I was going to write a beautiful post on graduating. One about moving on, saying goodbyes, starting anew. One in which I reflected on my experience and shared profound words of wisdom. One like this, or as close to that as someone who studied Social Policy and Spanish can get. Then life became a whirlwind. I went from crazy energized camp counselor, to purple robe wearing graduate, to brand new teacher all in one week. In. One. Week.
Lifelong learning was a common theme among the graduation speeches given at Friday’s ceremonies. Suitably, last week, my last week before officially closing out my time at Northwestern, was a week filled with learning. I found myself more stressed than I had ever been in the past four years, maybe minus the time I wrote three fifteen page papers in four days. That was stressful. This was a different type of stress though. I had that feeling of the world caving in on me, like everything in my life was being turned upside down and shaken up. It was like I happened to find myself inside a martini shaker being tossed every which way. It was a stress that even destroyed my appetite. Me, not hungry. Can you believe it? And that was when the learning began, a learning that will continue throughout the summer as I step in front of a class for the first time and into the school year.
Luckily my appetite is back as is my longing for the kitchen. Unfortunately, I’m currently living in a dorm, kitchenless, again. Bummer. Never fear though, I have plenty of posts stored up and will be journeying home regularly to whip up some baked deliciousness. I happen to have more rhubarb sitting in my freezer. For those of you who don’t know me, it’s my new ingredient obsession. I can almost hear it calling my name now. While I’d love to test it out in a new recipe, this one is so good I just might make an unusual repeat. Subtly tart yet gracefully sweet, this roasted rhubarb is perfect served on top of yogurt or ice cream. If you’re like me though, you’ll dig into it on its own. Rhubarb is a vegetable though. In my mind, even with loads of sugar, that means healthy and being guilt free after devouring the entire batch in one night. Great.
Roasted Rhubarb and Apples with Earl Grey Tea
adapted from Food52
I envision this being a springtime, post-farmer’s market recipe as it was for me. For this reason, the quantities are far from exact. I find that often times it can be hard to judge just how much of an ingredient you’re purchasing at a market. So, for this recipe, if your bunch of rhubarb happens to yield more or less than the 2 1/2 cups I used, don’t worry. This recipe is not an exact science. I would suggest the following as general guidelines: Aim for about a 1:1 ratio of rhubarb to apples. If anything, air on the side of more rhubarb. Use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar per cup of rhubarb and apple. Remember, there are 4 tablespoons in a 1/4 cup, 16 in a cup.
In terms of ingredients, if you bought your rhubarb from a farmer’s market, make sure to wash it well. There will likely be dirt caught in the ridges. I suggest using a crisp, tart apple. Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Fuji should all work well. Lastly, I ate my rhubarb spooned on top of Greek yogurt. It would also be quite delicious with vanilla ice cream or eaten on its own. The rhubarb can be served warm, but I actually preferred mine cold. After some time in the fridge, the juices will have thickened slightly and the flavors will have melded together.
2 bags of Earl Grey tea
1 bunch of rhubarb (just under 1 pound), chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 medium sized apples, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Zest from 1/2 orange
Seeds of one green cardamom pod, ground with mortar and pestle
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in a tea kettle. Pour 3/4 cup boiled water into a measuring cup. Add tea bags and let steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bags and set aside to cool.
Place chopped rhubarb and apple in a medium casserole dish or oven-safe pot. Add sugar, lemon juice, orange zest, cardamom, and slightly cooled tea. Gently toss. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes stirring halfway through the cooking time. When a fork slips easily into the fruit, it is ready. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold. (See notes above).