Sunday, May 3, 2009

Early Spring Vegetables!

One of my favorite things about spring is of course "food related"... I have vivid memories of knowing when fresh and local rhubarb were in the farm stands ~ that spring was officially here... usually the first northeast vegetables to harvest are: rhubarb, asparagus and peas! They are my "spring favorites". I worked on a local farm, one of the only true farms in the area for many years as a kid, and even helped out the family at times and worked there in my adult life, 6 years ago I managed their farm store - a wonderful "back to basics" fun opportunity for a few seasons! When it still felt like winter, I remember seeing them pick and bring in the rhubarb to sell....rhubarb is a beautiful vegetable. The bakery started to make homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. I made a very easy rhubarb strawberry sauce that we sampled and sold... delicious and easy. My other 2 favorite spring vegetables are asparagus (that I roast w/ fresh garlic or grill) and peas (peas are actually considered a legume). NOTHING compares to fresh peas... I now buy them at a local market (not really a farm) already out of the pod and ready to steam (that's my favorite way to cook them)... peas with a little fresh mint are a favorite! I'm sharing my easy and favorite rhubarb and strawberry sauce recipe... so delicious over ice cream, pound cake, custard and even poultry ~ or any way you like it...
I DO love early spring vetetables ~ enjoy!

EASY Rhubarb and Strawberry Sauce
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on desired tartness
1/3 cup water
1 pound rhubarb stalks, cleaned and diced
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add rhubarb and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Add strawberries and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes more. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
In batches, if necessary, puree mixture in blender. Add water if mixture appears too thick. Serve over ice cream, custard, pound cake, poultry or delicious on it's own!

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