Will my fellow perfectionists please raise their hands? I know I’m not the only one who chases perfection and suffers for it. In its more mild form, perfectionism can be a good thing, a steady drive to improve. I’ve taken it to the extreme lately, though, into never-good-enough territory. At this point, I am my own harshest critic and my own worst enemy. Whenever a surefire recipe concept fails me, or I don’t like what I see in the mirror, or the crumbs and splatters take over my kitchen countertop, my disappointment spirals downward until I hit rock-bottom defeat.
Eventually, I drag myself up and put on Cookie’s leash so we can walk it off. Those brisk walks bring perspective. I remind myself that perfection is entirely subjective. Not to mention, impossible. Nothing will ever be perfect. So why am I bothering with such an impossible pursuit? My drive to be the best only succeeds in making me feel worthless, jealous, even bitter. That’s not me! To that end, I’ve hired a professional to help me. I want to learn how to accept less-than-perfect with grace rather than defeat.
I wanted to find the perfect vehicle for this sweet and sour strawberry-rhubarb topping, but it’s just plain good on a lot of things. My strawberry and rhubarb were threatening to go bad, so I decided to roast the strawberries and rhubarb in the oven like I did for this balsamic stone fruit sundae. Roasting fruit is so simple and magical. If you’ve ever cooked down rhubarb on the stove and been disappointed by the resulting fibrous goop, I think you’ll prefer it roasted. The heat of the oven concentrates the sweetness of the strawberries and the tartness of the rhubarb. The final product is kind of jammy and still retains some texture, just like the filling in my strawberry rhubarb crisp.
It’s great on pancakes, ice cream or swirled into milkshakes. I’m pretty sure it would be the best cheesecake topping ever. Tart plain yogurt might be my favorite creamy base, though. Add layers of granola, yogurt and strawberry-rhubarb stuff for a “parfait”—which, ironically, means perfect in French. (A coincidence, really. Insert eye roll here.) I just sprinkled granola on top for the pictures, but you can load it up however you’d like. If you’re looking for an exceptionally simple and fresh spring dessert, this is it.
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pound rhubarb (about 4 stalks), cut into ¼-inch wide slices
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 batch of homemade honey almond granola, or several cups of store-bought granola (nut free if desired)
- 32 ounces plain yogurt (Greek yogurt/vanilla yogurt works, too)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On the baking sheet, toss the strawberry and rhubarb with the honey and spread the fruit into a single layer. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway, until fruit is tender and juicy. Watch the fruit on the edges of the pan, as the honey can burn quickly.
- Transfer the fruit and the juices to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve warm over ice cream or cheesecake or let it cool and swirl it into a milkshake, etc.
- If you want to make parfaits: in small glasses or bowls, layer yogurt, strawberry-rhubarb sauce and granola to your liking.
P.s. Some relevant reading: The Confidence Gap and I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead.