a couple of days.

So a couple of days later, I went back. And they still didn't have any. By this point I was nearly drooling in anticipation (I know. Rhubarb doesn't have a really big following. But we are passionate.). As I attempted to exit through the entrance (I was that dismayed) I literally bumped into a nice couple I know from church. They said they were there for onions. "Good luck with that," I told them. "I came for rhubarb. And they're out." "Oh," replied the Mrs. "We have rhubarb. I'll be glad to give you some. In fact, we have rhubarb plants that are ready to split, so we can give you a whole plant."

I felt as though I'd just won the lottery. Except I hadn't bought a ticket. And it had never occurred to me that rhubarb could be grown at home in one's very own garden.

The next day, I visited the Mrs. and picked up a generous offering of rhubarb. And later today, Himself is scheduled to go over and dig up the plant that was so kindly offered.

With the red-and-green bounty on the kitchen counter, filled with possibilities, I approached Pinterest thinking it was definitely time to branch out from the only way I'd ever had rhubarb, stewed. I downloaded three recipes.

First up was Rhubarb Oatmeal Squares. The picture above is from the blog of the recipe's creator, and not from my kitchen counter. Far from it. I followed the directions precisely. I noted that the writer cautioned against over-filling the two layers of oatmeal-brown sugar-butter mixture, even saying that any filling in excess of 1-1/2 cups should be saved for another use. But when the filling was spread, it looked a bit thin.

It seemed to take forever for the treat to cool enough to eat it. And it appears I was wrong. I cannot always tell if a recipe is going to be good. These squares were very hard. And very dry. And overly abundant in their oatmealness and beyond skimpy in their rhubarbarity (don't try to use these words in your Scrabble game).

We're nearly through the 9" square pan of rhubarb oatmeal bars, a once-in-a-lifetime experience in this house. We've served them with ice cream, cut up and doused with milk, and this morning even with a portion of clotted cream that arrived yesterday from Harry and David along with some utterly gorgeous strawberries.

But I digress. And that's fine because I'm heading out to the kitchen to approach the next portion of fresh rhubarb. A cake is about to be made. And the recipe sounds really good.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring Retreat Project

This past weekend was our Guild's spring retreat. I believe there were 30 or so participating and, as always, we had a delightful time. 

I took just one project along. Last year one of the Bee participants had us make these interesting blocks using all different prints. I was intrigued by the block but the overall look was too busy for me. I decided to go with hot colors and blurry blacks and whitishes.

I accomplished this much at the retreat. One of my tablemates didn't like the black and suggested replacing them with hot colors. I thought about it.

When I came home, I discussed this with Himself, who liked the black, liked the blocks, and suggested a different arrangement. This lay-out will create a zig-zag of white between the rows rather than the horizontal diamonds. The vertical diamonds will remain.

This isn't going to be a quick finish, and that's okay. I've been trying to choose projects that are more intricate, that take longer.

I don't name all of my quilts. This one seems to want a name, and perhaps it will come to me as I continue. Or maybe one of you readers will think of the right name.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Adventuring in Virginia: Part Three

Our main purpose for the trip to Virginia had been to spend some time with our grandchildren and celebrate their upcoming birthdays. Nate turns 8 and Aberdeen will be 6. Both of them seem to me to be pretty mature for their ages. We had a wonderful time with them, and enjoyed helping them pick out pets: a pair of Beta fish (in separate accommodations, of course). Dinner at a fine place called the Shaved Duck, a bewildering name if I ever heard one, but delicious food and high tolerance for little people. We also made a stop at Quilter's Corner where, once again, I did my bit for the local economy.

After breakfast we left pretty promptly because we were expected in Alexandria before noon. We had a lovely time there, too, with Eli and Miles and their parents. The drive home wasn't arduous. Such a lovely long weekend we'd had!