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Abrazos! xox Penny

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frozen memories has been a spring!! So much has happened and at whirlwind speed to boot. I was in the "food belt" of Long Island and thought I would have to float home (soooo much rain). Despite all the turmoil, the fun part of all the late spring weather was the pop in the farm markets. Over the four weeks I was there, stands opened their doors and a lot of gorgeous and delicious produce filled up their tables. Hardy flowers and herbs cascaded out of pots; beautiful beets, carrots, potatoes and "greens" of every color had enough sparkle to rival the luscious berries; eggs (blue, green, brown and white) were fresh with amazing golden yolks and the snap peas were sweet as candy...hardly even needed cooking. Asparagus was available in three colors and soooo plump and sweet. Except for the rain, it was truly a Veggie Queen's paradise!!

I was in New York to plan the celebration of my dad's life. In late May, we had an afternoon of his favorite foods, music and memories. He loved all the farmers markets and was one of the founders of a large community garden. Every spring he and his garden buddies planted their plots with personal favorites, swapped their extras throughout the season and then, at the end of summer, had a harvest dinner. Dad loved Swiss chard, peas, sunflowers, berries of every kind and his own brand of "Magic Beans". He had a green thumb and everything he planted grew like crazy. While I was down in the basement looking through the freezer, I found one of his culinary specialties. Although he didn't grow it himself, he put his own touch on his favorite "veggie-fruit" of spring: rhubarb. He made this sauce, froze it and dished it out generously on "Friday night ice cream"...another favorite, another sweet memory.

Dad's Rhubarb Sauce

4 cups rhubarb (6-8 stalks), cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sugar (yes...true!)
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a saucepan; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and let simmer over medium heat until all rhubarb has melted down....about 20 minutes.

Dad also used to add Five Alive, a citrus juice concentrate that is no longer available and in its place, he tossed in some frozen OJ. This is a tangy sauce despite the sugar and is great as a fruit, sauce for meats and of course, as he meant it, an ice cream topper!