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So it would appear that the rest of the country has easy access to local produce for more than 3 months of the year. Must be nice, assholes.

Okay, I lied, nobody’s an asshole, I’m just super jealous. I was raised in the classic suburban white girl tradition of New Hampshire. And to us, the concept of vegetable seasonality was . . . simplistic. We had corn on the cob once a year, my mom made zucchini breads in August (and froze about a dozen), we went apple picking in September and in October we’d choose a pumpkin to carve as a family. The rest of the year we enjoyed carrots, potatoes, apples, oranges and frozen vegetables. My  mom and dad will no doubt read this and lay the guilt on how I make them sound like SUCH bad parents who never fed their kids ANY vegetables, which is not the case, the point here is that seasonality just never stuck with me.

So last year it occurred to me that maybe corn doesn’t get harvested on a single day of the year, and also, what is that day anyway, and hey, plants *do* grow in Massachusetts, so logic would dictate that some of them are edible, right? Perhaps this . . . what do you call it . . . agriculture? thing?? had made its way from the Midwest to our humble corner of the country? This must make me sound horrifically stupid, but really, I’d never seen a well-stocked farmer’s market (they have terrible hours around here, like middle-of-the-afternoon-on-a-Wednesday hours), and the most local veggies I’d seen were singly sold on the side of the road. After much searching, I found Berberian’s Farm in Northborough (no site, no link) and caught up with everyone else that the freshest food is local and that fresh really does make a difference.

This summer I’d like to document an answer to the question that popped up for me only last year: so what’s in season?

On May 13th, it was this junk:

What's in season in New England: May 13

(I do use the term “junk” loosely) We’re looking at radishes, arugula, asparagus, rhubarb and mint.

Needless to say, I did try to think of some clever recipe using only these ingredients, but you know, they really just don’t go together very well, and what’s more, the way I eat them isn’t very interesting. For example, I steamed the radish.

What's in season in New England: May 13

And while its Barbie appeal was heightened significantly, it didn’t taste like much of anything other than maybe overboiled summer squash, so I salted and peppered and ate it on the side with this.

What's in season in New England: May 13

And you can see how I couldn’t in good faith make an entire blog post about this because it’s like cheating . . . wait, what’s that, Bitten Word? Martha had a recipe for poached eggs on asparagus? Wow, either I’m next in line to wear that lady’s heavy crown, or she’s out of actual recipes, because “place poached egg upon steamed asparagus” is not exactly what I would describe as a “recipe” so much as “an idea I came up with on the fly and I’m sure I’m not the first.”

Still, it was really good. Recipe: toss your ‘spargus with 1 tsp olive oil, roast at 500o for 5 minutes while you fry an egg, then salt & pepper & sprinkle with lemon juice if desired and place the egg on top. The end.

Alright, so I did manage to get these big ole honkin rhubarbs though, and I did manage to come up with a recipe for them, and it’s not even strawberry-related! I know, I’m so original, right? First though, check out how huge they were!

What's in season in New England: May 13

The length of my arm, they were! This was the only way I could think to fit them in my lens, as it does not zoom and I’m sick of that overdone depth-of-field bullshit. Anyway, then I chopped ‘em up.

What's in season in New England: May 13

Add a healthy dose of sugar because these things are as sour as lemons.

What's in season in New England: May 13

Then stew them for a few moments, make some oatmeal, and enjoy as follows. This makes an excellent breakfast or dessert, complete with vegetable, protein, and fiber. There’s no fat unless you want to add some, it’s easy to make vegan with some yogurt substitution action, and even if you don’t give a shit about any of that diet stuff, you will still like it. The rhubarb tastes just like pink lemonade, there’s just enough oatmeal to make it feel like a real dessert and the yogurt offers a neutral contrast in flavour and texture. I have to say, it far exceeded my vision!

A blushing shade of pink.

 

 

Healthy Rhubarb-Parfait-Cobbler-Type-Thing
This dessert (or breakfast) has a rosy blush that can aid a young lady in her pursuit to maintain her girlish figure. In other words, it looks nice and ain’t bad for ya!

2.5 c (about 1/2 lb or 4-5 feet) rhubarb stalks
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c dry oatmeal
3/4 c water
1 c yogurt (fat-free, Greek, full-fat, your pick!)
1/2 tsp sugar (in addition to the sugar above)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Rinse the rhubarb, then chop into 1/2″ chunks. Toss with 1/2 c sugar. This is easiest to do in the saucepan you’ll be cooking in—lid it then swirl it around til the chunks are coated. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring every minute or so. You’ll notice that even though you started with no extra water in the pot, suddenly all the rhubarb surrenders its water and you’ll have a kind of stew. Whenever you stir, give one of the chunks a fork to see if it’s tender; as soon as that happens, turn off the heat. It should happen within ten minute or so (if not, try medium heat for a little while, but keep an eye out for burnt bottoms!).

While that’s cooking, prepare the oatmeal. I microwaved mine because um, the stove was kind of already taken. 1/2 c oatmeal to 3/4 water. The oatmeal package will say otherwise; tell it to take a hike. Microwave 2.5 minutes.

Also, mix the yogurt with the vanilla and remaining sugar.

To assemble, we’re really just dividing everything into rough fours: 1/4 c rhubarb, top with a generous tablespoon of the oatmeal, then finish off with 1/4 c yogurt.

 

 

nutrition summary (for 1 serving of 4): 185 calories, 1g fat, 2g fiber; about 3 weight watchers points

  1. Wolf Said,

    I love rhubarb.}:P My parents have some growing still, that was planted when I was a little kid, so roughly 20+ years.}:P

  2. Navita Said,

    Hi Aleta, I came here for the banana blondies…but couldn’t help reading a couple of ur articles. Lovely! Your style of writing is fun to read and doesn’t bore. :)
    Great job and compliments from a fellow blogger.
    Navita.

  3. anna Said,

    That’s a really good idea! It looks very tasty. I just made miniature rhubarb pies and they’re incredible! I have to get more!
    I’m from Maine and my parents garden, so in the summer I have fresh seasonal produce being piled on me every few days. It’s a good thing it’s spring now because I have had quite enough root vegetables and apples.

  4. Pearl Said,

    i keep seeing rhubarb everywhere but have no clue what it is!

  5. Hamiwill Said,

    Ok, I’m going to admit that I keep coming back for two reasons, I love the recipes and images that are posted here. Aleta you are so talented and creative. The second reason is that I have a grade school crush on Aleta as well. You come across as such a free spirit, and you are beautiful. Ok, now that I am thoroughly embarrassed I will be going. This post looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it out this weekend.

    Cheers,

  6. kickpleat Said,

    I love rhubarb and I’ve got some in my fridge as I type away. I think it’s time to use ‘em up….and eaten with oatmeal, fine by my book!

  7. Smurf Said,

    I don’t really comment that often (though I’m a regular reader), but that shot of the rhubarb slices is ridiculous. In a good way, obviously.

  8. Christa Jeanne Said,

    Yummy!!! Can’t wait to try it – I love rhubarb but have never been brave enough to cook with it. Looks like it’s time to try!

    Love the blog, by the way! I’m a longtime lurker but haven’t commented yet, I don’t think. Keep up the good work!

  9. LadyGlutter Said,

    I adore rhubarb. I will have to go to the store asap and try this.

    I also adore asparagus, but yeah, Martha’s “recipe” is a cop-out.

  10. stephchows Said,

    The name of this dish is awesome lol :) And anything with asparagus makes me happy :)

  11. steffanyf Said,

    I’m moving to Boston from San Francisco in August, and your rants about the non-existence of year-round produce make me want to cry! I am very spoiled in California! Lovely rhubarb idea. I have some that I got in my CSA box that I need to use.

  12. Steve Said,

    Now that’s some pretty large rhubarb.

  13. Emily Said,

    rhubarb! fancy! the chopped shot is wonderful.

  14. Lori @ RecipeGirl Said,

    I used to have rhubarb as a kid when my aunt would attempt to make rhubarb pies. She wasn’t a very good cook at all, and the rhubarb always stayed rather unpleasantly crunchy in her pies. I simply must give it a shot myself to see if I can do better.

    Love the little rhubarb slices all in a row… such a great shot!

  15. Om Nom’s rhubarb recipe, for much nom’ing « I Have No Idea What I am Doing Said,

    [...] again, Omnomicon is a fabulous food blog. She recently whipped up a little somthin’ she calls Healthy Rhubarb-Parfait-Cobbler-Type-Thing (image from the blog). When Audrey and I get our drunk food blog running (this weekend, hmm?), [...]

  16. ambershellie Said,

    Love rhubarb, and also very much love the way your write! I just stumbled upon your site while looking for a healthier way to eat the rhubarb growing in my back yard, and will definitely be back!

  17. Heidi Said,

    I might have to try this

  18. Lois at Rhubarb Recipes Said,

    Great article…nice to read a recipe and have an accompanying note as this.

    I love rhubarb and always wonder wy more people do not grow it!

    It is so easy to grow, gives an abundant harvest, that you can use fresh, and then easily freeze the rest to bake and cook with it during the winter.

    I have devoted my website entirely to everything rhubarb. Come and visit and try one of the hundred’s of recipes on my website. See how easy it is to freeze rhubarb too!

  19. Jo Anna Said,

    I done other versions of this with fresh peach marmalade, or left over apple crips. This looks like a winner, too. I love rhubarb for its versatility. Can be dessert sweet, or entre savory with other veggies like onions, bell peps and jalapeno. A new take on pico de gallo with…RHUBARB! I have one suggestion for this great recipe…use stevia to sweeten the yogurt. Works really well and provides no extra sugar…for diabetics and those looking to reduce calories. Thanks for this combination recipe, especially the addition of the yogurt for more protein. Oh. I named my version…Healthy Breakfast Rhubarb Parfait Cobbler.

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