16 June 2007

Music & Cooking & Rhubarb-Apple Crisp

There’s an interesting comparison between making music and making good food. I played trumpet in the band all the way through school and college. I practiced hard, learned the techniques, and could read music. But I never could improvise.

My wife, for example, can sit down at the piano, hear a tune, and play it, with chords and shading, and it sounds great. I can’t do that. I can memorize, but otherwise, I need a printed score to read.

Same way with cooking. Benjamin knows how flavors, textures, colors, and smells will work together in the same way that Linda knows which chords will harmonize with a melody.

Here’s my little variation on the Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe for Apple Crisp. I have fresh rhubarb in the garden. I substitute an equal amount of rhubarb for about half of the apple and add a little additional sugar to counter the extra tartness of the rhubarb. Apple crisp and apple pie are my favorite desserts. I haven’t mastered pie crust yet (but I keep trying). So if I just want to mix together a good quick dessert, I go with apple crisp. I usually use frozen apples from my parents’ farm.

Rhubarb-Apple Crisp

2 cups sliced apples

2 cups sliced rhubarb

¾ cup brown sugar (packed)

½ cup flour

½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup butter

Extra flour and white sugar

Heat oven to 375. Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish. Place about half of the apples and rhubarb in dish. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. Place remaining fruit in dish. Mix together brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, spices, and butter until mixture forms a loose crumb. Spread evenly over fruit. Bake for 30 minutes until topping is golden. Serve warm and if desired, with ice cream or whipped cream.

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