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Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

September 23, 2011

I don’t know about you, but that photo makes me want to lick the screen. The only thing better than strawberries and rhubarb is strawberries and rhubarb together, amirite? I always thought rhubarb and strawberries were summer fruits & veggies, but here in Australia I don’t understand the seasons any better than I understand the accent. So even though it’s been “spring” since September 1st, and the weather does feel decidedly springy, I’m not sure if I buy it.

What I am buying is lots of produce. (Too much produce, according to someone I live with. But, I often remind him, nothing ever goes to waste! It’s a rare occasion when I’ll let something go bad. More often than not, whatever needs eating will be deftly incorporated into tonight’s dinner. So there.) The produce this week included lettuce, a million oranges, lemons, pink ladies (while they last!), carrots, white onions, tomatoes, fresh peas, watermelon, honeydew melon, strawberries and rhubarb. (I told you the seasons don’t make sense here. Everything’s in season all at once.)

Since all that bounty didn’t fit into our little refrigerator, I had no time to come up with a way to use the massive stalks of rhubarb and pints of strawberry. I’d just have to do the obvious: boil them down together with a little sugar and lemon juice until they melded together into sweet, sweet bliss.

Do you even need a recipe for this? Probably not. But it never hurts to be reminded that whatever the season, whatever the produce, something easy and delicious can be whipped up in no time.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COMPOTE

Use equal amounts of the strawberry and rhubarb for optimal yumminess, but it really doesn’t matter if you have more of one or the other. Add the sugar to taste – it’s better to add too little to start then add more as you go – and feel free to leave out the lemon juice. In other words, just boil these puppies together until you taste it and sigh with happiness.

Serve over ice cream, with shortcakes and whipped cream, or over a pound cake. Use it in a trifle, or fold it into whipped cream to make a strawberry rhubarb fool, or layer in oatmeal breakfast bread batter (more on that to come!). Serve it on oatmeal or yogurt or rice pudding. Or just eat it straight up.

2 cups rhubarb, chopped (leaves discarded)

2 cups strawberries, chopped

1/2 cup sugar (to taste)

juice of 1/2 lemon

Put all the ingredients in a pot and heat over high heat. The fruit’s liquids should release immediately, but you may want to add a tiny touch of water to get things going. Cook covered or uncovered, depending on how liquidy you want it, for a little while, until it’s reached the consistency you want. Taste as you go to see if you want to add more sugar, a touch of vanilla or whatever else your heart desires. It will keep in the fridge for a few days and makes enough for lots and lots of oatmeal-topping.

 

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