Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rhubarb and Rodgers

On Monday my "Book Nook" guest was Rob Reischel, sports writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. We talked about his newest book, "AARON RODGERS: LEADER OF THE PACK". Rob was planning on writing a book about the 2010 Packer Season and he'll be the first to admit that he didn't think they had a chance of getting to the Superbowl. After clinching the NFC title in Chicago, Rob's publisher told him they wanted the book to be about Aaron and that he had until one week after the SuperBowl to complete it. Talk about a deadline!

The book covers Aaron's early career is filled with stats and covers some little known information as well. For instance-when Aaron went to Butte Community College he asked to wear #12 (which was his high school number), but it was take. He then asked for #8 (the number of his boyhood hero-Steve Young), but it was also taken. He then asked for #4 because he loved how Brett Favre played. Little did he know that a few years later, he would be back-up the Favre. There are TONS of photos and it makes a great gift for any Packer fan, Aaron Rodgers follower or CHEESEHEAD.

I really hope the lock-out issue will be resolved before the beginning of the 2011 season. We want to be able to tout "WORLD CHAMPION GREEN BAY PACKERS" each and every week. GO PACK!

It's that time of year when the rhubarb is ripe and ready for picking! We've been talking about rhubarb and sharing recipes the last few days. If you don't have a patch in your backyard or garden, you can pick some up at your local grocery store-or at the nearest Farmer's Market.
Here are a few tips:
*Buy thinner, brightly colored stalks that are firm but not dried out at the ends.
*Cut the leaves off before cooking.
*Slice horizontally (against the grain)
* Add sugar (to taste) as the acidity is quite bracking.
*Try cooking down with ginger and star anise for complex but easy condiment.

You might want to try these jams:
Pineapple Rhubarb Jam
5 c. sliced rhubarb 3 c. sugar 3 oz. pkg. Strawberry JELL-O 1 medium can crushed pineapple Place rhubarb in saucepan. Stir in sugar and bring to boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes. During last few minutes of cooking, stir in pineapple. Remove from heat. Add JELL-O and stir until dissolved. Place into hot jars and seal.

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam
7- 1/2 c. rhubarb, cut up 2- 1/2 c. sugar 1 (16-20 oz.) can blueberry pie filling 2 small pkg. raspberry JELL-O Combine rhubarb, sugar & pie filling in saucepan. cook mixture until rhubarb gets soft. Stir in JELL-O until well dissolved. Pour mixture into glass jars and store in refrigerator. (Also freezes well).

Rhubarb Compote
2 1/2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces

1 lb. strawberries, quartered
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. apple juice
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In large heavy-bottomed pot, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, apple juice and orange zest. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occassionally, until rhubarb has broken down and mixture has thickened, 55-65 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled-on toast, pancakes, waffles or ice cream.

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