Tuesday, June 29, 2010
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.
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.