Roasted Rhubarb

June 4, 2015

Oven-roasted rhubarb

Oven-roasted rhubarb

I don’t know why it has never occurred to me to make roasted rhubarb instead of sauce on the stove top.  I like the richer flavors of other oven-roasted vegetables, like potatoes, yams, squash, kale, etc.  So after seeing this method acclaimed in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque, I decided to give roasting a try.

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I am now a rhubarb roasting convert.  Roasting is super simple — just add a light dusting of sugar to the rhubarb diced in a bowl, pour the bits in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake in a 325-degree oven until soft.

Making rhubarb sauce on the stove top takes a bit more attention.  I always added a little water to get the sauce started, which diluted the flavor just a tad and made the sauce a bit more watery.  And I had to be on hand to stir it as it cooked.  Roasting in the oven is easier and releases just enough juice to make a nice sauce.

Rhubarb sauce over cheese cake

Rhubarb sauce over cheese cake

If you love rhubarb, give roasting a try.

 

 

Rhubarb Polenta Cake

April 30, 2015

Rhubarb Polenta Cake

Rhubarb Polenta Cake

I am always on the lookout for good rhubarb recipes, and I found this one in the March/April 2015 issue of Edible Seattle magazine.  It is “an adaptation of a traditional Italian torta di polenta.”  It calls for almond flour, which I discovered is a splurge at the grocery store.  I discovered too late that I did not have an orange to juice or zest, so I substituted lemon, which worked just fine I thought.  This is a very tasty cake.

Rhubarb from my garden

Rhubarb from my garden

About an hour before you want to make the cake, put 2 cups of chopped rhubarb in a small bowl and sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Let this rest until the sugar dissolves.

Rhubarb sprinkled with sugar

Rhubarb sprinkled with sugar

Rhubarb Polenta Cake from Edible Seattle

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 c almond flour
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
juice of half an orange
zest of two oranges
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp polenta or grits
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
Approximately 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. (Use parchment paper and/or a springform pan to make it easier to remove the cake.

Beat the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the almond flour, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  With a large spoon, fold in the vanilla, orange juice and zest.  Add polenta, baking powder, cardamom and salt, still folding gently.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.  Drain the rhubarb and press into the batter.  Scatter the almonds over the top.  Bake 50 – 60 minutes until done.  Remove from oven and let sit 5 – 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Rhubarb and almond studded batter

Rhubarb and almond studded batter

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

 

 

“In the extended family of vegetables, rhubarb is the eccentric aunt with sunglasses and a large beach hat.”
— Eve O. Schaub, No Sugar

My sister-in-law's strawberry rhubarb pie.  (Thanks, Cynthia.)

My sister-in-law’s strawberry rhubarb pie. (Thanks, Cynthia.)

” . . . every year we look forward to the first rhubarb pie of the season the way others look for the first robin sighting or the first blooming lilacs.  It tells us that spring really has come at last.”
— Eve O. Schaub, No Sugar

My first rhubarb picking of the year

My first rhubarb picking of the year

Freshly picked rhubarb from my garden

Freshly picked rhubarb from my garden

 

 

 

Crumble Topping

May 6, 2014

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble

I’ve been feeling short of time again these days now that I’ve returned to work after a three-week leave.  I have piles of books to enjoy — a day reading is one of my favorite pleasures.  And I’ve been enjoying all the blooms and blossoms that May brings.  There’s always the lawn and yardwork to tend to, and the house to keep up.  I’m not much of a gardener, but this year I planted beets and kale.

My rhubarb continues to thrive, and I’ve already made Rhubarb Crumble several times this spring.  My go-to recipe is this simple Crumble Topping featured on the Improvised Life blog.  It makes enough topping for a 9-inch round pan of whatever fruit you need to use up.  I put the fruit, sweetened, spiced, and thickened with a couple of tablespoons of flour in the bottom of a buttered pan.  Then sprinkle this recipe on top.  It’s easy and doesn’t make such a huge pan of dessert, which is perfect for the two of us.

Crumble Topping

1/2 c sliced almonds
1/2 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter

Rhubarb from my garden

Rhubarb from my garden

Rhubarb crumble

Rhubarb crumble

 

 

Delft plate with windmills

Delft plate with windmills

"In the Month of July" showing a windmill on a polder waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel, Rijksmuseum collection

“In the Month of July” showing a windmill on a polder waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel, Rijksmuseum collection

Think of Holland and you think of windmills and the distinctive blue and white of Delft pottery.  We saw both by using Amsterdam as a base for daytrips to the town of Delft and to Zaanse Schans.

There are over 1150 working windmills in the Netherlands.  Zaanse Schans, a short bus ride (bus 391) from Amsterdam, is a “living history” destination with the opportunity for a close-up look at several old windmills.

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

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By covering the blades with canvas, the windmill catches more wind.

By covering the blades with canvas, the windmill catches more wind.

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We took the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Delft.  The train, filled with commuters going to the Hague, was a smooth, quiet ride.  We saw a few fields of yellow daffodils from the train windows.

The central train station in Amsterdam

The central train station in Amsterdam

Commuters reading the newspaper on the train

Commuters reading the newspaper on the train

Fields of yellow daffodils

Fields of yellow daffodils

Audrey and I both loved Delft.  On the day we visited, there was a general market in the main square, an outdoor flower market, and a flea market.  Our main activities there were strolling, looking, and nibbling.

"The Little Street" by Johannes Vermeer showing a street in Delft, from the Rijksmuseum collection

“The Little Street” by Johannes Vermeer showing a street in Delft, from the Rijksmuseum collection

 

Shop selling Delftware

Shop selling Delftware

Painter at one shop demonstrating the art of Delft painting

Craftsman at one shop demonstrating the art of Delft painting

Detailed painting

Detailed painting

Delftware with tulips

Delftware with tulips

At the Delft flower market

At the Delft flower market

Delft flower market

Delft flower market

So many cheese shops, Delft and everywhere in Holland

So many cheese shops, Delft and everywhere in Holland

Rhubarb for sale at a green grocer in Delft

Rhubarb for sale at a green grocer in Delft

Old windows, Delft

Old windows, Delft

Stone surface in the market square, Delft

Stone surface in the market square, Delft

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer with kaleidoscope effect.  Vermeer was born in Delft.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer with kaleidoscope effect. Vermeer was born in Delft.

Another view from the train window on the ride back to Amsterdam

Another view from the train window on the ride back to Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven . . .”
— Walt Whitman

Rose petals and blackberry pie

The running blackberries may one day adorn heaven, but this month they are taking over our yard.  I picked about 4 cups of fresh blackberries and decided to make a blackberry pie.  After finding a recipe on the internet, I thought this wasn’t quite enough fruit, so I added some diced rhubarb.  (My rhubarb is flourishing this summer, even better than it did this spring.  I can’t remember ever picking rhubarb this late into summer before.)  The resulting pie was a heavenly taste of pure summer.

Fresh picked berries from bushes in our yard

Mixing some diced rhubarb into the berry filling

From-scratch pie cooling on the kitchen counter

And an extra rhubarb pie, too

 

 

 

 

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.

Shopper

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

I look forward to the first fresh rhubarb pie each year.  Three years ago, when I first started this blog, I included my standard rhubarb pie recipe with one post.  (You can find it here.)  Yesterday I made the first-of-the-season rhubarb pie for our supper.  It was indeed the taste of Spring.

Rhubarb in my garden

Freshly picked rhubarb stalks

Tender, new rhubarb

After the top is cut off

Pie in progress -- awaiting top crust

First slices and crumbs

Served warm with vanilla ice cream

 

My rhubarb jungle

Looking for ways to use rhubarb

My garden is practically overrun with a prodigious amount of rhubarb.  I’ve already frozen what I can fit in the freezer.  I figured I needed to expand my horizons and look for new ways to use up this bounty — foods that didn’t pack as many calories as desserts or coffee cakes.

I browsed the internet for ideas and came up with two recipes — one for Rhubarb Salsa (http://shinycooking.com/foodbuzz-24-24-24-rhubarb-its-not-just-for-pie-anymore).  And one for Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices (http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/recipe-of-the-day-lentil-and-rhubarb-stew-with-indian-spices/).

Here’s the recipe for the Rhubarb Salsa:

2 c finely diced rhubarb
1/2 c each sweet red and sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, tops only, chopped (I used shallots instead)
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I didn’t have this, so I added a dash of Sriracha sauce instead)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Blanch rhubarb in a pot of boiling water  for 10 seconds.  Remove from heat and dump into a strainer.  Rinse under cold water.  Place the cooled rhubarb into a glass bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Salsa ingredients: diced rhubarb and diced sweet peppers

Lightly blanched rhubarb

Rhubarb salsa

The verdict?  This salsa is really good.  I love it with salty corn chips, but it would also go great with hamburgers or chicken burgers.  I’ll definitely make this again!

Rhubarb salsa with chips

And here is the recipe for Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices:

Combine the following in a saucepan, and then add enough water to cover by about 1 inch (I used some ham broth and water):
3-4 stalks rhubarb
1 c dry orange lentils
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 dried ancho, or other mild chili, optional (I omitted this)
salt

Cook at a steady simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.  Remove cloves and cardamom pods. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Sliced rhubarb for stew

In the saucepan: lentils, mustard seeds, two cloves, and four cardamom pods

Ginger and garlic

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices

The verdict?  I liked it, but my daughter thought it was too sour.  One of my sisters loves sauerkraut — I’ll have to make this stew the next time she visits.

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices

When I freeze rhubarb, I first slice it, wash it, and freeze it in a single layer on a flat surface. Then, once it’s frozen, I put the rhubarb in plastic bags.  Flash frozen like this, I can take out handfuls as I need them for baking because the rhubarb has not frozen together in a large clump.

Sliced rhubarb, ready for freezing

Watercolor sketch of rhubarb stalks