If you follow me on Facebook, you know I posted recently about how AMAZING the movie the Hundred Foot Journey was. So many beautiful scenes in France (we are going there this summer – six weeks away!), such heartbreaking family themes, and most of all, such passion about food.
My favorite line: “Food is memories.”
This is so true, and really it is my driving force behind my love of food.
This Strawberry Rhubarb crisp is the perfect example.
Growing up we had rhubarb plants in our back yard, and every spring, my mom would make this dish. Even as it was cooking in the oven yesterday, the aroma of the sweet strawberries mingling with the slightly sour rhubarb made my mouth water and brought me right back to being in our family kitchen growing up. Strawberries and rhubarb together create some kind of alchemy that is a one of a kind flavor. No doubt this is why it makes such a powerful food memory – nothing in the whole world tastes like it.
It was pure joy to make this for my family. My husband loves crisps, and early on requested that the crumb topping be doubled as often as possible, so I always make mine with lots buttery oat crumbs. And I told my daughter Sophie that my mom used to make this for us, and I gave her a taste before dinner and she was glued to the bowl. “I can’t stop eating this! It is the best thing I’ve ever had!”
So I am hoping this food memory has been passed down to a new generation. And based on their reaction – ok, who am I kidding, based on my complete sadness that there are no leftovers – we will be making this again soon.
Did I mention it is super easy?
You start with the crumb topping. I adapted this from a recipe for just a rhubarb crisp, and I really loved their method for making the crumb topping. You melt the butter first, then stir it in when it is liquid, then put this bowl in the freezer. It was so nice not to have to use very cold cubes of butter and a pastry cutter which, though not that hard, just seem like extra work when you could use a fork to stir these ingredients together.
While this is in the freezer, you just chop the strawberries and rhubarb (I used a pound and a half of each which was the perfect ratio to the crumb topping) and dust them with flour, sugar, orange zest and vanilla.
Directions (printer version here):
Combine 1 ½ cup flour, 1 cup oats, 1 ¼ cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in 8 tablespoons melted butter; squeeze into large crumbles and place in the freezer.
Toss 1 ½ pounds chopped rhubarb, 1 ½ pounds strawberries, halved or quartered if large, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 9-by-12-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Scatter the crumble on top and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven until golden and bubbly, 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes; serve with whipped cream.
Adapted from this Food Network recipe for Rhubarb Crumble.