Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to impress your mom

For my second rhusparagus-themed post, I thought it was about time I actually said something about rhubarb… It is sour.
If there’s anything I learned from Paul Bettany in Priest this weekend, it’s that you have to carry throwing stars in your bible—but also: it’s important to be honest, and that badass face tattoos don’t make bad movies good. My confession? This was my first rhubarb experience. So to ensure success for my inaugural tasting, I made something punchy.
Yesterday’s weekly croissant run was subsidized by my mother, and, to repay her for this kindness, I hosted lunch. On the menu: spicy tomato soup, asparagus Gruyere tart, and rhubarb bellinis.
The farmers’ market was still flush with asparagus, enabling me to try out another recipe on my list of seasonal dishes. Purple asparagus, which has more antioxidants than the green variety, makes this easy tart feel elegant and fancy, and balances the cholesterol from the cheese and butter. Gooey cheese and fresh asparagus are nestled into a flaky crust that takes absolutely no time to prepare.  As far as I’m concerned, preservative-free puff pastry is the best frozen item in the grocery store. Dogs like it too: lots of crumbs falling.
Tomato soup (made from canned San Marzano tomatoes) is a great way to incorporate the feel of a summery ingredient that is not quite available yet.  Red pepper flakes in tomato soup are a must, adding subtle heat and great flavor, and helping make sure that the soup doesn’t taste like a big bowl of marinara sauce.
What is lunch with mom without booze? You’ve been to brunch: Bellinis are typically composed of bubbly over fruit puree.  The rhubarb puree I made was tart and slimy, so I restructured my punch to include syrup. 
To create a rhubarb syrup, roast 2 cups of rhubarb coated in ¼ cup of sugar in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, then smash it up and press it through a strainer.  Place a few spoonfuls of syrup at the bottom of each glass and fill the rest with sparkling wine, prosecco, champagne, or ginger ale for your sick boyfriend. 
This cocktail is pink, tangy, and bright. And my mom liked it.

Spicy tomato soup

2 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken stock
1 big (26-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 big inch salt, crank of pepper
Salt and pepper

Sautee carrots, onion, and garlic until soft. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I recommend pureeing the softened veg in blender at this stage. Add the stock, tomatoes, red pepper, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least ten minutes and serve with something crispy and cheesy for dipping.


  1. Correction: your mom loved it. And the whole meal.

  2. This looks so great! Knightley is adorable and I wish I could eat cheese and such a pretty drink!

  3. Umm I wanna impress ma mom dude!

  4. what in the world
    that wount impress my mom
    and u smell

  5. Well, your poor grammar skills "wount" impress my mom, either.

    Boom. Roasted.