Who decides what’s grown-up food and what’s kid food? I’m thinking parents.
I have a friend whose son just turned four, and he requested sushi and miso soup for his birthday meal. And also an M&M Cake.
This child is growing up eating French lentil salad with chard, roasted sweet potatoes, and collard greens because his mom is an adventuresome cook and his dad is a self-described “at-home” vegetarian (meaning he’ll eat meat as a guest if it’s served to him.) This little guy seems to be basically fearless about trying food.
I think I learned to eat rhubarb as a little kid at church picnics when everyone’s favorite grandma, Luetta, showed up with her famous rhubarb pies. When everyone else wanted a piece, I did, too.
It helped, too, that I already liked Luetta because she knew I was crazy about books. She was our church librarian, and whenever she bought new books, she’d tell me, and then press one or two into my hands. “Read these, and then write a little review of them that you can give to the whole church on Reading Sunday,” she’d say. I did it and I loved it.
Luetta also got me to do my first interview. She found a great chapter book, written by a woman who lived about 40 miles from our place. Luetta asked if I’d like to visit her and find out how she came up with the characters and the story. My mom, bless her heart, drove me there and sat quietly by as I trembled through my questions and feverishly made notes while the writer talked with me.
But back to Luetta’s rhubarb pies. My mom could never stop fussing about how good they tasted. And she was flat-out amazed at how Luetta could cut a pie into 7 equal pieces. Every time. I only caught onto the wonder of this last feat a good many years later when I suddenly faced needing to do that very thing.
Here’s a winner of a recipe that has you roasting and chilling and then nestling the red chunks of rhubarb onto fresh greens. This is for everyone to eat—not just the grown-ups.
And, yes, you can make the elegantly-looking Parmesan crisps. But here’s a Tip: You’ve gotta use freshly grated Parmesan straight off a chunk of cheese. It won’t work if you’re thinking about trying the powdered Parmesan from the green canister.
Spring Greens with Roasted Rhubarb and Parmesan Crisps
from the brand new (!) Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Cookbook, page 213
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour or more
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
¼ cup honey
8 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar, or any other white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp. olive oil
sugar to taste
¾-1 lb. fresh greens or spring mix, washed
1. In a large casserole dish combine rhubarb and honey. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Set aside to cool.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Place Parmesan cheese on paper in 8 round piles, spaced evenly apart since they’ll spread out as they bake. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until just browned and crispy. Once done, set aside to cool.
4. Once rhubarb is roasted, drain liquid. Chill rhubarb at least 1 hour.
5. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil and sugar to taste, adding in pinch increments and tasting.
6. When ready to serve, divide greens among 4 salad plates.
7. Top with rhubarb, drizzle with dressing, and top with cheese crisps. Serve immediately.
Tip: The Parmesan crisps and roasted rhubarb can be prepared up to a day in advance. Assemble the salad at the last minute.