Life is short. Eat dessert first.

April 27, 2016

In all its glory. A very good "something new" for the night.

In all its glory. A very good “something new” for the night.

Tonight’s post brought to you by Robert Burns.

You know, Robert Burns. Scottish poet. “Tyger, tyger, burning bright.” Or, more to the point, “The best laid plans of Mice and Men, Gang aft agley.”

My dinner plans went all agley tonight, first when the chicken I’d planned to chop up and put in Creole sauce and serve over rice, turned out not to be chicken, but some unidentifiable substance I could not identify.

I chunked it.

Then I was going to quickly saute some tilapia filets, and let them poach in Creole sauce. But the Creole sauce, which I’d taken out of the freezer, mostly thawed, then finished thawing in a saucepan to which I was going to add the fugitive chicken, smelled mightily like bell pepper.

I cannot fathom that I voluntarily put bell pepper in anything, but perhaps I did. Must have been well down in the wine bottle that night, I tell ya.

So. I had rice, which I have not yet eaten. And I had dessert, courtesy of the Martha Bakes episode on PBS last night, and in keeping with my attempt to cook with something new every couple of weeks or so.

I give you Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble.

I'm telling you. Red celery. Can you argue with that?

I’m telling you. Red celery. Can you argue with that?

Rhubarb is just one of those things I never cooked with, because I never ate it growing up, and thus didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, it looks like red celery, OK? I’d squint at it in the produce section, and walk by, because I had no clue how to use it.

Raspberries, now, I can do raspberries. Tart little buggers, but a great flavor. I’d bought a half-pint at the grocery t’other day, planning on a ricotta tart. Never got the tart made. And the raspberries needed to be used, before I had to toss that $2.99 in the trash. And last night, while I was waiting for the Cards-Dbacks game to come on TV at 8:40, Martha was making raspberry rhubarb cobblers with a biscuit crust.

“Self,” I said, “We ought to try cooking something with rhubarb.” And self agreed that would be a fine thing. So we went to the grocery today, and we got rhubarb.

I didn’t want anything as bready as a cobbler, so I looked for other raspberry rhubarb desserts. Found this one. It sounded doable. My caveat: I wanted something low-cal, so instead of the cup of sugar, I used half a cup of Stevia, and then drizzled the fruit in the pie dish with a half-cup of honey.

Perhaps I should have made it exactly by the recipe first, to have a basis for comparison, but this tasted pretty freakin’ good. It’ll stay on the quick desserts books; it would be good to do with most any kind of fruit, adjusting the sweetener according to the natural sweetness of the fruit.

As instructed, I cut up my pound of “red celery” in half-inch-ish segments. Added my raspberries. Tossed all with the Stevia, tapioca (and many thanks to the very nice guy at Kroger who helped me find tapioca; I was about to resort to Jello instant tapioca pudding), cornstarch and salt. Drizzled honey over all.

Made the topping, after a brief moment of panic at the initial conclusion that I was Out Of Butter, which just Will Not Do. I buy butter about 6 pounds at a time, when Kroger has it on sale or when I go to Aldi, where it’s a buck a pound cheaper. It freezes just fine. Downside is if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself out of butter. Which, well, you know. But I found one pound in the recesses of the freezer, and a trip to Aldi is on the agenda for tomorrow.

The recipe calls for the butter to be chilled. Frozen works, because when you cut it into slices, it shatters into little bits, which are just about ideal for tossing with the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and a tad of cinnamon.

Baked it for an hour (because I forgot) at 350. Rhubarb was nice and tender. I didn’t know what to expect it to taste like. The best description I can come up with is sort of a combo apple-cherry, with a splash of lemon juice. It’s tart, but that’s fine; I like tart. I’m perfectly happy with the flavor profile from the combo Stevia/honey sweetener, though I’m a bit curious as to how it differs from the sugar version. Some pecans in the topping would not go amiss.

A little heavy cream never hurt anyone.

A little heavy cream never hurt anyone.

Didn’t have any ice cream or feel like whipping cream, so I just drizzled a tablespoon of heavy cream over mine. Can’t complain at that.

So. There’s you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em a New Thing for the evening. Maybe if I get hungry later on, I’ll fix myself a sandwich.



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