Well, let me clarify - spring has arrived but it's far from springing, at least in Seattle. This past weekend the family stayed at the lighthouse keeper's house in Point No Point. http://www.uslhs.org/vacation_rental.php We were celebrating St. Patrick's Day but also a milestone of it being our 35 year anniversary of having touched down in Brazil.
Prior to leaving I had wanted to create something as an ode to spring even though the weekend was looking cold and blustery. Since Dad loves rhubarb and the big, pink stalks had been calling out to me at T & C, I decided to go with the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp I found in Barefoot Contessa how easy is that? (Clarkson Potter) I did the prep work at home and took the fruit and the crisp part separately, assembling the dish when we arrived at the house.
Before I get to the crisp though, a little about the house. We had wanted to stay there for awhile and were finally able to make arrangements in this less busy late winter, early spring season. The house itself sits slightly apart from other houses in the area so it has the feeling of isolation you'd expect from being near a lighthouse but doesn't feel cut off from civilization. It has everything you could possibly want in a rental house, and it even had some things like a loaf pan, a whole set of pyrex, and a full set of knives, that you wouldn't expect in a rental. There are plenty of restaurants relatively nearby in Kingston, but who wants to leave when you have a house in such a beautiful setting!
We spent the weekend taking short (remember blustery and cold!) walks, cooking, eating, drinking and sleeping. We explored the little town of Hansville where the country store is. They have a small restaurant attached that they are renovating, so you might want to check back with them in a few months - we're planning to do so. But, in the meantime, they have nice sandwiches, breakfasts and a killer monster mimosa available, I know, on weekends. If you're up for a challenge get the breakfast burrito smothered in chili and topped with freshly cut onions - wow.
Now, back to the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It was a snap to make and if you were planning a party you could easily do what I did and prepare the fruit and the crisp separately and then just combine and bake for an hour while your guests enjoy dinner. The only modification I made to the recipe was to cut back on the sugar. I cut back to just about 1/2 cup of sugar in the fruit and about a quarter cup of sugar in the topping. I did that because we don't like really sweet dishes but if you do, by all means use the full amount listed in the original recipe.
adapted from Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp (from Barefoot Contessa how easy is that? 2010)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F when ready to cook.
In advance, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit. Put the fruit in a container that can be sealed for later use. Keep in the fridge until needed. For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Some of it may look fine and there may be some small lumps, that's ok. Hold is a sealed container until ready to use.
When ready to bake put fruit in an 8 x 11 baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
OK, I have to admit I'm totally fascinated by rhubarb. Having grown up overseas it's not something I've really experienced, but just look at it. How can that not be fun to cook with - gorgeous, brilliant pink, all crisp, and tart and sweet all at the same time. I'll certainly be trying more recipes with rhubarb!
And just to tease you - a picture of the lighthouse at night.