of Rhubarb and Cookbooks

A go-to cookbook is a must-have as the CSA season progresses.  My personal go-to manual of all things cookery is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.  He wrote a How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, as well, which expands on the original with a more varied veggie selection.  His books cover basic (and advanced) cooking techniques, go through a large list of vegetables one by one with handling and suggestions, and focus on simple but tasty meals (he wrote the Minimalist column for the NYTimes for many years).  These books took me from cooking only a few comfort meals I learned growing up to fearing no food and being able to make something out of very few ingredients on the fly.

With that, I’ll present a version of one of his recipes (for Dal, and Indian dish focused on lentils) adapted for what we have in our shares this week.

Red Lentils with Rhubarb and Indian Spices
1c dried red lentils, washed
2 or 3 stalks rhubarb, strings removed, chopped
2T minced peeled fresh ginger
3 young garlic, minced
1 spring onion, diced
4 cardamom pods
1T mustard seeds
2 cloves
(you could replace the cardamom, mustard seeds, & cloves with your favorite curry or masala paste / mix)
1t cracked black pepper
1 mild dried chile
2T cold butter or peanut oil
microgreens for garnish

1. Combine the lentils, rhubarb, ginger, garlic, onion, cardamom, mustard seeds, cloves, pepper, and chile in a saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch.  Simmer until the lentils are soft, adding salt to taste towards the end.
2. Remove the cloves and the cardamom pods.  Stir in the butter or oil.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with microgreens and serve.  (Also tasty with a bit of yogurt dolloped on top)

Not Pie

I was pretty disappointed at the Member Farm Day when David said the rhubarb went to seed to early thinking we wouldn’t get any, so the two stalks in this week’s share were a happy surprise.  Just enough to make this unique pound cake, which uses cornmeal.  The recipe is written for strawberries, but works perfectly with rhubarb.  I assume everyone else has no strawberries left by the time the box gets home.