When I started cooking at Nine Mile Farm in Delmar NY on Thursdays, I imagine I would learn, from Rebekah Rice, how to organically grow new foods. I planned to feed the farmers, put produce going bad to good use while developing recipes and bring home leftovers as a payment. But last but not least have fun.
Before the produce gets to me, the food is touched by many hands, not machines. ( Reflecting on this makes me follow in love with the produce before I even start cooking!) Someone is sorting seeds, someone is planting, someone is weeding, watering, transplanting. On harvest day, someone is selecting, counting, sorting and by the time it gets to me, the cook, It has layers of stories that I may not ever know or hear during the few hours I am there each week. I appreciate the stories, I can taste them.
I have not cooked alone and that has also being great. Cooking along side farmers helps me understand what is like to cook and eat in season. The farmer told me: “Well, we have early onions so far, so that is what we will use!” So the Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce will have early onions and garlic scapes and some of last year’s sun dried tomatoes. I am also super happy about that!
I am learning so much from other cooks in the kitchen and improvisation is at the heart of this process. I rely on techniques I have internalized and just keep myself open to use what comes my way.
Mid-week I get a text with what Rebekah, Azuré and Christian are harvesting, what they may have extras and what is coming up. I am of course reading these e-mails 11pm right before going to bed and then I can not follow sleep thinking of what a good problem it is to have lots of garlic scapes and rhubarb. Yum, raw rhubarb on a tabbouleh salad and I am making beef patties and really need a barbecue sauce…
Problem solved. Yes, I am sure I can make some kind of rhubarb barbecue sauce?… I can figure out the details in the morning. I went to bed satisfied.
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce adapted from www.canadianliving.com
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
about 2 pounds of Rhubarb
1 to 1/2 cups of sun dried tomatoes
1/2 bunch of young onions
2-3 cups water, more as needed
1 1/2 cups of garlic spaces, finely chopped
1/3 cup rapadura
1/4 cup honey
3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp mild pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer, cooking with the pot lid propped open, but to keep your stove top clean. Cook until rhubarb is tender, about 20- 25 minutes.