Rhubarb and Nectarine Crumble: An Understandable Result of Banner Making

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I hate making banners and buttons for the blog. If anything it's the bane of my blogging life. I recall the horror that was making the banner you see at the top of this web page. Three days of frustration, screaming, and pouring through code and html tutorials and online photoshop lessons. At one point I almost gave up the blog in a small fit of crying after stumbling along for a 6 hour stretch of utter FAIL. Still in the end, it worked out. It might be time for an update though, but honestly I just don't even want to go there.

So when I decided I had to make a banner and button for the new blog (where there is a new post up today), I just had to grit my teeth and bear it. I went to the store and bough a few pink and ruby hued stalks of rhubarb so I could take some pictures. Getting them home I got out the white plate I use for photographs and placed it precariously on my window ledge where I get the most light and, of course, also risk everything tumbling over the edge in a heap at any second when the camera is raised. As I tried to arrange the stalks of rhubarb, a vegetable that is anything but neatly stackable, I began to try to picture my end result. Beautiful, red and white, a perfect font that heralded intellectual thought and creativity in the food world with a picture that encapsulated the soul of food writing. I knew what I wanted and goddamnnit I was going to get it even if I had to break out the glue gun and airbrushing to make it work.

The pictures, amazingly, came out fine. However with no photoshop on my new MacBook I resorted to Picnik, an online photo editing program I was made aware of at the recent IFBC. While I was initially frustrated that my perfect banner wasn't going to be possible (it's a great program but it has its limitations) I came out with one that was better that what I originally envisioned, plus a nifty little banner-button-ad-thingy for this blog. It's a little piece of work with which I am very proud of myself for.

Still, that left me with a lot of rhubarb to use up. Lucky for me I had a few nectarines that were sitting about from the Farmer's Market. Still firm and tight with a death grip on the stone they weren't juice dribbling sweet with a thick aroma. Instead they had a delightfully tart taste to them that was slightly reminiscent of sour candy.

Chopping them up tossing them with some sugar and some diced rhubarb into the little casserole dish they went. (My brand new Le Creuset 5X7 inch casserole dish in pretty cerulean I might add. Found on sale with a matching 7X10 1/2. For $30. Yayness indeed.) I whipped up a quick oatmeal crumble topping and into the oven it went.

Sure 100+ degree weather and baking don't mix entirely, but damn it, dessert was at stake! Twenty five sweltering minutes later out it came. As I moved aside the research I was doing for the new blog's next post I took a bite - never mind that I burnt my tongue due to my sore lack of patience, the crumble was delicious. Not overly sweet, perfectly tangy and tart, with just enough of that juice laden crumble on top to take me into a little bit of bliss. This crumble was a celebration of my new blog and triumph over technological photographic hurdles.

I made it again the next day. It perfectly serves two (or perhaps one very generously) and takes only a few minutes to throw together. If you don't have rhubarb or nectarines, I suppose really any fruit will do nicely but I encourage you to try it this way as it is quite fabulous.

Rhubarb & Nectarine Crumble
1 good, large stalk of rhubarb
1 nectarine
zest of one orange
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 stick of cold butter
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup of oats
2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Dice up the rhubarb and nectarine. Toss in a 5X7 baking dish with the sugar and orange zest and mix it up a bit allowing the produce to macerate.

3. Place the butter, flour, oats, and brown sugar in a bowl and cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the whole thing looks like bread crumbs. Pour over the fruit and pat down a bit.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes or just dive right in like I did and burn yourself. Totally worth the skin grafts you'll be needing on your tongue.


  1. Nice job with the banner on your new blog, I quite like them both! I wasn't aware of Picnik and will have to check it out. I've been using Gimp.

  2. Looks yummy. I was going to make a rhubarb crisp this morning but then I got diverted (as is my custom) and ended up making a pot of rhubarb jam, as well as a rhubarb tart (not yet completed). I also froze two bags of rhubarb for the middle of winter when I'm craving rhubarb cake.

    I like the mental image of you gluing your rhubarb stalks to the window ledge. Those of us who are eaters-of-food and photographers-of-the-food-we-eat do tend to get a little obsessive---don't I know it!

  3. I want to introduce you to some new concepts: networking and delegation.

    When you run into a task (like html) that you can't stand you farm it out to someone who does that sort of thing for fun.

    With the following you have I guarantee there is someone out there who would happily take your pics and make you buttons and banners galore with nary a whimper.

    Re: Recipe.

    I'm still exceptionally jealous of people who can get fresh fruit without growing it in their backyard. I'm still trying to find a farmer's market in an hour driving range. But cotton is the only thing growing.

  4. The new blog and banner looks great.And this really looks delicious!

  5. Rhubarb and nectarine...sounds like a great combo!

  6. I have a bunch of rhubarb growing but the stalks refuse to turn red!

    Nice recipe!

  7. what a great combination and just the one I was looking for having fresh rhubarb in the garden and nectarines from my local Farmer's Market! just popped into the oven now, but I'm sure it will be delicious~
    thank you!


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