80 degrees today in Chicago? Yes please!
Summer in Chicago is what we Chicagoans live for. Winter in Chicago can be rough. Yes, we chose to live here. Yes, we are used to the cold weather. Yes, we can never expect Mother Nature to cooperate. But that does not mean that we truly enjoy 6 months of Chiberia (a bit of an exaggeration, but it truly seems as though we have two seasons - summer and winter). Summer means a lot of different things - tank tops and Sperry's, rooftops and shandies, swim shorts and beaches. The are so many reasons that Chicago summers can beat up your summers, 19 in fact (click link).
Perhaps my favorite reason is the farmer's markets. Green City Market. Logan Square Market. They are all over the city. If you are honest with yourself, which really, you should be, there is nothing better than cooking a meal or dessert with ingredients that are fresh and straight from the farm. It truly tastes better. And you are supporting local farmers and businesses. It's a win-win situation. I love picking up an iced coffee on my way to the market and meandering through the aisles, tasting gourmet cheeses, admiring the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables, and people watching.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp was something that I grew up making with my mom. We would walk up to my hometown's farmer's market to pick up some rhubarb and strawberries and then go home and bake. Top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and there is nothing better. Unless you are sitting outside with a beer in hand, surrounded by friends and family, listening to music. Now that sounds like the perfect way to spend a hot summer evening to me!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Recipe from Ina Garten
4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
1½ teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon cornstarch (see note)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal, such as McCann’s
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
- For the fruit, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, ¾ cup granulated sugar, and the orange zest together in a large bowl.
- In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 × 11-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles.
- Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
- Serve warm with ice cream.