Rhubarb Festival

May 17, 2012

Ingredients for Cafe Flora’s Chef Nat and his rhubarb cooking demonstration at the Columbia City Farmers Market

Seattle’s Columbia City Farmers Market held a Rhubarb Festival yesterday afternoon, and I headed down there on the Light Rail to check it out.  Part of the festivities included a cooking demonstration by Chef Nat of Cafe Flora, and he made a rhubarb compote served as an accompaniment to nettle ravioli with cashew cream sauce and sautéed vegetables.  He also made Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble and a cordial called Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz.  After his cooking demonstration, we got to sample all the recipes — I loved them all.

Jar of Rosemary-Rhubarb Chutney

There was also a Sweet vs. Savory Rhubarb Contest, and I entered a jar of Rosemary-Rhubarb Chutney using the recipe from one of my earliest blog posts.  (You can link back to it here.)  My entry won the Savory Division!  (I was awarded a subscription to Edible Seattle Magazine and a $15 farmers market gift certificate.)  Other contestants made rhubarb ceviche, rhubarb shortcake, rhubarb ice cream, tarts and quiche, pies, cakes, chutneys and compotes, etc.  The winner of the Sweet Division made rhubarb pop tarts, and the Best of Show was a rhubarb cardamom cake.  The staff at the Columbia City Farmers Market said that the winning recipes would be posted to their Facebook page.

Here are some photos from my day at the Columbia City Farmers Market:

The bell that opens the market at 3:00 p.m.

Flower vendor

This is a well-attended neighborhood market, one of several in Seattle.


Another shopper

Mushrooms for sale

Vendor arranging produce

Another shopper

Potatoes for sale

Cooking demo: rhubarb compote with homemade nettle ravioli, cashew cream sauce and sautéed vegetables

Rhubarb Contest entries

Contest judges Leslie Kelly (food writer) and Jill Lightner of Edible Seattle Magazine

Judge’s taste test

Another look at the contest table

Columbia City Farmers Market

My rhubarb patch

My rhubarb patch

I have known rhubarb for over five decades, but I’ve just now learned that the marriage of rhubarb and rosemary is a wonderful thing. 

I tried the Rhubarb Chutney recipe that Lynne shared in her “Comment” to my April 14th post.  I had to make a special trip to the grocery store for a shallot, which I had never before used in cooking.  And then when I was home again assembling the ingredients for the chutney, I realized that I was also missing orange marmalade.  I did have a few oranges on hand, so I considered taking the time to first cook up a batch of homemade marmalade.  I looked on the Internet for recipes.  Nothing was quite right.  One recipe required overnight soaking of the orange slices.  Another made a huge batch. 

So I contemplated the contents of my pantry.  What if I substituted dried mangoes for the orange marmalade? 

I proceeded to make the chutney as follows:  In a medium saucepan, I sauteed the shallot in a small amount of butter.  Then I added about 2 cups of cut rhubarb.  Using my kitchen shears, I cut the dried mango into slivers, about 1/3 cup, and I tossed them into the pot.  Then I added 1 to 2 Tbsp maple syrup, salt, and minced fresh rosemary.  I cooked the mixture until everything softened.

I had always believed that rhubarb required a lot of sugar to offset the tartness, but this recipe proved me wrong.  It tasted heavenly.  Thanks, Lynne!