Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rhubarb

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I've been threatening to grow rhubarb for a couple of years but I never seem to run across it at plant stores and plus, I'm a little weirded out that it looks like red celery but acts fruity.  Friday I came in to work to find a bag of it on my desk, left there by my manager.  So, I cooked it.  With strawberries.  Because I've always heard rhubarb is lovely with strawberries.  And it was!  The sweetness of the strawberries contrasted nicely with the tartness of the rhubarb.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

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There are a lot of great recipes for rhubarb pie out there but since I'm intimidated by homemade pie crust, I decided to make a strawberry rhubarb crumble using a recipe I found at Eating Well.  You can check out the full recipe here, but basically you cut the rhubarb and strawberries up, toss them with a little sugar and flower, spread them in a baking dish, then sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top.  The crumble topping has rolled oats, a little flour and brown sugar and a tablespoon of butter.  Super quick and easy recipe.  And less fattening compared to a lot of deserts.  This is not a real rich, sugary desert but it was perfect for a light treat after dinner.  I recommend serving it warm with frozen vanilla yogurt over it.

In the garden, rhubarb and strawberries ripen early in the season around the same time, so they are a perfect pair to combine for early-season deserts.  Rhubarb is a perennial that looks a lot like swiss chard to me.  Eat the stems, but not the leaves.  They contain oxalic acid which is poisonous.

Now that I've cooked rhubarb in my own kitchen, I'm more motivated than ever to grow it in my garden.  If you are a rhubarb expert, I'd love a recommendation on a good variety of rhubarb for home gardeners, that's really sweet.

4 comments:

  1. I love rhubarb--the color is so wonderful and I like its tart flavor. I sometimes just cook it up gently into a sauce (add sugar when finished, you need less for same sweetness than if you add from beginning) and drizzle it on pudding or ice cream. I didn't have enough sun for it to take off, but I know I place I can steal some nearby, lol. (But seriously.)

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  2. My mother has been trying to encourage me to grow rhubarb, as she's a big fan. She even made me a similar crumble recently, to show me what I'm missing (yum!). I like you have just been waiting to stumble across it at the plant store. No luck so far.

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  3. I love rhubarb too. I keep meaning to take a division from my mom's place - they have more than they know what to do with. I don't know what variety it is, but it's good. Next time I visit, for sure I'm bringing home a rhubarb plant (and maybe a New Jersey tea plant - pretty, pretty!)

    Your crumble looks delicious Gina, and much healthier than pie. I don't like pie crust - never did. I eat pie filling, and leave the crust on the plate - always have, since I was a kid.

    It's easier to find rhubarb plants online than at the plant store. I've never seen it for sale in the south 'burbs.

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  4. I just made a strawberry rhubarb pie yesterday. My pie crust recipe is foolproof - using it over 30 years. I think it was from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It has lie three ingredients that I put into my Kitchenaid.

    Eileen

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