Most days I find that everything is right with the world. I am healthy. I am loved. I am happy.
Ethan, Thomas and Marcy bring me absolute joy. Fresh cut grass and the smell of watermelon make me smile. Warm paper from the printer and crisp pages of a brand new book bring me pleasure.
Baking puts me at ease. The measuring, the mixing, the cracking, and the whisking are all cathartic. Placing those flavor and texture combinations into the hot oven, watching them rise and smelling the aroma as the final product emerges, it’s all very therapeutic.
I peruse cookbooks and websites, looking for that special recipe that will inevitably turn my neatly organized and freshly cleaned kitchen into a state of disarray. And I welcome it.
Today we caught a break and were able to use just one dish.
If oats are the basis for a recipe, you can count me in.
Rhubarb and strawberries. That’s one flavor combination that makes complete and utter sense.
We pressed half the oat mixture down to make a crust, sprinkled diced strawberries and rhubarb over top, added a couple pinches of cornstarch, sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Then we added more strawberries, more rhubarb and a tiny bit more sugar. The remaining oat mixture is dropped over top and it’s baked for about a half hour.
It will come out of the oven looking golden and smelling like candy, fruit candy. After letting it cool for a bit, it can be cut into squares or simply scooped out into a bowl and covered with vanilla ice cream.
My friend Jen says that baking is my zen and I suppose she’s right. My shoulders drop and breathe easy.
What’s your zen?
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
(recipe slightly adapted from smitten kitchen)
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 brown sugar
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- heaping 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup small-diced rhubarb
- 1 1/4 cup small-diced strawberries
Heat oven to 375F. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and soda in bottom of an 8×8 baking pan. Pour melted butter over top and mix to insure all oats are coated. Set 1/2 of the crumble aside. Press the remaining oat mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Spread half of the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle with cornstarch, lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Cover with remaining fruit and remaining sugar. Scatter the reserved crumb mixture over top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.