Almost fourteen years ago my son was born in Minneapolis, on a freezing day in May. When we took him home for the first time, I remember carefully treading my way along the walkway from the garage to the side door. Carefully because I was still wobbly from an emergency C-section, but also because the ground was patched with ice and clods of snow. [Read more…]
I can’t imagine there’s anything I wouldn’t love about the city of Venice. Since I haven’t been there yet I remain a vicarious traveler; picturing a sepia-colored city like no other, floating over an ancient network of canals, all those mysterious alleyways winding through a landscape of crumbling palaces.
Twenty-seven summers ago my best friend took off in the direction of Europe, with no real itinerary or return date. I’d planned up until the last minute to go with her, saving all my waitressing cash in a box under my mattress, but drama overrode – it became suddenly necessary that I break up with my then-boyfriend and find a new apartment. How unromantic!
Everything worked out fine in the end, but missing that adventure was my regret. In the middle of her travels, my friend called me from Venice; she was running out of money but still hoping I’d change my mind and meet her there in Italy.
I felt a tiny bit jealous that she was in a place I’d only ever dreamed about seeing, until she described the harrowing time she was having there; getting off the train alone in the middle of the night, finding the Piazza San Marco teeming with rats and also a few human ones intent on stealing her backpack and who knows what else.
It can happen in any city anywhere, but somehow, knowing it was less than paradise at that moment in Venice made it a little easier to accept what I was missing.
I usually drink my bubbles straight up, but sometimes it’s fun to play around with the basics. A glass of cold, cold Prosecco is soooo nice at the end of a long day, especially a very warm, humid one.
I had a few rhubarb stalks, not enough to bake with, so I made a puree with some sugar and lemon – perfect for a variation on the classic peachy Bellini.
Unless you’re having a party, you’ll most likely have some leftover rhubarb puree (it makes more than enough for a bottle’s worth of Bellini’s), but it’s delicious on scones, toast or gelato.
- 2 cups rhubarb, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Thinly peeled zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Chilled Prosecco
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to a slow bubble and cook until the rhubarb softens to a mushy texture, about 15 minutes.
- Puree the rhubarb with an immersion blender, small food processor or by hand with a potato masher until smooth. Refrigerate until cold. Or if you're very thirsty, chill the puree in a bowl of ice water until cold.
- Pop open a bottle of cold Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Spoon 1 - 2 tablespoons of the puree into flutes. Pour some Prosecco over, stir to blend and top off with more Prosecco, pouring gradually ( the mixture will bubble madly for a minute).