Harbingers of Summer

Sarah Westendorf SWQ Spring 2014

As I sit at my computer, writing up this article, it’s currently rainy and dismal outside. I’m wearing fluffy slippers, a sweatshirt, and I have a space heater blasting on my hands to keep them from turning numb as I type. Basically, it’s that crappy transition season between winter and spring.

As a Rochestarian, I am familiar with spring teasing me with a few nice, warm days in the early months, just to dump a foot of snow on us and turn the world into mud. For a season of rebirth, everything seems awfully brown and grey.

But we keep pushing on, knowing that a few more weeks of this intermediate crap will reward us with sunshine. Birds singing. Road construction. And obnoxious high school athletes running through my neighborhood every day after school, forcing me to drive really slowly because it would probably be bad to hit one or two of them. Right?

So, in the spirit of wonderful things to come, I present to you several recipes that you probably won’t be able to make until that first, lovely CSA delivery of fresh fruits and veggies, or at least until the Farmers Market starts booming again. This was my very first time using rhubarb. If you’ve had it before, ignore me. If you haven’t, well, then it’s sort of like celery’s gay cousin that tastes like…actually, you should ignore me too. I can’t explain it at all.

Nothing pairs better with rhubarb than strawberries and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a classic. The recipe for the filling came from my good friend Tracy Rericha, who also shared her SR Jam recipe. If you’ve never made your own pie, you’re missing out. And if you’ve made your own pie but used store-bought crust, shame on you! Making pie crust is actually fairly simple, and for this pie I’m using a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, who is basically Jesus wearing an apron, and quite possibly a cowboy hat. The recipe can be found here along with more info about Tracy and canning.

It was wishful thinking when I made the deliciously sweet Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade on a cold winter’s day. But if I sat in front of my space heater and closed my eyes as I sipped it, I could at least pretend it was nice outside. It’s more of what you would call a “front porch” drink, or a “hanging out on the back patio grilling up some burgers” drink. But hell, serve it any time because it’s delicious. And, in typical Sarah fashion, you can spike it!

And if pie and lemonade has you salivating for juicy fresh fruit and you really can’t wait for a taste of spring, check out these healthy Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies while you wait for it to warm up enough for the plants to grow! These cookies are so stinking good and use dried strawberries instead of fresh.

And they're just so...bright!

I don't know if that makes sense, but when you bite into one of the imbedded strawberries you taste this sugary, colorful, fruity, yummy, chewy, melty goodness, and it just kind of explodes in your mouth. Your tongue is all "OMG" and your hips are like "Thanks for giving me low cal cookies!"

And you're all, "No problem hips. But are they still low cal if I eat twelve of them?"

And your hips, your butt, your belly, and your thighs are like, "Hey, we won't tell if you won’t."

So if anyone asks, I did not eat a dozen of these cookies.