flavors of spring

there are certain moments when i forget how far away from home i am; moments where cincinnati and lausanne seem connected. sometimes it's the weather or a day entirely spent speaking english but lately it's been the sight of spring produce at the markets. walking through the market recently i spotted one of the first vegetables to pop up in gardens in the spring, rhubarb. i've never made anything with rhubarb before but unable to resist it's elegant stalks painted in beautiful shades of red and green i bought some. my understanding of this vegetable is that it is pretty bitter and therefore often mixed with fruit to sweeten it up. i decided to mix mine with strawberries to make a compote and placed a spoonful in light pastry to become free form tartelettes. these were heavenly and enjoyable for days.

rhubarb tartelettes
makes a dozen tartelettes
2 c. flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1/4 c. cream
2 egg yolks
1 batch strawberry rhubarb compote

sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl. add the butter and mix (i used my hands) until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. add the cream and the egg yolks until combined. lightly flour a work surface. grab a piece of dough and, using the heel of your hand flatten into a rough circle. continue flattening until the dough is about 5 inches in diameter. place in muffin tin and form to opening. spoon 1/4 c. of compote into center and fold the edges of dough onto compote. continue with remaining dough and compote. place the shaped tarts into the freezer to rest and harden for at least 1 hour. preheat the oven to 375F or 180C. bake for 35 minutes, or until edges are brown and the compote is bubbling. enjoy hot or at room temperature.

strawberry rhubarb compote
2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 container strawberries
1 1/4 c. brown sugar

rinse the rhubarb and strawberries, trimming ends. cute rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise and then on the diagonal into 3/4 inch pieces. slice the strawberries. set aside half of the rhubarb and the strawberries. put the rest into a medium heavy bottomed pot. add the brown sugar and give the mixture a stir. cover and turn the heat to medium low. cook the mixture for about 15 minutes covered, until the mixture is saucy. remove the cover and increase the heat to medium. cook for another 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan. add remaining rhubarb and strawberries and stir to combine. pour compote onto a baking sheet to cool.