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12 May 2008

rhubarb

rhubarb

The Chef grows dreamy and nostalgic when anyone mentions rhubarb. “Ohhhh, rhubarb,” he almost growls, his face softening into a smile. He grew up in a large home that everyone in the family refers to as Big Brown. (It’s painted blue now, but that hasn’t changed the name at all.) In the side yard of Big Brown grew a large patch of rhubarb gone wild, like a teenage boy in need of a haircut. No matter how much rhubarb his mom cut down, more grew in its place. She made rhubarb pies and crisps all summer, apparently, but still there was more for the taking. He tells me that one of his favorite ways was to eat rhubarb was sliced as though for pie, with sugar dusted on top, and mixed up to make a little syrup. He just sat at the table and ate it straight out of the bowl.

Perhaps I might have discovered the beauties of rhubarb before now if my backyard had grown the fruit like a weed. However, rhubarb didn’t sprout in the dirt of southern California. (Don’t feel sorry for me, though. We had an avocado tree and pomegranates too.) To me, rhubarb always sounded like a fussy grandmother’s food, the kind one hoards and uses in place of sweeter, more expensive fruits. My grandmother grew up in the Depression, and she made rhubarb pie, reportedly. I never did eat one. Grandma rarely cooked for us. I heard rhubarb and thought thrift, sourness, and not so good.

I’ve seen the light, lately. The Chef is making a strawberry-rhubarb tart for the restaurant, and I want a piece every day.

Rhubarb is tangy and kicky, like strawberry’s spunky cousin. Raw it has a crunch like celery. Ruby red on the outside like slippers, the inside slips into a more demure greenish white. But when you cook it down, in a sweet stew, the slices slide into softness, mushy enough for a baby without teeth.

This week, at the farmers’ market, piles of bright red slices enticed me to stop. I didn’t know what I would make with that rhubarb, but I had to have some. For days, they languished in the refrigerator, waiting to be touched. For a time, I dreamt of making pie for the Chef, with a lemon custard on the bottom, and rhubarb on top. Fatigue set in, and the pie didn’t happen.

On a lovely walk with Molly on Friday, we talked about food as we circled the lake. Of course. The two of us talk and buoy each other, illuminate our lives for each other, and laugh. Much of it has nothing to do with food. But sometimes, in glancing, we dance across an idea for food on the way to the next topic. This week, she mentioned rhubarb compote, and moved on. It stayed in my mind, though.

Today, when the rains threatened outside, and the Chef took a nap, Molly and I talked on the phone. Needing to go — we could always talk more — I stopped her. “Wait, how do you make that rhubarb compote?” She talked me through a recipe she had adapted from someone else, and then I went into the kitchen and made my own. A pound of sliced rhubarb, half a cup of sugar, generous pats of butter, the zest of a Meyer lemon (the last soft and squishy one of the season), and the juice too. The hard slices relented into the juicy syrup and became soft and liquidy. The smell of it woke up Little Bean, who started kicking.

When that compote cooled down, I spooned some into thick vanilla yogurt.

Oh rhubarb, you’re my new best friend.

And so, dear readers, what do you like to do with rhubarb?

70 Comments:

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Wee-H said...

Eat it raw with sugar!

I think Rhubarb crumble has to be the best dish, is crumble a UK thing or do you have it in the states?

Ive just bought your book, thanks, its helping me alot on my path to sorting out my foodie life.

 
At 1:27 AM, Blogger Batchoy said...

My favourite has to rhubarb crumble made with a hint of ground ginger, served in cold days with lashings of custard and on warm days with vanilla.
Living in England we have always had rhubarb in the back garden, and awaited in anticipation for the first crop of the year which is always the finest.
Rhubarb is also a firm favourite of my wife's though hailing from the Philippines she did not have first experience of its zing until her late twenties.
For something less rustic, you also can't beat a rhubarb fool.

 
At 2:55 AM, Blogger Kharina said...

In Sweden we have a weird tradition to turn fruits and berries into "soup". Although the mighty rhubarb is classed as a veg... they turned into soup too. They got chopped up to bits, cooked in water with sugar and then in the end when they were soft and the sweetness adjusted to taste, a little potato flour mixed with water was added to the mixture to almost give it a thicker and glossy texture. Had to be careful not to cook too long, or you ended up with rhubarb glue. :)

 
At 3:14 AM, Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Like the Chef I can grow misty eyed about rhubarb. A childhood staple, this was one of the few fruits that could thrive in the clay soil of the garden. Mum always stewed it - straight or with apples, to have on top of cereal or with ice cream.

Last year I found a much more grown up and heavenly thing to do with it - fry rhubarb in butter and spice it with ginger and cinnamon (with a little sugar of course). http://confessionsofafoodnazi.blogspot.com/2007/08/oh-my-goodness-rhubarb-moment.html
Once you've tasted it you are hooked!

 
At 4:10 AM, Blogger Pille said...

Rhubarb is hugely popular here in Estonia, and we eat loads of it in May (we don't get strawberries until mid-June or so). But then the climate is much more suitable for it here than in your corner of the world :)
So far - this year - I've made a coconut and rhubarb tart, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb and blood orange crumble (these are not gluten-free, however), roasted rhubarb with ginger, vanilla panna cotta with roast rhubarb, coconut creams with roast rhubarb, rhubarb fruit soup, rhubarb juice drink, and have just made some rhubarb jam (all gluten-free).
I prefer using thin pink stalks that don't need to be peeled - lends a gorgeous colour to the end product.

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

We have a family farm in Grundy Center Iowa. I remember being very young, taking weekend trips from St. Paul, MN to visit the tenet farmer and his family. My dad would spend the day in the fields and I would roam around in the barns and the garden. There was always that large farmers meal at noon. My job was to pick the rhubarb so we could make a pie for lunch. I have a very clear memory of pulling the rhubarb out of the spring ground and eating the long stalks raw with salt while I watched the activity in the kitchen. It sure packed a tart pucker. These days Tina makes a really great strawberry rhubarb pie which is a much sweeter version of those raw stalks. I love a compote of rhubarb on fish, pork or chicken. We freeze a fair amount to keep us supplied into the fall.

 
At 5:27 AM, Anonymous bakerina said...

Ohhhh, rhubarb, indeed. I've been mad for it ever since I was little, maybe three or four years old, introduced to it by the compote my Swedish great-grandmother made in quantity. Somewhere between a compote and a fruit soup, it was known in our family as Rhubarb & Strawberries. I couldn't get enough of it.

My great-grandmom died when I was 13, and that was the beginning of a long, long Rhubarb and Strawberry drought that lasted for about a dozen years, broken only after I bought a jar of rhubarb-strawberry jam at the Union Square Greenmarket. The first taste filled me with nostalgia and longing, and I vowed to figure out how to make it for myself. Fortunately, Rhubarb and Strawberries are dead easy to make -- basically, it's made just like your compote, with strawberries (a pint to a quart, depending on how strawberried you'd like this to taste) and the juice of a couple of lemons. Once I ran out of lemons, so I used two limes instead, and was enchanted with the result. Regardless of how I make it, most of it is just consumed in situ, but occasionally I exhibit enough patience to mix it into yogurt or ice cream.

As much as I love R&S, I do try to hold onto at least one or two market runs' worth of rhubarb & strawberries to turn into jam. Same basic ingredients, higher ratio of sugar. Sometimes I just cook everything together, but sometimes I like to use Christine Ferber's method (macerate fruit in sugar overnight, drain the syrup the next morning, cook the syrup, add the berries, cook to setting point, decant into jars and seal). This makes the fruit look like stained glass, suspended in a brilliant jelly. Either way, though, you can't go wrong.

Not gluten-free, but good enough to make me wonder if I can make it so: I once made a vanilla coffee cake with sugared rhubarb marbled through it. It was a bit dense, but still lovely. And I really love a steamed pudding of vanilla sponge + rhubarb compote, from a recipe I found via Nigella Lawson (who in turn got it from Antony Worrall Thompson, I think), known, evocatively, as Pig's Bum. :)

Wow. Shauna, this is *fun*. Thank you for waking me up so well. Local rhubarb is coming soon. This season marks my last dance with New York State rhubarb, and I plan to make the most of it. (Fortunately, I'm going somewhere where the growing seasons are not nearly so fleeting. You'd best believe I'll be taking full advantage of that.) ;)

 
At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made a huge batch of rhubarb muffins this weekend (G-F of course). We devoured two apiece before I froze the rest for later. Later being a snack this afternoon, for one.
Carol

 
At 5:39 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

our rhubarb grows all summer long too, but it's not quite ready yet. i like to make compotes, crisps & tarts, but this year i'd like to try some new things. i'll be checking back to see what everyone suggests.

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger Debbie said...

I love rhubarb! I make stewed rhubarb and rhubarb pie. Just straight rhubarb and no strawberries because they aren't in season with each other here. Now that you mention it, I should plant some.

 
At 5:43 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Last week, my sister and I made some rhubarb sauce--rhubarb, a few strawberries from the freezer, sugar, and water--and ate it on vanilla ice cream. Then, later, on pancakes. Yum.

 
At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

I made a rhubarb/strawberry crumble last year after going strawberry picking, but I was the only one in my family who would eat it. How much sugar do you need for a stalk of rhubarb to keep it sweet? Is there any way of getting around lots of sugar?

Given the long discussions about eating local, where to put food dollars, etc., here is a wonderful New York Times article about local farming: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/opinion/11barber.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger rachel d said...

I made a apple rhubarb crisp last week.

I used your recipe for gf crisp topping.

 
At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love rhubarb ... I used to eat it exactly the way the chef did when I was a child! Now I have to find some and make that compote...it looks wonderful!

Jen

 
At 6:05 AM, Blogger Sue-Ann said...

just stew it with brown sugar and eat it cold from the fridge with vanilla icecream. We picked loads of it on Sunday from our allotment and my friend Sarah was so envious of the big pot I had slowly stewing on the stove that I poured half of it into a glass jar and gave it to her!

 
At 6:07 AM, Blogger Rachael said...

Rhubarb is the ";">Rock Star ingredient"
of 2008!!!!

LOL.

Beautiful as always.

Mwoah,
R.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Kitchen Vixen said...

My grandmother always made a strawberry rubarb pie thickened with tapioca pearls. It was my favorite thing and I still ask for it. I'll be trying my hand at it as soon as rhubarb turns up in my farmer's market...

 
At 7:06 AM, Blogger AmyT said...

Hi Shauna,

Great work! I mentioned you in yesterday's post at
http://www.diabetesmine.com/2008/05/suddenly-celiac.html

Best,
AmyT

www.diabetesmine.com

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Bonnie said...

Oh, we have rhubarb here that takes over the garden patch. So far I've made a couple of rhubarb-strawberry crisps and a rhubarb pie. I'm not a huge fan of orange zest, but I find a fine rasp of tangerine zest just makes it sooo much better! However, my most favourite thing to eat, morning, noon and night if I had my way, is raspberry-rhubarb pie (there is a pie shop in West Vancouver that makes a killer one!). My goal this year is to perfect my own. I'm babying my raspberry patch, just waiting. And if the first few attempts don't turn out perfect, it will just give me an excuse to eat them and start over!
As a kid I would pull rhubarb from my grandma's garden and simply dunk it in a bowl of sugar and take a bite. Can't imagine doing that now, but I just may try for old time's sake!
I can't wait for other readers' ideas!

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger Jeanne said...

Rhubarb crumble, of course :-)

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Julia said...

i totally know how you feel! i always felt the same way about rhubarb until last year when i first tried some. we actually have some growing in our backyard (a gift from previous tenants i suppose) and i just made a delicious galette on sunday. i'm planning some crumbles and possibly jam for later in the summer (and definitely this compote!).

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Tassiegal said...

Rhubarb Cordial!
The 19th of Feb entry for my blog has my reciepe that I made from my rubarb patch (which is in its first year).

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Heather S. said...

I have only ever eaten it raw, dipped in sugar. I grew up in Wyoming and it grew beautifully there as long as it was watered, so we always had a huge "thing" of it out back.

Just thinking about it is making my salivary glands ache. Rhubarb has such an energizing flavor. Some fruity flavors are comforting, but rhubarb is a 'wake up' food.

Love it, love it. Yes, I do.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Erica the Ninja said...

My favorite dessert I ever made was a coconut tapioca pudding topped with rhubarb compote and fresh strawberries. I have dreams about it. Really.

 
At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband's favorite birthday pie is rhubarb, which I make in a bit of custard with nutmeg. He likes pretty much anything rhubarb: pie, crisp, bread, cake, sauce... Unfortunately for him I don't fix rhubarb often, because it requires so much sugar to taste any good.

I did just make rhubarb sauce for dessert this weekend, to be topped with crunchy granola. I think my sauce is much like your compote. I cooked the chunks with sweetener, a bit of water, tapioca, and nutmeg. I would have added butter, except it was intended for a dairy-free friend. I used some leftover sauce in a strawberry smoothie - very tasty, and the combination tasted like I had included bananas, which I hadn't. I've even used raw rhubarb in smoothies, with plenty of sweet fruit like bananas to cut down on the need for sugar.

I've been experimenting with sweetening rhubarb with powdered whole leaf stevia, an amazingly sweet herb that contains no sugar, which is actually good for blood sugar levels! I like to use a combination of stevia and maple syrup or honey. (For those who are interested: clear liquid stevia and white powdered stevia are sweet without sugar, but don't have the full health benefits of whole leaf extract and powder, which are dark green.)

Kris

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger kim said...

Shauna -- thanks for this. I love rhubarb and am trying mightily to grow my own (although my exuberant dog keeps walking on the new plant).

You might also like it raw, sliced thinly on the mandoline, and drizzled with honey. Leave it to sit for an hour or two, then serve it with vanilla ice cream. Yum. Helen Rennie put a similar recipe on our site with a secret ingredient: Rosemary!

[http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Contributors/Helen+Rennie/Rhubarb+Compote]

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger shana70 said...

trying to post this again - sorry if it goes up twice - have never posted before!

I grew up with rhubarb in our yard as well my mom made this cake often and always gets requests to bring it to community events/potlucks etc.

I bet you could easily adapt it to be gluten free by playing with the flours - I'm still playing around trying to find a good GF flour blend - your list of flours and their qualities has been VERY helpful.

My mom didn't know where the name came from - but a quick search on the internet says "The name of this cake is derived from the buttery brown sugar topping that sinks into the cake as it bakes and forms a crusty layer reminiscent of a lunar landscape!" The recipe was printed in Canadian Living Magazine in the early 1980's.

Lunar Rhubarb Cake

Batter:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups rhubarb, chopped, 2" pieces
1 tbsp cornstarch to toss the rhubarb in

Topping:
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Batter: Cream butter and sugar until smooth and creamy; beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. (3 dry and 2 liquid) Toss rhubarb with cornstarch and gently mix into batter (this keeps it from sinking in the pan). Place in greased 9" x 13" pan.

Topping:
Blend ingredients and sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cake should be browned, risen and coming away from the sides of the pan. Enjoy!

 
At 8:29 AM, Anonymous teri said...

rhubarb is just starting to poke up here in montreal and i'm eagerly awaiting more. a friend of mine passed on this recipe for rhubarb schnapps (http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.com/2006/06/nectar-of-gods.html), which i can't wait to try.

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger Moj said...

Rhubarb cake growing up. It was actually my first cooking disaster! I was about 12 and tried to suprise my mom while she was at work...picked the rhubarb from our yard, followed her recipe, and ended up with a cake pan full of sticky mush. It turned out I used powdered sugar instead of flour! Oops. :)

 
At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My great grandmother used to make a spring tonic out of rhubarb and strawberries. I guess the rhubarb is full of vitamin C.

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhubarb sorbet! Very refreshing.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Vittoria said...

I love rhubarb in anything! I've made rhubarb-apple crisp, my mom adapted a carrot cake to use rhubarb, I've made rhubarb newtons, I could go on and one. Anywhere I can fit it in as long as the season lasts!

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I just finished reading through your archives, and I found myself sighing contentedly, like I do at the end of a really good book.

As a kid, we had a rhubarb patch much like the Chef's. I ate stalks of rhubarb raw, dipped in a tiny Tupperware bowl of sugar until my tongue felt like it had been rubbed with lye. My mom made rhubarb sauce much like Molly's rhubarb compote, minus the lemons and sometimes adding strawberries, and we spooned it over meringues, ice cream, pancakes, toast, or ate it plain.

I bought a pound of rhubarb at the farmer's market this week, and I plan to make the rhubarb crisp recipe on Epicurious, with the addition of California strawberries from Trader Joe's (I just couldn't wait any longer!). Next week I'm planning on buying enough for jam and maybe some compote.

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger kerrie said...

rhubarb/strawberry jam is a yummy mix! i also love it in a gf coffee cake ;)

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger rebelgirl7 said...

Stewed Rhubarb and custard. Delicious.
GF Custard is easy:
1-1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tsp brown sugar
1-1/2 cups of milk
2 egg yolks
1-2 tsp butter

Mix cornstarch and sugar in pot, add enough milk to mix to a smooth paste then add yolks and mix well. Add rest of milk, gradually bing to a boil on low heat stirring constantly. If too thick add a little milk.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

Shauna + Rhubarb = BFF

I don't have any special recipes for rhubarb, but thought I'd ask here because the Chef might know. Aren't the leaves of rhubarb poisonous? The red root part is edible, but from what I've heard, the green leaves are toxic. Is this true?

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Porkchop said...

Rhubarb cormeal cake, courtesy of Nigella Lawson. Crumbly, impossibly moist, delicious.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger ayahthetiger said...

my top three ways to eat this stuff:

- sour cream rhubarb pie
- rhubarb crumble
- raw (dipped in sugar)

such tasty treats!

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous alane said...

I always have such grand plans for my rhubarb. The fact is they never come to fruition because I eat it out of the fridge, spoonful here and three spoonfuls there.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Delilah said...

amusingly, I received ONE stalk of rhubarb in my CSA box last week. As of this week I will have a grand total of TWO stalks, I suppose enough to mix up with strawberries for a small crumble. or, maybe that compote. sounds yummy.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Avery Yale Kamila said...

Rhubarb is one of my absolute favorites! Like the Chef, we had a wild patch growing off the back porch. I remember eating it dipped in sugar too. But my favorite remains my grandmother's rhubarb jam.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger sure loves cake said...

We just made a rhubarb compote yesterday. Sort of winged it though, just cooked the rhubarb with some sugar and a bit of water. It's sooo good, but next time - lemon and butter will be involved!

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger teal! said...

I like rhubarb in all the traditional ways, but I also like it in some slightly unusual ones -

Rhubarb compote: thinly sliced rhubarb, orange zest, white wine, honey, rosemary, a little salt, agave or sugar, candied ginger, orange blossom water - refrigerate over night, stirring occasionally - yum! (this also makes a fantastic sorbet when pureed, passed through a sieve and mixed with egg whites beaten to a stiff peak)

Rhubarb jam: rhubarb, an apple, honey, sugar, orange zest, rosemary, white pepper, candied ginger, orange blossom water (i usually end up tossing some pectin in at the end, as I can't get it to set otherwise, though the original recipe doesn't call for pectin).

mmmm. i love rhubarb.

Does anyone use it savory-style?

 
At 4:45 PM, OpenID laughingatchaos said...

Our rhubarb patch (Roger the Wonder Shrub) is trying to take over the world. Every year he gets in cahoots with the roma tomatoes on the other side of the yard and they plot and plan. Usually the rhubarb wins. I get my revenge against the rhubarb by making jelly in large amounts. My husband loves crisps/crumbles/slumps. I do too, but I've recently gone gluten free, so that's out. When the Chef comes out with some good rhubarb recipes, please share. We're drowning in it over here. ;)

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger milhan said...

I've never eaten rhubarb...looks like I've missed something good! I grew up in an apartment in Brooklyn NY, we didn't have patches of anything growing :D

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet rhubarb would be fantastic in poultry stuffing (gluten-free or otherwise), with plenty of celery and onion and sage and thyme and parsley and....

Kris

 
At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Linda said...

Thank you for this! I've always had the same same suspicions about rhubarb, without ever having actually tasted it. Now after that glowing write-up, I can hardly wait to try it.

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Jean said...

I recently made strawberry-rhubarb crunch, substituting the small amount of flour called for with a GF mix, and the oatmeal with sliced almonds. I served it with a scoop of ice cream and everyone at our dinner loved it - and none of them knew it was gluten free!
Jean

 
At 8:47 PM, Anonymous kimberly said...

Like southern California, the Texas Gulf coast is a rhubarb-free zone, so I have no rhubarb memories from childhood. I first tasted rhubarb in New England; one of the few good desserts my college refectory produced was a fine strawberry rhubarb pie.

I have a pound of gorgeous ruby red rhubarb from the U-district market in my refrigerator. Last night I baked a pound cake (James Villas' recipe from a recent Saveur), and tonight I'll be cooking up a rhubarb compote similar to Molly's to top the pound cake. Mmmmmm...

 
At 9:29 PM, Anonymous snowdancer said...

I gave up the lattice crust several years ago because I felt it would justify having just "one more thin slice" of Rhubarb Cream Pie. (I will thin slice this right to death!)It's right out of the red and white Betty Crocker cookbook...Combine 1.5 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup (gluten free flour) and 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg. Beat into 3 slightly beaten eggs. Add 4 cups 1 inch slices of rhubard (about 1 lb.) (For custard grease the dishes and set in a pan of water.) or follow the receipe as written and line a 9 in pie plate with pastry; fill. Dot with 2 T butter or margarine. Top with lattice crust; flute the edge. Bake in hot oven (400degrees) for 50-60 minutes.

 
At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Joanne said...

I am GF and a bit on the recipe dependent side. Cooking Light May '08 has highlighted rhubarb as the vegetable of the month. I would like to try Rhubarb-Lentil Soup with Creme Fraiche.(page 182)It is more of a savory dish.

Shauna, I recieved your book at Christmas and loved it! I love your blog too.

 
At 6:56 AM, Blogger GardeningJo said...

I love your blog & way of telling stories! I've added you to my 'Blogs of Interest' links on my own! And Congrats on the book! All the Best, Jo

ps~ I must confess I've never had Rhubarb, but I'm willing to try it now!

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger rebelgirl7 said...

This is a response to Alison The Meep............I was told that the green leaves of Rhubarb are poisonous too. Where I grew up, almost every yard had Rhubarb growing in it.

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger GardeningJo said...

I forgot to mention that I have been fighting chronic illnesses and pain for 15 years or so ~ a 'compromised' or deficient' immune system they say, more specically now they're going with 'psoriatic arthritis' and 'ankalosing spondilitis' (at one time they said lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome - fybromyalgia has also been mentioned) so I too have had to work around troubles with food! I have a high intolerance for too much sodium and have been struggling to eat food that's not so processed and with too many preservatives! I've also had migranes since I was young, so there's always been foods I've had to avoid!

I'm requesting your book from our library (I always do that 1st before buying books now - we're trying to save $!) because I'm curious to see how some of what works for you may work for me as well!

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Athena said...

We had a small patch in my yard when I was a kid in Wisconsin. We used to have contests to see who could go the longest eating it raw without making a face. I still love to just eat it raw.

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger peasantwench said...

Allison the Meep: yes, the leaves are mildly poisonous, but all my research says that you can compost them with no problems.

In my part of Canada (you know, the part where will still have a week before we're frost-free for sure), rhubarb grows really well. As in, impossible to kill. Last year, in late May, my boyfriend took 15 pounds of stalks and turned them into 30 bottles of rhubarb wine. (And then we had another crop at least that large later in the summer too...) Thanks for all the ideas of what to do with it this year! Normally I just make crisp, and really, there is only so much crisp anyone can possibly eat.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

Ah! Rhubarb! I wrote about my rhubarb crunch recipe search recently here:
http://tikistips.blogspot.com/2008/05/keep-it-simple.html

A few years ago, I made some delish raspberry-rhubarb jam. So tasty, just tart enough.

The rhubarb crunch recipe I made would easily adapt to gluten-free...

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Gluten free Kay said...

My easiest recipe (before going gf) was to take a can of cherry pie filling, add a cup or two of cut fresh rhubarb, and top with any streusel, then bake. Easy. Delicious.

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger Claire said...

Rhubard Crumble!

The first time I made it was in 5th grade for my country report on Canada....

Apparently it's the national dish.

At least my nine year old self thought so.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore rhubarb. Perhaps my favorite thing my grandmother ever made was rhubarb crisp. I distinctly remember eating half of an entire bowl, willing to risk the consequences as it was so damn good. Now she has lost her mind, just a teensy bit, and says she never made any such thing lol.

Over the years I have planted many rhubarb plants and stole quite a few stalks from "untended" plants. *Cough* Well, I like to think I was doing the world a service, enjoying the bounty nature provided.

My personal favorite are american-ized scones with straight rhubarb in them. Since rhubarb freezes so well it is a delight in the winter when you want the taste of spring. It is seriously yummy in a tart with strawberries and white chocolate custard. I have made lovely jam with rhubarb alone or in combination of raspberry or mango. I can't wait to try some of the ideas mentioned in the other comments.

Not sure why but the thought of fresh salmon and something of a savory/mildly sweet fruity rhubarb salsa sounds like good thing to play around with. Hmm...

Btw, it is a member of the buckwheat family so if you are allergic to buckwheat it might behoove you to take care with rhubarb.

 
At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love strawberry rhubarb jam! Sweet and tangy and delicious!

 
At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Sho said...

Rhubarb sounds as if it would be delightful in sorbet! The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Rhubarb sorbet!

I have never had rhubarb. Today, I showed it to my kids while we were at the farmers market. I had no idea until reading your post and some of your comments that it could be eaten raw. Therefore, I also like the idea of peanut butter on rhubarb (like peanut butter on celery.)

Shoshannah

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger Estaire said...

An easy and delish recipe:

For 9 x 13" pan. Spread sliced rhubarb into the prepared pan until you can't see the bottom anymore. Sprinkle one large package of strawberry gelatin over top. Add 1 c white sugar, sprinkling over top. Then sprinkle on top 1 package of white or yellow cake mix. Pour 1 cup water over top evenly. You will have some powder from the cake mix still visible. Bake at 375 F for 20-30 mins until bubbly and the topping has browned slightly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipping cream or low-fat dessert topping. Yum!

So glad I found your blog. My sis is celiac so I'm always looking for good recipes for her.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger LaurieA-B said...

You know how in books, someone like Cuffy or Hannah Gruen or Marilla is always taking a cake out of the oven just when the kids appear?

That's how I feel when I get home after school and Matthew and Iris have made rhubarb crumble. I had some, warm, with whipped cream, yesterday afternoon, and just finished off the last bit, cold, this morning.

It's the best after-school snack ever.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger momcan'tdance said...

Oh man. Rhubarb! It's a wonderful childhood memory that needs to be revived for me.

Several years ago, I was given a rhubarb transplant from someone who was probably deep in the battle of rhubarb invasion. Sadly, I stuck it in a container on my deck, and must have wounded it's pride, because it never would get beyond spindly little pencil-necked stalks. Certainly not big enough to do anything useful with! Your post has encouraged me to try again! I'm on a rhubarb hunt!

Fussy grandmother's food here I come!

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Emiline said...

I thought the same thing about rhubarb; I just didn't "get" it.
I sooo do now.

I just made Strawberry-Lemonade Rhubarb Tartelettes. Amazing!

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first met rhubarb about a year ago, and have only ever used it in savory dishes (I'm not much of a baker). Pork chops with a sauce made of dried cherries, rhubarb, and some onions is delicious. (I think this came from an Everyday Food recipe - surprisingly good).

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger alexae said...

My favorite Pie! Rhubarb-apple.

I find Rhubarb-Strawberry to be too sweet and not enough rhubarb taste so when preparing the fruit I use 3 parts rhubarb with one part thinly sliced apple, tossed with sugar and cinnamon. The apple provides enough pectin to avoid using any tapioca or other thickeners, eases the tartness of the rhubarb but not so much that you can't taste it. mmm

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger rohit pagey said...

hey thts a wonderfull blog..thoroughly enjoyed it...

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger N A said...

One of the early Best of Bridge books has a wonderful recipe for a rhubarb cake that is served warm from the oven. If you could figure out a GF version, I'd love to see it. Thank you.
ANNS

 

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