I knew it was local and in-season when it appeared. Loose, long, brilliant ruby in color. I've been looking for you. What took you so long? I bagged a pound or so, feeling triumphant.
A squat mason jar stood ready, willing and able, now only half full (that's about a cup) in the refrigerator. Three freezer bags marked Rhubarb & Strawberry Compote 04/24/2010 lay stacked, 1-2-3, in the freezer.
This was a first. The rhubarb, the compote.
Four cups rhubarb (1" dice).
1/4 cup water.
1/2 cup white sugar (heaping).
I had tamed the sugar from the suggested 3/4 cup (so I thought—1/2 cup heaping = 3/4 cup, in a roundabout way). As the sugar water bubbled around the rhubarb I finished cleaning and halving the strawberries.
Four cups strawberries.
Fork tender, I pulled the rhubarb from the heat, mixed in the strawberries and proceeded to transfer everything to a large bowl to cool.
I imagine it dolloped onto a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Roberto did bring home a pint just last night) or spooned into a thick greek yogurt. Maybe set upon a sponge cake, stirred into some oatmeal, or spread onto a thick piece of toast.
Maybe pour it into a tart crust (as soon as I master the task) and top with mascarpone, or stir into a batter—be it muffin or cake. Frozen, I could turn it into a chunky granita or whip it into a smoothie (if we had a blender—or drank smoothies).
I tasted (it was quite nice—rhubarb and strawberries are nice companions), but we did not dare a tasting.
"We're not compote people." I said. What a funny thing to say, I'll admit.