still unaware

It's been a year, dear readers!

Well, just about, anyway. A year ago tomorrow I made my very first post here. I had just started getting into cooking, still unaware of the hold it would get on me. I had no idea how much I would love kneading dough and pouring batter. I had no idea I would read a book on cooking ratios in a night.

A year ago I never imagined Daniel and I would be cooking fancy meals together, much less that we would go into the supermarket and buy what we needed with our good looks. I mean, that we would go into the supermarket without a plan, and make up a menu as we went.

It started with that pinnacle of spring produce, asparagus, to which we added a variety of colorful bell peppers. Dessert also came together in the produce section; first we thought dessert should just be a simple bowl of fruit. Me being me, of course, I saw little dessert cups and got inspired.

I've been wanting to cook with rhubarb, the darling of food bloggers everywhere, for some time. We had already grabbed some strawberries, so, really, how could I resist the pinkish stalks of rhubarb? I had no plan, just the knowledge that strawberry-rhubarb is a classic combination.

We kept everything a secret from our fellow diners until serving time, so forgive me if, um, I keep some secrets for a little bit. (Though my pictures may give it away.)

My favorite high school teacher, Doc, once told our AP Language class that "every meal is a communion." He was talking about literature, of course, and how everything an author chooses to include in the narrative should have importance - hence every meal being shown having the importance of Communion. The same is true in life, though, or at least has the possibility to be true.

It took a while for me to get from that statement to actually preparing and eating a homemade meal with friends (though college potlucks came close, even with their boxed macaroni and cheese). And let's face it, friends are why I do this. I don't imagine that any more than a few readers are people I don't know. But there are only a few people I'm able to cook and bake for, because of distance, so this is a nice way to share my newfound love of baking with them, too.

Don't get me wrong, our entire meal was not homemade. We bought local, fresh pasta and tweaked some of Newman's Bombolina sauce to go with it. (We made it spicier, obviously.) I did not make the ice cream - though that's on my list of things to challenge myself with. That's not the point. The point is making delicious food and sharing it with friends.

Asparagus with Peppers, Cumin, and Cayenne

There aren't a lot of amounts here, I know, and that's partially because Daniel made this (and isn't online to chat about how much he used) and partially because a lot of this is to taste. For instance, we are really serious about garlic. I think I minced half a head of garlic.

1 bunch asparagus
3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow)
cumin, to taste
cayenne, to taste

Chop all of the asparagus in half, making sure to also cut off the ends. Then chop all of the peppers into comparable slices. Mince garlic - as much as you want!

Start sauteeing the asparagus in butter. After a few minutes, add in the bell peppers. When the vegetables are nearly done, throw in the garlic and season to taste. Keep sauteeing for a few minutes more.

Rhubarb Compote
cribbed from Bon Appetit

You could eat this plain and I'm sure it would be good, but really, you owe it to yourself to pour it over some vanilla ice cream. It's kind of perfect. I've also seen similar dishes with ricotta cheese or yogurt. But really, who can pass up ice cream?

1/2 lb rhubarb
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch slices or chunks. Toss in a saucepan with the sugar. Add butter and vanilla. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cover and let simmer until rhubarb is tender. (Don't forget to stir occasionally while it simmers.) Transfer to a bowl and chill for about 2 hours.

Serves 4 perfectly, when served over ice cream.


  1. on the subject of making ice cream - it is extremely fun and tactile. find an ice cream churn and get on that.

  2. All I need is some heavy cream and I am set!