Rhubarb Crisp Ice Cream

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I love homemade ice cream. I love cold rhubarb crisp. A new favorite ice cream was born–rhubarb crisp ice cream. Cool, creamy ice cream layered with sweet oatmeal crisp and tart rhubarb sauce–it’s like having rhubarb crisp in your freezer any time you want it.

The ice cream is based on Jeni Britton Bauer’s (of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams fame) technique of using cream cheese, cornstarch and corn syrup in the ice cream batter. It yields thick, creamy perfectly textured ice cream that stays perfect in the freezer for weeks.

I’ve already made this three times this spring.

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Rhubarb feels quaint and old-fashioned to me.

Grandmas and old farmers grow it. You find it at the farmers market, but not front and center. It’s casually placed off to the side, like the grower plucked a bunch from the perimeter of the barn as an afterthought when loading up the truck. Continue Reading »


Asparagus Tempura and Sriracha Mayonnaise

A crispy and delicious take on spring's finest vegetable.

A crispy and delicious take on spring’s finest vegetable.

I inherited a 30′ x 2′ asparagus bed. It’s hopelessly, ridiculously weedy, so it doesn’t produce as much as you might think. But it does produce a lot–my family of four can have asparagus with dinner every night for six weeks. That is, if everyone in the family would actually eat it.

I love it (but even I get sick of it near the end). My husband likes it for about a week. My four-year-old likes the flavor, but strongly objects to funny smelling pee, and my three-year-old is just getting his first taste as a sentient being who can verbally accept or reject foods on his dinner plate.

So far, I can get him to eat one tip of one spear each meal. I’m hoping once he reaches the required 10-15 tastes researchers say it takes for a kid to start enjoying a new food, he’ll be an asparagus-lover.

Last weekend, inspired by Bon Appetite’s June 2013 recipe for Green Bean Tempura, I decided to fry up some asparagus. Everyone ate it–2 lbs of tender green spears disappeared in 45 minutes. Continue Reading »


Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad from www.tallgrasskitchen.comMy kids have a secret dinner-time plot. They have pledged to NEVER both like the same dish at the same time, unless it is straight up noodles and butter (no parsley, no garlic, no lemon no black pepper–just salted butter, thank you.)

Anything and everything else I cook, one of them has an issue. It smells funny, looks funny or  tastes funny. And the thing is, as well as I know my kids, I can almost never guess who is going to like dinner. (I think that’s another part of the vow–keep mom guessing for maximum frustration on her part, and maximum entertainment on their part.)

Enter the chopped salad, served family style. I finely chop lettuce (hoping that some of it accidentally sticks to the spoon as my children serve themselves) and then chop up a myriad of other ingredients. I put them in distinct groups, so that if someone doesn’t feel in the mood for avocado, they can easily avoid it.

Top it all with a homemade dressing (try this one, this one or this one) and everyone is bound to find something they like. Continue Reading »


Rhubarb Oatmeal Cakes

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I try to make it a habit not to complain about the weather.

It seems like a cop out–we must have something better to talk about. There is absolutely NOTHING we can do about it. Let’s just deal with it and get on with things.

We’ve had about seven inches of rain over the past 30 days–the drought is officially over, and we hope that all of these showers bring lots of May flowers…and asparagus…and rhubarb!

The scarlet knobs that begin forcing their way out of the soggy earth long before a shy daffodil even begins to think about opening is my first inkling, and hope, that spring is coming. The rhubarb is up, and the asparagus isn’t far behind.

If you’re lucky enough to have fresh rhubarb available already, then these baked oatmeal cakes are a treat for breakfast or snack. This was a favorite recipe from my newspaper column last year, so I thought it was worth re-publishing here for spring. Continue Reading »



salami blini 2As a blogger, I get frequent emails to try out one product or another. My rule is to turn them down unless it is something I’d consider buying myself. This means I turn down most of them.

But when I was approached by Lori Fredrich of the famed Milwaukee blog Burp to sample and develop two recipes featuring artisan salami from Bolzano Artisan Meats, I didn’t hesitate. muffalleta 1 There was a selection of delicious options to choose from, but I settled on the simplest: Pig Red. Made from heirloom Red Wattle pork, this dry-cured salami has no additional spices or flavors. The taste of this heritage pork shines through.

My package arrived in the mail, and I tasted it immediately. Fruity, complex, but still straight-forwardly porky, I knew that I didn’t want to hide the flavor in anything complicated. I wanted this delicious meat, enhanced by an age-old fermentation process, to be the star.

I settled on an appetizer of blini, salami and creamy yogurt and a sandwich reminiscent of the New Orleans muffaletta. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and I hope you are able to try all the varieties of Bolzano’s dry-cured salamis.

At the bottom, please see links to other bloggers recipes featuring other salami flavors. Continue Reading »