Saturday, May 12, 2007

strawberry crack sauce

The front of our tiny abode, has the most light for growing things. But it also has the highest proportion of concrete. I try to pretty it up by putting out some of my larger rocks from places I love. Also this year (better than most, I'd say) I have spent more time gardening. I think I'm starting to see some results, because concrete or not, things like strawberries do just fine in a pot, as these humble beauties demonstrate. This picture was on Tuesday morning, before heading out.

We met our friend K and her monkey over at their home and then proceeded to the beach. It was low tide; fantastic fun for squiggly little toes. We ran around, looking at little coils of pasty yarn, extruded from the muddy sand by some tidal critter. While we romped around, my eye caught a glimpse of a marble sized thing. What that some kind of bubble? My big toe probed the area around it and gained confidence for a brief contact. It is glass! I should pick that up, so no one steps on it. I begin excavating around it. It is a thin glass sphere, almost an inch in diameter, with a hole in the side, and a glass stem attached to it. Oh, I get it. Some loadie left his pipe on the beach. But wait, this thing is pretty clean, and from what I learned in college, isn't for smoking Humboldt county tobacco products.

K takes a look at it: "Dude! Is that a crack pipe?"
Uh, I think so.
There is no trash can nearby, and I don't want to leave this to be trampled on, so I put it in my pocket to dispose of properly.

While packing up, and discussing K's latest ice cream experiment, she mentions a strawberry rhubarb sauce that goes nicely with it. Well, nicely with just about anything, she then admits. I think to myself about those strawberries at home. And the rhubarb that I recently trimmed while wrapping a few of my tomato cages in plastic a few days earlier. Hmmmm. Deadly combination of yummy ingredients from my yard. I simply must try this. We talk about more ingredients, and it turns out I really only need some citrus. I will await an email for the recipe and proceed later.

Two days later, with nearly all the ingredients assembled, I was moving toward the front door to pick the berries when I remembered the crack pipe. I better recycle that thing. No, wait.

Turns out there is no corresponding category of which to ascertain its level of recyclability. Even here in Oakland, with what the majority of the World perceives as crack central. Now, I don't really want to condone the use of crack, so I opted for tossing it in the trash instead. Is this bad? Should I have more compassion toward crack users here? Naw, I mean, just from the basic level of someone littering and the pipe ending up at the beach, or another way, being washed down the storm drain somewhere and ending up there, I want to take it out of the loop. This item is not being treated properly. I think, let the sorters at the local transfer station decide.

Well, I did manage to pick the berries. With them back inside and on the counter, it looked like a basket at least. I was so proud that such a score could be had. It was time to get out the rest of the ingredients and get on down to saucing.

I look at ingredients such as these, and I get a glimpse of the reasons behind the raw food movement. I could easily just throw these things together and serve. Although I might treat the ginger different and not leave it in such large, easily-fished-out kind of chunks.

I cooked everything together at a low simmer for nearly half an hour. The smell coming off the pot was intense. Sweet and heady strawberry, sour rhubarb, floral vanilla and citrus, with earthy carmel sugar. It was good. Very good. At times like these I have no patience and must risk burning myself while trying a bit. I've been stocking the freezer, in anticipation of the arrival of our newest monkey, and recently put in a loaf of sliced honey whole wheat and oatmeal. Some sauce on toast was inevitable.

Just a little piece.

The recipe ended up making about three cups. Enough to put on the ice cream K gave us and enough to bottle up into storage for a later date. Or maybe barter, I haven't decided. You see, this stuff, especially if you like rhubarb, is like crack. You will want more and more and the cravings will never stop. You just might run up enormous debt and a very unhealthy appearance pounding down pint after pint of vanilla ice cream with this on top. That kind of crack. I figure bartering this stuff would have a lot of repeat customers.

I really did throw away the crack pipe. But its fitting that it coincided with my harvest of the small red fruits that go so well with red stalks, that when treated correctly, become strawberry crack sauce.

Thanks K. Now I'm an addict.


Leena said...

You have a new monkey on the way?!
Man, I am so jealous of all you USA bloggers, with your spring and spring related food. We're starting winter in Australia, and I would seriously pay crack prices for a fresh artichoke!

cookiecrumb said...

Did you see that? Leena picked up that you have a monkey on the way. How is that going? Best wishes to Mrs. Wrangler. You doper.

Mimi said...

Congrats on the new monkey!!

Well, you inspired me. We just got back from our farmers market with the first cherries of the season yesterday morning. I drooled over the the crack sauce and went to the fridge to dig out some of last week's strawberries which were still fresh enough and I made cherry/berry jam. Yummy Yum!!

Thanks for the good idea, keep 'em coming!!

Dr. Biggles said...

Wahooo !!! That looks GREAT. I need to make some. Think mebbe I'll pick me up a flat at the market this coming Saturday. No really, I'm going. I can feel it in muh boneses.


Monkey Wrangler said...

Leena: Crack prices huh? Maybe I could ship you a few.

Cookie: Leena is one sharp person, so I doubt anything much would get by her.

I gave the Mrs your best. She got a kick out of the doper tag.

Mimi: We've been enjoying a few cherries too, and I've been thinking of making something with them and rhubarb paired. We'll see what happens though because the cherries don't last long on the counter and the work involved in pitting them......

Doc: A whole flat huh? That's a lot of crack dude. Might want to pace yourself.

Stacie said...

the shit be callin me man! (i love "new jack city"). it is rhubarb time at my house too!! just waitin for them berries...

LNC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LNC said...

Hopefully the fact that I'm two years late in reading this post won't stop you from replying... Would you please share this recipe? It sounds delicious and I'd love the chance to try it!


Monkey Wrangler said...

LNC: Hey, like thanks for writing a comment anyway! (And sorry it has taken me awhile to get around to responding.) I looked at my notes and it looks like the recipe is sourced from the New Basics Cookbook. Rhubarb and Orange Marmalade I believe. As for the ingredients, I don't have a copy laying around so good luck! (Or alternatively, if you need a hand ball-parking what I actually used, check out the picture with the prepped ingredients.....still need help, write back and I'll delve deeper.)