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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

It's strawberry season!! And I'm all things strawberry at the moment. I made these bars (thank you Smitten Kitchen, yet again!) yesterday and LOVE them. The best part - there is zero clean-up. As in - none, not even a bowl to wash. That's the best kind of baking...

*This is for an 8x8 baking dish. If you double the recipe, use a 9x13 dish (which I highly recommend because the 8x8 simply won't make enough of these).

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup small-diced strawberries
1 cup small-diced rhubarb

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Line the baking dish with parchment paper (make sure edges come up over the sides of the dish - this is necessary if you want a no clean up job.

3. Place the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in the baking dish and mix together. Pour the butter over and stir until clumps form and all ingredients are absorbed. Set 1/2 of this mixture aside. Press the remaining mixture evenly into the dish to form the crust.

4. Sprinkle half of the strawberries over the crust. Do the same with the rhubarb so crust is evenly covered. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fruit, then the lemon juice, and 1/2 of the granulated sugar.

5. Sprinkle the remaining fruit and the remaining 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar.

6. Scatter the remaining crust/crumbs over the fruit and press lightly to form a top crust.

7. Bake 30-40 minutes or until it's bubbly and top is golden.

Caroline's Stromboli

My dear friend Caroline's little son Wes is battling stage IV neuroblastoma at only 1 1/2 years old. Since the beginning of this incredibly difficult journey, I have admired Caroline courage, grace, humor, and tenacity. More than anything, I am astounded by Caroline's ability keep a level head and take life one day at a time. I was recently down in DC and was able to visit Caro and the family in VA for the day. The two of us escaped for a nice long lunch in the sun and a couple of glasses of champagne. At the end of the afternoon we returned to the house and amidst organizing the three kids, batting practice in the front yard, and preparing for an evening at baseball practice (all while entertaining ME), Caroline whipped up some stromboli. I share this recipe because it's delicious but also because it totally captures Caroline... "Oh, these? I carmelized the onions this morning while everyone was still sleeping..." Enough said.

Pretty much any of these ingredients can be swapped/subbed but I'm staying true to Caro's recipe:
1 pre-made pizza dough
1 package of shredded Italian cheese
1 red onion, caramelized
1 handful of jarred jalapenos, finely chopped
6-8 slices of salami
1-2 cups of blanched and chopped spinach
Red sauce for dipping

1. Preheat the oven to 425

2. Roll out the pizza dough into a rectangle, about 12" by 24." Make sure to use plenty of flour so it doesn't stick to the surface.

3. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2" on the left end clean for sealing. Sprinkle the onion, the jalapenos, and the spinach over as well. Top with slices of salami. It should look like a big square pizza.

4. Starting on the right/short side, gently start to roll the dough from right to left. Roll as tightly as you can. When you get it all rolled up, seal the long end to the roll and seal the short ends so nothing oozes out while baking.

5. Place carefully on a baking sheet (you might need an extra set of hands), sealed side down. Bake for about 30-40 mins or until the crust is browned and the insides are melted.

6. When stromboli is done, remove from the oven and let sit for about 5-10 mins before cutting. Serve with tomato sauce on the side for dipping.