Coming at you from the Bronx, where I’ve been spending a good amount of time lately. Dinner and pastries on Arthur Avenue, art installations in old mansions, and long walks through the unrivaled Botanical Garden (photos below). And this recipe, inspired by Bronx Bees, as featured in New York City Farmer & Feast, by Emily Brooks.
Serves 6 and costs about $8
Bundle of rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of anise-flavored liqueur
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of heavy cream (or milk if you’d like)
Dash of salt
1 pastry dough or tart crust
Wash and dice rhubarb, toss in a bowl with 1/3 cup of sugar, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain rhubarb in a colander over a large skillet. Heat the juice over high heat until syrupy. Remove from heat and add the rhubarb and liqueur.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, additional yolk, cream, salt, and remaining sugar. Place a pastry dough or tart crust in greased pie plate, add rhubarb, and pour half of custard, wait a minute, and then add the rest.
Bake the tart at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool to almost room temperature and enjoy.
There comes a moment in late April when the earth seems to rustle from a cold, white winter. A pair of my favorite spring signals—asparagus and rhubarb—recently appeared at the farmers market. Here is one way to marry them in a dish, served with warm cornbread.
Roasted Asparagus with Rhubarb Sauce
Inspired by a handful of sources
Serves 4 and costs about $6
1 pound or so of asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
4-5 stalks of rhubarb, diced
1 tablespoon of local honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus in an even layer in tin foil and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the foil around the asparagus, creating a tent with a small opening in the top if you’d like. Roast on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.
As asparagus roasts, melt butter in skillet over medium heat until it caramelizes. Add garlic, ginger, and rhubarb, cover pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in honey and lower heat.
Remove asparagus from oven and divide stalks on plates. Spoon rhubarb sauce over asparagus, and add a dash of salt or pepper, if you’d like.
Rhubarb stalks may be red or green, and frequently somewhere in between.
Skillet Corn Bread
Adapted from Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook
Makes one skillet and costs about $5
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon local honey
1 stick of butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven while preparing the batter. (Do this step first if making with asparagus recipe.) Whisk together all dry ingredients in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients (including honey) in a small bowl.
Remove skillet from oven and add butter. Add sizzling butter to wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the batter into the hot skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Oven mates: roasted asparagus and skillet cornbread.
I’ve read that asparagus is costly because it must be harvested by hand. Conjures a handsome image of farmers stepping lightly near hedgerows. After you’ve purchased your bundle of asparagus, eat it quickly, as its flavor begins to flatten immediately.
Intriguing article and study on the other side of the local food movement. Top level points:
- Food is transported a long way, going about 1,000 miles in delivery and over 4,000 miles across the supply chain.
- But 83% of the average U.S. household’s carbon footprint for food comes from growing and producing it. Transportation is only 11%.
- Different foods have vastly different greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity, with meat requiring far more energy to produce, and red meat being particularly egregious, requiring 150% more energy than even chicken.
According to HBR, the study concludes that if you want to reduce your food’s carbon footprint, focus on eating less meat. It claims, “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”