Laura and Stacy sat on the curb outside Stacy’s house. The sun was setting fast and cast pink and orange light over the cul-de-sac. Laura gasped as her vanilla and chocolate swirl soft serve dripped onto her bare leg. “Shoot!” She swiped at the chocolate drip with her finger and scowled at Stacy and her perfectly maintained vanilla cone. Stacy pretended not to notice.
“Did you hear about Joanne?” Stacy murmured. They watched Joanne swing by on her bike. “She’s going out with Mike T.”
“No way. Really? I thought he was with Jessica H?”
“No, Jessica H said she was too self-actualized to be dating anyone right now.”
Laura stared at Stacy and they both choked on their soft-serve. “No, she did not.”
“You can tell her mom is a therapist.”
“Totally. Oh, and apparently there’s a big party at Garret’s house on Saturday.”
“Huh. Good to know.” Laura scowled again. “You get all the good gossip.”
Stacy shrugged. “I try.” She finished the last bite of her cone. “So, do we tell the kids we know about the party and call Garret’s mom to break it up before hand? Or do what we did last time and just coincidentally show up right as it gets started.”
The women stood up and Laura licked her finger to get the smudge of chocolate off her leg. “Let’s wait until they’re actually at Garret’s house. I like to have some proof before I ground them. It makes it stick more.”
“Cool. I might tell my daughter I already know. I like her to be a little scared of my witchy all-knowing-eye. Which is really just knowing the password to her brother’s phone.” Stacy glanced down. “You got some on your blouse too.”
Here, we made you a giant oatmeal cookie with sticky sweet and slightly sour strawberry rhubarb compote. Okay, so it’s a more of a pie situation. A beautiful, nutty, sloppy, crumbly pie that is also sticky. It’s summer, after all. And does anything make you feel more like a kid, in summer, than pink-stained, sticky hands? If you just whispered, “No” to your computer screen or phone screen, you are correct. If you muttered things like, “smell of cut grass” and “neon blue popsicles” and “playing basketball in the driveway until 9” you are wrong. Okay not wrong, per se, but we cannot devise a recipe that captures playing basketball in the driveway while the sun goes down, kind of feeling. So this will have to suffice.
I seem to be moving backward at the moment and not just in the kitchen. This weekend I saw pictures of my parents’ latest trip to Italy where they explored the town my grandfather was born in Bari (Palo de Cole, which, every time my father said the name, I started to sing, “I don’t wanna wait… for my life to be over…” He did not get it.) On Wednesday, I’m going to hear Pet Sounds when the anniversary tour hits Portland and then Saturday is DOLLY with my girlfriends (which- how can you not see Dolly, at least once in your life? I’ll just be over here, sobbing quietly to Coat of Many Colors and eating pie. Don’t mind me.) Don’t read too much into it, I think. (Right? It’s almost summer, after all.)
Classic Oatmeal Pie with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
For the Pie:
3⁄4 Cup sugar
6 TBS butter, softened
2/3 Cup dark corn syrup
1 Tsp vanilla
2/3 Cup regular oats
1 unbaked, frozen 9-inch pie crust
For the Compote:
1 and 1⁄4 Cups water
1 and 1⁄4 Cups dry or sweet white wine
1⁄2 Cup sugar
1/3 to 1/2 Cup honey
1 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 Pounds of rhubarb stems, trimmed and cut into 3-inch batons and about 1/2 –inch wide
1 Pound of strawberries, hulled and quartered
Make the pie:
1. Preheat oven to 325° and place unbaked, frozen pie shell on baking sheet.
2. Cream sugar and butter together for 4 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and combine. Add corn syrup and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl in between.
3. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in oats by hand until well-mixed.
4. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until crust is brown and center is just a bit jiggly.
Make the compote:
1. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, heat the water, wine, vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, and honey.
2. When the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is simmering, add the rhubarb and let the rhubarb cook in the simmering syrup until it’s just softened, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and add the strawberries. When cool, pluck out the vanilla bean.