Saturday, June 15, 2013

Who’s Always in Your Corner? Dad
What’s cooking? Grilled Apricots with Raspberry-Rhubarb Compote

I don’t know why I picked this image – neither my father nor my husband have ever been much in the DIY department. Maybe it was the cookie cutter. One of my favorite photos captured my husband – in his capacity as Santa’s helper – puzzling over the directions to one of those big plastic playhouses, while my father sat in a nearby chair offering helpful hints.

But both of these men in my life excelled at fatherhood. Not models of perfection, of course, but good, decent souls who would do just about anything for their children, and the kids knew it. When I failed to graduate from college in the standard four years, my dad said nothing but “Do what you have to to finish.” For my brother, who gave us all a few gray hairs, my dad made it to every court appearance or police station necessary. And with my own sons – why is it always the boys who end up at the police station? – when Officer Bob called late at night, my hubby would retrieve them, of course, then talk to them at length about why they’d done whatever stupid idiot crazy thing they’d done that landed them in the hands of the police.

There was never any yelling in those cases, only a face-to-face discussion on the topic of “Don’t be a schmuck.” As the son in his own family who’d been in more than his share of trouble, he didn’t believe for a minute that he could keep our boys from drinking or smoking pot – he just wanted them not to be the guy who goes to buy the beer or drives the car while the friends smoke in the back seat. “If that’s the only way you can be with those guys, then they’re not really your friends. They’re just using you – why would you want to hang out with them?” It was a tack that would never have occurred to me, and it even made sense to our sons.

I was born with a dimple near the corner of my right eye. My father always told me it was where the angel kissed me. It has only recently occurred to me what an influence that’s been on me in my life. Irrational? Yes. And probably more than a little crazy. Yet it gave me an inner core of strength, courage, and – most of all – a sense of being loved. My sons didn’t have errant dimples – probably a good thing – and in any case, that wouldn’t have been the sort of thing my husband would focus on. But, by example, he showed them what it meant to be strong, ethical, honest, and kind, all of which they are as adults today. And for that, I salute him.

Happy Father’s Day!

* * *

We’ll be having a Father's Day lunch with our New Jersey son, who is himself now a father as well, and doing a great job of it. My daughter-in-law and I are going to try David Tanis’s recipe for Spicy Lamb Sausage with Grilled Onions and Zucchini, which appeared in Wednesday’s New York Times. And I’m in charge of dessert – naturally. So as long as we’re grilling the sausage patties, I thought we should recreate a dessert my husband and I made in Texas: grilled apricots with raspberry-rhubarb compote. Gorgeous and great flavors together, cooled off with a dollop of Greek yogurt. I adapted the compote recipe from one by Laura Sawicki, the pastry chef at two fabulous Austin restaurants: La Condesa and Sway. Chef Sawicki was featured in the May 2012 issue of Food & Wine magazine (I know, it takes me a while to get through them) as one of the Best New Pastry Chefs of 2012.

Kitchen Goddess note: This recipe makes a lot of compote, but you won’t be sorry. Keep the rest refrigerated in an airtight container, then drizzle it over ice cream, stir it into your yogurt for breakfast, or add a dollop to diced honeydew or cantaloupe for an even lighter dessert. Try to keep from spooning it from the fridge straight into your mouth, or at least don’t let the kids see you do it.

Grilled Apricots with Yogurt and Raspberry-Rhubarb Compote

Compote adapted from Laura Sawicki in Food & Wine magazine (May 2012)

For the compote:
1 pound rhubarb (fresh or frozen), in ½-inch dice
½ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split down the middle
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Domaine de Canton (a new French ginger-flavored liqueur, pictured at right; so good, the Kitchen Goddess likes it straight as well, so you may want to add a little extra to the compote – ooh, la-la!)
1 pint raspberries

For the dessert:
6 ripe but firm apricots, halved and seeded
olive oil
sea salt
6 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt

1. Make the compote

Add the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt to a medium saucepan. Stir to combine and let stand 20 minutes, until slightly juicy.

Stir in the zest and the ginger, and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is tender (no more than 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the liqueur and the raspberries and cook another 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove the vanilla bean and transfer the compote to a bowl to cool.

2. Grill the apricots

Brush the apricot halves with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill apricots, cut side down, over a high heat until grill marks appear (about 2 minutes), then turn them and grill another 2 minutes on the other side.

3. Assemble the dessert

Plate 3 apricot halves per person. Add a dollop of yogurt to each half, and spoon compote on top. Serve while the apricots are still warm.


  1. Mary Carol CoffmanJune 24, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    These things are true:

    I like the dad story. Every bit
    I don't understand how you made a compote with rhubarb in Texas.
    The photo is spectacular.
    I'm running out to buy Domaine de Canton.
    I trust your cooking.

  2. Well... I got rhubarb at Whole Foods, and other than that, it was easy as pie. I grabbed the recipe from another dessert I really have to write about. And you will definitely like the Domaine de Canton!