I have a love affair with cookbooks—my kitchen library is brimming with everything from Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking to the most recent publications by Yotam Ottolenghi and Diana Henry. I look to them for inspiration. Much like novels, cookbooks tell complex stories. More than a list of ingredients and instructions, they’re a gateway into the author’s mind and the culture of the time. Julia Child set out to teach European classics like Quiche Lorraine and Beef Bourguignon to Americans who were accustomed to eating peas from a can. Did she know at the time that she could change the world through food or did she simply want to share what she had come to love? Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi—both Israeli born, one Jewish and the other Palestinian—had each achieved personal success through their restaurants in London when they were asked to work together on their first cookbook, Jerusalem. While they grew up in the same city, they thought they were living in different culinary worlds until they began to compare foods and recipes, only to learn they had a shared love of classic middle eastern ingredients like chickpeas for hummus and za'atar for spice. They brought two competing worlds together through food and the cultural history behind each dish. Jerusalem is a success not only for its recipes but for its ability to create peace in its pages.
Nigel Slater has long been a favorite culinary writer in the United Kingdom and beyond. I have all of his books and marvel at his ability to create a set of complex flavors out of minimal, simple ingredients. This dish of Baked Rhubarb & Blueberries is one such dish. Tart and tangy rhubarb stalks are covered with blueberries and only a small amount of honey or sugar, then baked in the oven until the fruits are soft and a rich juice develops around them. The result comes together in one unique flavor that is like nothing I’ve tasted before. This dish tastes fabulous warm right out of the oven and straight from the pan. It needs no garnish or embellishment but is even better the next morning when the flavors have had time to come together. Eaten cold with a bit of yogurt and a hot espresso, Baked Rhubarb & Blueberries for breakfast is a perfect way to begin the day.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Baked Rhubarb & Blueberries
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 1 lb. rhubarb, leaves removed, rinsed and trimmed
- 3 cups blueberries, rinsed
- ¼ cup honey, maple syrup or granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut the rhubarb stalks into short lengths. Put them into an ovenproof dish. Pour in the blueberries then sprinkle with honey, maple syrup or granulated sugar.
- Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes to an an hour, until the fruit is softened.
- Remove from oven.
- Serve warm or allow to cool before serving.
- This recipe is adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater.
- Simple is best with this dish. Perfect on its own―or, consider serving it for breakfast with some plain yogurt. For dessert, add some sorbet and Chocolate Chip Macaroons.
One Year Ago: Savory Crepes with Fresh Corn Salsa
Two Years Ago: Spring Tartlets
Three Years Ago: Trail Mix Cookies