Friday, June 11, 2010

Kitchen Accidents can Also be Wonderful

It has been a cloudy, rainy, icky week. I seem to have developed something of an awful cold, with a super scratchy throat and sinus headaches and refusing to get out of bed until noon (oh...wait, I do that anyway). It's taking the fire right out of my "hooray summer cooking let's grill stuff!" mood, but I did manage to sit down and resize all the pictures on my camera from my last few meals, which made me realize that I have quite a few posts' worth of pictures saved up and I should probably get posting. (I feel a particular duty to post what I have since I signed up for this month's Taste&Create and want to give my partner as much to choose from as possible! I'm having so much fun looking through his blog and trying to decide what to make.)

However, before I post a new actual recipe, I have to post my follow-up to the strawberry rhubarb pie. I'd never had rhubarb before, and decided that before I made the pie I should familiarize myself with my new ingredient.

Before I made the pie, I was looking at this pie of rhubarb thinking, "what do I do with this?" Now I'm looking at the picture thinking, "ooh, I want more rhubarb..." So, to become familiar with it, I had to try two things: first, I chopped one stick up, covered it in sugar, and ate the pieces. Delicious. I think this inspired Sour Patch Kids, but it's way better because it has a nice crunch and a juicy freshness instead of a chewy "ow my jaw" feeling. (I have jaw issues. They suck.)

Anyway, my next step was to see what happened when I cooked the rhubarb. I tossed some butter in a super tiny frying pan, and once it melted, added another chopped stick of rhubarb and a tablespoon of sugar. I let it heat up for a little while, wondering if the crispiness would be enhanced by a layer of fried butter or whether it would soften a little, figuring that it'd probably be a little bit softer--like apples. I expected it to be like frying an apple. However, when I went to stir the rhubarb around a flip it over, each piece that I touched turned to complete mush under my bamboo spatula. I sort of panicked, wondering how I'd manage to eat it now that I ruined it completely, and then took a deep breath and added another tablespoon of sugar and a tiny bit of water. I stirred it a bunch, mashing it completely, and let the water simmer off. I put the result in a little ramekin, let it cool, and refrigerated it overnight.

Accidental Jam! Maybe it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it was a complete accident, so what can you expect? I was going to title this post "Kitchen Accidents can Burn Down Your House but They can Also be Wonderful and Delicious on a Slice of Toast the Next Morning," but it seemed a bit cumbersome.

RECIPE: Accidental Rhubarb Jam
takes about 10 minutes, makes enough for two pieces of toast, and is totally worth it

-1 stick rhubarb
-1 tbsp butter
-2 tbsp sugar
-1/4 cup water

1. Melt the butter in a very small frying pan. Add the rhubarb and one tablespoon sugar.
2. Once the rhubarb begins to soften, mash with whatever you're stirring it with and add the water and second tablespoon of sugar.
3. Simmer on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and the rhubarb has achieved a jam-like consistency.
4. Either spread on toast immediately or spoon into a small container to cool.

I can't believe I actually just wrote a recipe for that, but considering I'd definitely do it again if I had rhubarb and wanted toast, I figure it's worth it. I mean, if you're having a relaxed morning and have ten minutes to make fresh jam for your toast, why not do it? Enjoy it with a nice cup of tea or something. Or have it as a snack. I plan to take full advantage of this mistake.

And, on a related "random fact" note: while rhubarb is technically a vegetable, in 1947, a New York court officially decided that since it's used in the US as a fruit, it is officially a fruit. I didn't know the government could decide things like this (have tomatoes been legally declared vegetables?), and I would LOVE to know how this got to court in the first place. So, new contest: tell me why the government cared. If you don't know, as I'm assuming you don't, make something up. You'll rights. (If I actually get a few comments about this, I'll add my favorite to this post, along with a link to your blog if you have one.)


  1. I did a pie you posted about before and it was so yummy:)
    My family loved it:) Thanks sweetie:)
    Kisses and enjoy your weekend:)

  2. Diana, I'm so glad it worked! I hope you have continued pie-related successes.