Rhubarb Compote

Once again our rhubarb is outdoing itself trying to out perform the other backyard plants and I do have to say - 

is looking pretty gorgeous.   

But this year I am determined to start putting it on our table. 

I’m beginning with rhubarb compote from a recipe I found this morning on a blog that

I follow.  Sounds yummy!

Here is the recipe:
1 pound (455 grams) rhubarb stalks, trimmed and sliced into ¾-inch chunks
½ to ¾ cup (100 to 150 grams) sugar
2 Tbsp. (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or whatever you choose 

In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugar.  Set it aside while you melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted, add the rhubarb, sugar and orange liqueur.  Allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes, until the rhubarb begins to release its juices.  Then gently stir, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is very juicy and those juices begin  to thicken.  The compote is ready when the rhubarb is tender and beginning to fall apart and the juices look thick, about 10 - 15 minutes.  This is a cook-it-until-it-looks-right-to-you situation:  trust your judgment. 

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and serve cold, cool, or warm. 


We like things less sweet so I have cut the sugar to a little under ½ cup.  The sugar is what helps to thicken the rhubarb’s juices and gives the compote its body, so it can’t be cut too much.  And if you cut back too much the texture will be different.  And I substituted orange juice for the orange liqueur because that’s what I had in my kitchen. 

See, I told you it would make it to my kitchen. . . I know you didn’t believe me!

Here Comes Summer!!


And along with summer comes gardening.  I love gardening!  

I love the smell of summer, the hint of green that is popping up all over our yard, dreaming of what’s going into our garden this summer and the pansies and primroses that sit outside the grocery store doors.  

I go to nature to be soothed and healed.  Mother Nature is my therapist. 

Our resident squirrels are becoming more present, slowly pulling themselves out of their winter hibernation, showing up at our back door for our peanut stash reserved just for them. 

I am in love with walking in the woods,  

strolling on the beach,  

digging in my garden.   

And picnicking with family and friends.  There’s nothing like sitting in the sun, sharing food and sharing thoughts about everything and nothing, watching the ferries on the bay come and go.  

Two weeks ago our family packed a picnic and headed to the Edmonds beach, a sunny day with a chill still in the air.  We collected shells, drew sand art, made sand castles, ran on the dock and ate ice cream.  In our family, beach time is not only reserved for warm, sunny days.  You will find us there on sunny winter days or drizzly rainy days wrapped in our warm winter gear.  Standing at the water’s edge quickly forgetting  

there’s a busy, noisy world behind us.

Last week I met a friend up north at a park in a little community called Arlington.  We each brought food for a picnic lunch.  We began with a walk on the Centennial Trail and then found a picnic table in the sun.  When my friend and I get together there is never enough time to say all that needs to be said, which always leaves us anticipating our next rendezvous. She brought the most amazing tuna spread made from fresh tuna she and her hubby buy in Westport, bring home, smoke and can.  She mixed celery + this new yogurt (to replace mayo) she found in Stanwood called Grace Harbor Farms Natural Yogurt that is made up by the Canadian border in Birch Bay.  She recommended the one with honey. Topped on her homemade crackers there is only one word for this.  YUM! 

In our back yard we have this bush or - 

maybe a tree . . . 

that started from a seed blown in from a neighbors yard.  Over the years it has grown to about 15 feet high and equally as wide and in the spring is covered with delicate white flowers.  It’s my favorite bush in the yard, because of its free spirit, wild and wispy, like a piece of art.  Last summer one of our daughters actually discovered that it bears fruit. And every spring my hubby threatens to prune it back or worse yet, cut it down.  And every spring I work hard to redirect his energies.  

Sigh. . . 

As lovely as perfection is, and truly remarkable + unattainable, and so much work, and if we were remotely close to attaining it which would make us entirely unapproachable to our friends or family or whomever might pass in front of us.  I’m forever drawn to plants that look a little unruly, Italian pots with chips in them and to things that just look  

Unusual + comfortable + interesting. . .   

Wherever perfection might appear I find myself running,  

Sprinting. . . 

 as fast as I can in the opposite direction. 

This morning as rain is lightly falling outside our windows you will find my hubby and I snuggled up in our den talking about relationships.  More pointedly about -  

Our relationship - 

and what has made it so good all these years.  Before we were married we said to each other -  

“I never want to change who you are”. . .  (Prune you) A lot of couples make those promises, but they are quickly forgotten. 

That we would always give each other the freedom and space to be who we are. . . (To grow without guidelines and borders just like that bush.)    

This has created the safest space in the world for each of us.  A space where we love to hang out.  I reminded him that our relationship is like the bush in the backyard that we have allowed to grow in whatever direction it wants to and with that freedom comes changes each year.  My hubby is still dreaming of pruning and I’m still defending my bush and working really hard to keep the pruning shears -

out of sight. . . 

After many years of marriage the lines will sometimes become blurred and as I said earlier perfection is only an illusion and as much as we still give each other space and the freedom we promised, we every once in a while have to remind each other of 

That promise. . . 

As for that bush.  It still has a home tucked up against the backyard fence and this spring is outdoing itself as its white flowers have turned into green lacy leaves.  I’m pretty sure if you looked really close you would see it smiling, knowing it has escaped the pruning shears or ax - 

one more year.