My parent’s came down to visit yesterday and my mom had the best rhubarb story I have heard in quite awhile.
On Saturday my brother and his wife were going to visit our parents on the farm. My mom decided to make one of the best rhubarb desserts the recipes ever–my Grandmother Esther’s Rhubarb Torte. (I shared that recipe in the blog, “Recipes: Grandmother Esther’s Rhubarb Torte and Poison Ivy Cure”. )
My mother has made this dessert hundreds of times and wanted to make a big pan of it for my brother. Dad pitched in to help by going to the garden and picking fresh rhubarb. After washing the rhubarb stocks and finely chopping them, mom mixed up the rest of the torte recipe and popped the dessert into the oven to bake. The rhubarb torte’s custard is topped with meringue so the dessert is baked a second time just long enough to set and slightly brown the meringue.
Mom said her dessert looked and smelled just perfect!
Just before her guests arrived, mom thought it best to taste test the dessert, “Just to make sure it was good.”
She bit into the dessert only to come into contact with an unchewable rubbery rhubarb that tasted awful! “Well, I had to throw the whole thing out,” she said, “I didn’t know what had happened to the rhubarb and I didn’t want to make anyone sick.”
Dad has a very big sweet tooth, so any dessert loss would be met with much disappointment and sorrow. When dad heard about the dessert toss, he immediately went out to inspect his farm’s rhubarb patch. To his great chagrin, there in the patch right where he picked mom’s dessert rhubarb was a big burdock weed, with several stocks and leaves missing.
You can see from the pictures how easily the mistake was made. As with most weeds on my dad’s farm the trouble causing burdock is now deceased and will not trouble dad or my mom’s dessert menu ever again.
For my parent’s visit I prepared a lunch for them. My dad has only one food allergy–soy beans. He can grow them, but he cannot eat them. His allergy really limits what he can eat, especially when it comes to dressing a salad.
One of my favorite summer salads begins with a bed of mixed spring greens including: green and red Romaine lettuce; spinach; Arugula, Endive and Radicchio. The greens are topped with freshly sliced strawberries, halved cherry tomatoes and dried cranberries.
The very last ingredient that goes on the salad before the dressing is thin slices of warm beef rib-eye steak that has been grilled to a medium. The salad is then dressed with a creamy ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Since my dad cannot eat a commercial dressing, because most of them contain soybean oil, I made him, “No-Mayonnaise Buttermilk-Ranch Dressing”. It was delicious!
No-Mayonnaise Buttermilk-Ranch Dressing
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh chives, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning that includes red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Place sour cream and buttermilk into a small-mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least a hour before serving.
Yield: Serves at least four large plates of salads.