Yesterday, Danny arrived home from taking Lu to her afternoon pre-school. “Look what I have!” he said, brandishing a lovely bouquet.
Rhubarb. Green celery-like stalks with blooms of rose-colored tips. Dirt still on it. Wholly unexpected.
“E. had some left in her garden. She knew we’d use it.”
Use it we did.
I ran outside to take a photo of it, just out of the garden. A few moments later, something upset me. Something ongoing and not fun. Something that will pass.
In the old days, I would have eaten chocolate. Yesterday I chopped rhubarb instead.
Learning to chop vegetables when you are upset as a zen practice, as something practical instead of punching a pillow means your knife skills improve pretty quickly.
Add some honey, some vanilla bean, the zest of a lime and a squeeze of the juice, and stir. By the time I had finished, the upset had left me. There was nothing but sunlight and rhubarb waiting to be roasted on that counter. I cleaned my knife and walked away.
Later in the evening, I roasted the rhubarb at 325 for about 45 minutes. When it had grown soft, I strained the rhubarb juice right into a pot, then set aside the soft chunks of roasted rhubarb. I reduced that liquid until it was rich syrup, and then I poured it into the pile of rhubarb chunks.
(I pretty much followed this recipe, from the amazing Brandi, except I changed a lot of ingredients.)
After an evening to myself, to work and answer emails while listening to Ray LaMontagne over and over again, as Lucy slept, I felt entirely fine. The upset of the afternoon had tiptoed away, memory only, step by step by keyboard click.
When Danny stepped through the door, he was surprised to find rhubarb shortcakes ready for dessert.