I suppose that, if asked, we each have our own version of a VIP fantasy. For some that could mean landing floor seats at a sports game, or moving to the front of the line at an exclusive club, or getting into a fancy restaurant without a reservation, or maybe even having a personal shopper call you when an item arrives, but before it reaches the sales racks.
We gardeners are a different breed altogether.
For me, VIP means getting a personal invitation (or maybe I invited myself – the details are foggy) to harvest rhubarb from a Master Gardener here in Los Angeles for a pie I’d be bringing to his gardening class the following day. David King heads The Learning Garden here in Venice, CA, along with a number of other fantastic garden-related programs and I had the pleasure of visiting the overflowing garden this past weekend.
I’ve never seen rhubarb growing, never cooked with it, or even eaten it, until yesterday. The long stalks resemble celery, but with huge beautiful leaves at the tips (which I learned are poisonous, by the way-do NOT eat the leaves!). It was great fun to pull the long stems out of the ground, knowing just a few hours later they would be bubbling in my oven in the form of a pie.
Yes, I felt very proud of myself this weekend, having had a personal “VIP harvest” with the L.A. garden guru himself. What can I say, I’m a nature nerd through and through…and…his pie recipe (flavored with cardamom, cloves and orange zest!) was delicious. As we gardeners know, the pleasure of harvesting, preparing and then eating homegrown food makes all the ‘hard work’ worth it – and is such a labor of love that it is certainly not work at all.
David King’s Most Beautifully Delicious Rhubarb Pie!
1 pie crust
1 ¼ pounds fresh rhubarb cut into ½ pieces
½ cup sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ T ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Juice and zest of ½ bright-skinned orange
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Combine all ingredients and place in pie crust and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the filling has bubbled and thickened. Let cool on rack before serving.
(David’s note: this is a bachelor male’s adaption to a Martha Stewart recipe which takes about 3 hours longer to make)