Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp with Cardamom and Nutmeg

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A fruit crisp or crumble, in this case a Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp, is my kind of dessert. Crisps, crumbles, cobblers, buckles, bettys — I’ll take them all. I can’t resist buttery clusters of dough and oats against fruit that’s been roasted until softened and concentrated into the best version of itself. And I love that they’re acceptable as dessert or breakfast.

Berries or apples are always a go-to in these circumstances, but I finally decided to try rhubarb when I found some at the market on my way home from work.

To prepare rhubarb for this crisp, it is trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces. The stalks are a dusty red and green on the inside. It kind of looks like celery from the future. If I’d seen this vegetable as a kid, I would’ve looked the other way on vegetables for a while.

And yet, my first rhubarb sighting this year was in the most unexpected of places: home. It was the Publix near my parents’ house, in a very Miami part of Miami where I am not at all used to finding the produce I expect to find at Whole Foods. I have never seen rhubarb served in Miami. It’s more mango, berries, and guava. But there it was! And now, it was time it graced my kitchen as well.

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I made the crisp that same night I found the rhubarb, and though it doesn’t take long at all to put together the crisp, one after-work thing to do after another meant I finally pulled it out of the oven around midnight. On a school night! One bite in and I can tell you it was so worth the wait. I couldn’t believe how wonderful, delicious, and balanced it was. We went back for seconds. Continue reading  continue reading

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers with Homemade Burger Buns

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Our first big trip together was to Portland. We hiked, biked, and drank and ate our way around the city and developed a serious crush for the Pacific Northwest. It was July, a perfect time to leave overheated Florida for lush Oregon.

After dropping off our stuff at Ace Hotel (the kind of hotel our parents would grumble about but we really liked), the first place we went to was Deschutes Brewery. We ordered beers immediately because a drink at lunch is what makes it vacation, right? I forget what else I ordered, but Danny got the beet burger that we’ll never forget. It was perfect. We even went back a second time for that beet burger.

We tried to recreate the beet burger at home, but the recipes we found resulted in burgers that were fine but didn’t hold together. It wasn’t the same. Now, three years after that trip and that first perfect beet burger, we feel as though we’ve struck gold. We finally found a homemade version that measures up to our romanticized memories.

The recipe for these sweet and smoky burgers (sweet from raisins and beets, smoky from paprika) comes from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. This book won Food52’s Piglet cookbook tournament this year, and I couldn’t resist it after a Bon Appetit feature on Persian cooking sparked my interest. So far I have tons of recipes bookmarked and this first one we tried is clearly a winner.

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Such a burger deserves a better bun. I got home from grocery shopping and lamented to Danny that I forgot to buy the burger buns or any kind of bread. Gah, I’d have to go back to the store again. So what, he said. Let’s make our own burger buns! Brilliant. Continue reading  continue reading