Last week I posted that we hadn't had any real warm weather yet... and ruined everything by mentioning it. The very next day a heat wave rolled over us that has just laid us out flat. It's been hot. Not uncomfortably warm, but H-O-T hot and sticky. Heatwave hot. Excessive Heat Warning hot and people are seriously cranky. So hot that we're living in the two air conditioned rooms of the apartment wand wearing damp towels on our necks and we've retired the gas oven for the season. You just can't bake with an old not too well-insulated stove in the un-air conditioned kitchen of a sixth floor walk-up. The consequences are dire. Trust me on this. Even boiling water noticeably heats brings the temperature up.
It cooled off a little last night, but I know better. The heat will be back and it's time to institute some very strategic cooking methods for the next few months. Salads will feature prominently on the menu. Meats will either be slow cooked or quickly grilled on the stove top (how I wish I had a yard for a barbeque!). The slow cooker will be used whenever feasible, as will the microwave. Unavoidable oven usage will take place in the very early mornings.
And that Rhubarb Crunch recipe I was so excited about? It morphed into nice chilly parfaits. Instead of simmering the rhubarb on the stove for 20 minutes I stuck it in the microwave for five minutes, stirred it and gave it another five minutes.
1 lb fresh or 3/4 lb frozen rhubarb (do not thaw)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Sherry
8 gingersnaps, finely ground (6 tablespoons)
If using fresh rhubarb, trim and finely chop it.
Cook the rhubarb and granulated sugar in a wide 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until rhubarb begins to give off juices. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb falls apart and is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups (about 20 minutes). Transfer the rhubarb to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and chill, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 5 minutes.
Beat the heavy cream and confectioners sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the sour cream and Sherry and beat until it returns to stiff-peak stage.
Layer rhubarb, whipped cream, and 1 1/2 tablespoons gingersnap crumbs in each of 4 (6-ounce) glasses, as pictured. Chill until ready to serve.