Rhubarb is really intriguing. I remember my mom telling me the leaves were poisonous so Do Not Eat. Which clearly made the colossal green leaves all the more interesting. Later on, post yard-roaming, plant-gnawing years, rhubarb is a tart kitchen challenge to be battled with sweet strawberries and buttery pie crusts and cups upon cups of pure white sugar.

Back story: My dad is kind of a no-dessert dude. He’ll have a slice of Camie’s decadent tarts on special occasions, a spoonful of Mom’s awesome panna cotta from time to time, but in general, Pa’s gonna pass on the pastries. I always thought this was craziness. But… I too am sadly losing my sweet tooth. Beyond sugar-guilt, I just don’t love sweetness. I like frozen York patties when it’s sweaty outside, I like birthday cake on birthdays. But I don’t crave cookies too often, and the idea of slamming down a candy bar makes me feel a little queasy. I do indeed have dessert every day: cherries or strawberries smothered with plain nonfat Greek yogurt. (Woohoo!) Last night I had a big glass of Kefir (“The Champagne of Milk” according to the label) blended with ginger and blueberries and a glug of maple syrup and thought to myself “Decadence!” So, point is, I did not want to kill the rhubarb with sweetness. I wanted it to retain its sharp little heritage. Let its sour flag fly. Instead of cloying it with sugar and strawberry sweetness, I just chopped it up teeny tiny and simmered it with a big handful of blueberries, a healthy squeeze of lemon, a good bit of zest, and a little splash of maple syrup, just for good measure.

Bubbled away on the back burner emitting heavenly summer fruit smell while asparagus poached and chicken broth simmered with saffron in the front, wafting out a totally different pre-risotto smell. Brown rice asparagus lemon “risotto” (I think brown rice denys it the Authentic Italian Risotto stamp) for dinner, yogurt with a dollop of just-sweet-enough, just-tart-enough blueberry-rhubarb jam swirled in for dessert.

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