Side Dish: A New Year’s Treat! (January 3, 2011)

A New Year’s Treat!

I’m not one of those people who does a good job of keeping their New Years Resolutions. Over the years I have skipped out on more than one of these annual promises to myself. Among the things I have not done: go to Yosemite (2005 resolution), learn to surf (2001 resolution) or build a roller coaster in my backyard (1984 resolution).

But that changes this year. Ordinarily I am a “locavore” – a term coined by foodies for people who always try and eat food that is local and in season. Now it’s easy to be a locavore in LA when even the winter months bring a rich bounty to the local farmers markets. I think that a tomato just tastes better when it is fresh and ripe.

Luke Macfarlane as Scotty Wandell

But I still do miss my favorite summer foods in the cold of winter (and vice versa!) so here is my food-related resolution this year. Once a season I’ll eat my favorite food from the opposite season (I’ll eat from the Fall in the Spring and from Winter in the Summer). A little convoluted maybe, but I think it’s a resolution I can stick to because a) it involves cooking my favorite foods b) it involves eating my favorite dishes and c) I only have to remember to do it 4 times a year.

So let me start the 2011 off on the right foot with my favorite summer recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble. The recipe calls for using a pie plate, but you can substitute ramekins if you want.

Happy New Year!

What are YOUR resolutions this year?

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (commercially known as sugar in the raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)
3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.