Yeah...so...(avoids gaze, sheepishly,) it's been a while...(kicks at dirt, feigning a casual air...) like, nearly 6 weeks... Oh, my poor desperatehousediva blog! How I have neglected you!
But you see, internet? There is just so much to report: so many recipes, so many anecdotes, home decor experiments (many of them successful! How much do we love a before & after!?) and lovely photos to share :)
It's officially Summer now here in Midwestia (Wooster, OH, for those of you who may have forgotten,) as The College is now on break. This means several things to me:
a. I now have my beloved husband, Prof. Hubs, around much more-yay!
b. The students are starting to disperse leaving behind a quiet, lazy Summer town.
c. Farmer's Markets are looking less and less like bake sales and more and more like Produce fantasy-lands.
All good things!
A few weeks ago we had dinner at the home of some friends who live on a self-titled "hobby farm." This is basically a stunning refurbished farmhouse in the woods complete with working farm (lite.) Do they have a greenhouse? Yes. A field full of gorgeous vegetables? Yes. Fruit trees? Yes. A barn? Yes. Animals? most recently chickens. It is basically my dream-home. Especially If you put the whole set up in Italy, close to the Adriatic coast!
After dinner we took a nice passeggiata (to continue with the, apparently, Italian theme I'm going with...) and managed to meander out into the garden. Scythe in hand, our friend cut a bunch of jewel-red rhubarb out of the ground and handed them to us. How much do we love a dinner with party favors!? Especially edible ones!? LOVE.
Personally I adore that classic American combination of strawberries and rhubarb. I decided to turn this lovely gift into a nice large batch of strawberry rhubarb preserves. The results were fantastic. They turned out much like THIS product I used to buy en masse from the brilliant people at American Spoon in Michigan.
But then I had almost too much S-R fruit preserves. So when life hands you Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit preserves? You make JAM BARS!!! These come together in like five minutes and provide hours of Spring delight :)
The Desperatehousediva's succulent Strawberry Rhubarb Jam-Crumble Bars
adapted from a recipe by Deb Perleman
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour (you can use all purpose, white whole wheat, or a 1/2-1/2 combo like I do)
1 cup of butter, melted
1 egg (sort of optional...the first time I made these I forgot the egg and they were still fabulous, though slightly crumblier. The 2nd time I remembered the egg and they were denser, cakier and yes, still fabulous.)
1/2 tsp salt
1.5-2 cups fruit preserves of your choice.
Preheat oven to 375.
Grease a 9X13 pan.
-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients BUT the fruit preserves into a nice dough. Do not overmix.
-Split the dough into 2 balls.
-With your hands, press the first dough ball into the prepared pan, spreading the dough into a nice, even crust.
-Then spread the fruit preserves over the crust layer, evenly.
-Finally, crumble the 2nd dough ball over the jam layer, evenly (it is slightly too wet to really crumble, so you may just want to break of little bits of dough and sprinkle them.)
-Bake for 45 minutes, or lightly browned. Allow to cool and enjoy!