Rhubarb Scones

Dad, where are the boys?

I knew I would hear her speak those words to me sooner or later. Last week, Juliette turned 15 years old and we went out for a family celebration, having dinner at Bann, a Korean BBQ restaurant in midtown, where we celebrate all birthdays.  Sitting across from Juliette at dinner, wondering how in the world this girl has grown up right before my eyes, she asks why she was sent to an all girls school. I replied to her that it really was her fault. She looked at me astonished and curious at the same time, "Ugh, really?, how is that?"

I had been a proponent of an all-girls education for a long time and especially now that I had two daughters. One evening at dinner, while Juliette was in preschool, I asked how her day was and she said "you know dad, something very interesting happened today.  The boys were playing and building in the blocks area and the girls were standing around very curious about what they were building and asking lots of questions.  When it was our time to play in the block area there wasn't a boy around.  They didn't care at all.  Why is that?"

This really got me thinking about how distracting boys could be in school. I really believed in the notion that some girls, not all, didn't do as well in school for fear of doing better than the boys and that teachers taught differently to girls in a coed environment. I wanted my girls to build the type of confidence, that I felt they could only get in an all-girls school, which I believe has worked.  Both my girls are confident students, feel free to express themselves and their thoughts and are great participators in class.  Juliette has been finding great success in math and science and they are her favorite subjects.

She did not want to discuss the pros and cons of a single sex education and I knew where the conversation was headed.  Juliette, besides attending an all-girls K-12 school and yes, they have socials with the boys schools, chose a sport where there are relatively no boys.  She spends every weekend in PA riding or at horse shows. Summers are spent the same way, except it's every day. She doesn't go to camp, so , yeah I get it.  She wants boys to be around and she want to be around boys. I asked if she wanted to go to a coed school and thankfully she said no, but that she wished boys could go to Chapin.

I am sure that in no time there will be boys calling (not really sure that happens anymore), texting,  snapchatting and knocking down her door. I hope that she realizes that I was once a teen boy and just maybe I can give her some perspective of what they are thinking. If not, that she knows that I would be happy just to listen and not say a word.

And I know what you are thinking, all photos have been teenager approved.

Fourth times a charm

When the city gets hit with a record snowstorm, just shy of 3 feet, you get to spend all day trying to bake the most delicious rhubarb scones.  Hopefully, you will have a better go at it than I did on my first three tries. In the end, it came down to using my hands to mix all the ingredients instead of a Cuisinart, which when chopping the rhubarb caused the dough to be too wet. The secret is out, cut the rhubarb into small pieces and mix in by hand.

Rhubarb Scones

(Makes 12)

  • 2 - 3 stalks rhubarb depending on size

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (see below)

  • 2/3--3/4 cup creme frâiche

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

  2. slice rhubarb stalks into 1/4 inch pieces and cover with 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar.

  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.

  4. Add the butter to dry ingredients and using your hands, mix together until butter is the size of small peas.

  5. Add 1/4 cup vanilla sugar.

  6. Add chopped rhubarb (note: mix by hand, using a cuisinart will only release the juices from the rhubarb and render the dough too wet).

  7. Add the creme frâiche a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms.

  8. Transfer to a well floured surface and divide dough in half. Flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 6 triangular scones. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

  9. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.

Vanilla Sugar

  • 2 vanilla beans

  • 2 cups sugar

  1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out vanilla seeds with the back of the knife.

  2. Combine vanilla seeds with sugar and mix thoroughly.

  3. Bury split vanilla beans in sugar and place in sealed container.

  4. let stand for two days. Will stay indefinitely.

Apricot Breakfast Crisp with Maple Syrup

Vermont Summer Festival

I spent the past week in Manchester, Vermont with Juliette, Lila and our cat Bastion, a blue point Birman.  They were showing in the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show having arrived the week earlier with their mom.  This is our sixth year going and is our favorite show. Vermont is the most aptly named state and there is something special that I feel when we cross the NY/VT border and the lush green mountains suddenly appear.  Its why we spend the whole year talking about going back the following summer. The air is delicious and cool and the blue sky is dotted with the most amazing clouds. Rain storms sneak in each day from over the mountains and are gone as quickly as they came. We were even visited by a hummingbird who was drinking from the flowers hanging in front of our stalls.

We stayed in a beautiful old house right outside of town , sharing it with another family from the barn. When not at the show the kids filled their days with shopping at the outlets, swimming at the local marble quarry and Ben and Jerry's ice cream (of course). One day we even drove twenty miles to the Chocolate Barn in Shaftsbury because we were told they had the best homemade ice cream. I filled my days with cycling, yoga, visiting the farmers markets and some day hikes along the Appalachian Trail.  Ending each day with reading in front of the outdoor stone fire pit and with which all the kids used to make s'mores.

I will write about cycling often. It is my sanctuary and I love the places that it has taken me and the experiences that the sport has given me. It is truly the perfect speed to see the world.

The week was filled with deliciousness, laughter and loads of hugs that was until I had to take Juliette shopping for her community service trip to the Dominican Republic next week.  The packing list was a veritable list of what every 14 year old girl wants to wear, NOT!! Hiking boots and strappy sandals, yikes!! By the time we got to the recommended length of the shorts, to the knees, all bets were off.  I of course chose the wrong time to go shopping, which I believe would have been any time, but off we went to The Mountain Goat, a great store for all your hiking needs, and I could feel the unhappy glare the entire drive.  Once there she refused to even look at the sandals probably thinking it would be social suicide to be caught wearing them and focused her energy on the boots.  What I found most interesting was the sweet innocent smiles and pleasantries she was giving the salesperson followed with the look of evil toward me. Too lighten the mood I thought I would have her try on the bermuda type shorts recommended she wear on the trip. She did not quite find it as funny as I did.  Its definitely a nurture vs nature question but they wake up one morning and insist on wearing their shorts, well, short. In the end it all worked out, even the strappy sandals and a fair compromise on the shorts. Which means she can wear whichever shorts she wants. 

At the end of the week on the drive home, I asked the girls for their best and worst of the week. It's a fun game we sometimes play and guess what was Juliette's worst. Yup, shopping at the Mountain Goat.

I can't leave out the embarrassing Dad moment of the week.  If you are into horse back riding you are into monogramming. The only horse related clothing item I own is a Helly Hanson rain jacket, which every one wears and gets monogrammed with their names on the collar.  I have been talking about getting my name on the collar for a long time and finally did it. 

How could we be in Vermont and not have maple syrup with every breakfast. 

Juliette and Lila were either showing late morning or afternoon, which gave us plenty of time for breakfast at the house. We had cornmeal buttermilk pancakes with Vermont blueberries and omelettes made with farmstand eggs and delicious vegetables from the local farmers markets. But the one dish I made early in the week, which we enjoyed all week long, was an apricot breakfast crisp with maple syrup and topped with greek yogurt. With each day the apricots became sweeter and sweeter, losing their original tartness. This is easy to make and best made the night before, refrigerated and eaten either at room temperature or reheated in the oven. If you can't find apricots, this can be made with any stone fruit.

Juliette and Lila had some really beautiful trips. Juliette won her under saddle class, won other great ribbons and got her lead changes.  Lila, was reserve champion for the week, won the pony hunter classic and several other classes.  I got to smile all week long. 

Apricot Breakfast Crisp with Maple Syrup

serves 6


  • 1 pound fresh apricots
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Crisp Topping

  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut each apricot into quarters discarding the pit. this can be done with your hands and gives the crisp a more homemade look.
  3. In a medium bowl toss apricots, sugar, flour and nutmeg together. Place in a baking dish and set aside.
  4. Combine melted butter, sugar and maple syrup in a bowl.
  5. Add the oats, stir well and then add the flour and salt. Continue to stir until large clumps start to form.
  6. Cover fruit with topping in baking dish and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Refrigerate overnight and serve at room temperature.

Spoon Apricot crisp into a bowl, top with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and drizzle with maple syrup.

Recipe is easily doubled for a whole week of deliciousness.