My new favorite night for dinner parties is Sunday. Alex and I had friends over this past Sunday, and I have to say, cooking and socializing did a much better job of closing out a weekend than pasta, TV, work, and Monday dread.
Traditionally, Sunday nights are for Alex and me to eat pasta and get ready for the week. If we had AMC, Sundays would be for watching Mad Men. But though I find that it’s tempting to anticipate Monday–make To Do lists, draft emails, finish work–it turned out that seeing friends trumped all of that. We relaxed, sitting around over a simple dinner with some white wine (though not a ton–it was Sunday) and chatting. Dinner made the weekend feel long.
Plus, it gave me two luxurious days to figure out a menu. The whole meal came out great, so even though this post is about dessert, a crisp, I figured I’d tell you about the rest of dinner, too. First, we ate a white bean dip Leora had made. Then I served the Roasted Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, using Arctic Char instead of salmon. It’s a fantastic dinner party dish–uber-pretty presentation, but hardly any last-minute work. I’m going to be making it a lot this summer.
We had salad from a head of butter lettuce I’d bought at the farmers’ market, dressed with a simple vinaigrette and topped with shaved raw asparagus and parmesan. And last, we had this Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with slightly sweetened homemade whipped cream. I don’t think of myself as a fruit-for-dessert person, but this was delicious. Everyone loved it!
So I wrote up this post as quickly as I could to be sure that you’d have a chance to make the crisp before rhubarb and strawberries are gone in the heat of summer.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
I used as little cornstarch as possible (1 tablespoon), and my crisp was a little runny. I don’t mind that so much, but if you do, you might want to go as high as 4 tablespoons.
I took this out of the oven about 2 hours before dessert and left it on top of the stove. It was still somewhat warm when we ate it, which was perfect.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons safflower or other neutral oil
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (from about 10 small stalks)
4 cups halved strawberries (from about 1 1/2 quart containers)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice
Ice cream or whipped cream for serving
To make the topping, combine the flour, salt, oatmeal, and sugar, and mix with a standing or handheld mixer. Cut the butter into slices and add them, the molasses, and the oil to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined–the topping should form big crumbs. Gather into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days if you’re not using the topping immediately.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a 9-inch glass pie pan (or an 8-inch square casserole pan), combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and cornstarch. Pour this over the fruit and toss to combine.
Spread the crumb topping on top of the fruit. Leave most of it in large chunks rather than crumbling it finer.
Place the pie dish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (the crisp will bubble over). Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the fruit is cooked and the crumble is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let rest at least half an hour before serving.