Culinary Delights

Rhubarb: Rite of Summer

Hello gorgeous red and green stalks of rhubarb deliciousness.  Welcome.

You have left the safety of the garden and are about to be diced.

Some of you will be frozen (gasp!) while others will grace a few baked goods and be devoured by my family.

(Double gasp!)

I must be feeling wicked.  (On a Sunday?)

I am actually feeling happy.  The harvesting of rhubarb signifies summer in an earthly, reminiscent way.

Temperatures in the nineties.  Kids running through the sprinkler.  The smell of freshly cut rhubarb.

Childhood.  Summer.  I love you.

I love memories of childhood, of summer, and of simple pleasures.

So, I harvested rhubarb from my garden on Sunday and I set to work dicing.

Can you smell the fresh, tart, yummy-ness of this picture?  I hope so.

First, I made a crumb cake, following the guidance of a recipe I sought out on Smitten Kitchen.  There were three separate components:  the crumb, the rhubarb filling, and the cake.  It took signifcantly longer than would normally be humanly necessary because I was home with my two children while my husband was out fishing.  Getting interrupted by a two-year old and four-year old three thousand times does not make for quick progress in the kitchen.  I somehow managed with all of our head still intact.

Secondly, I made rhubarb bread.  This was not as time-consuming as the crumb cake because there is only the simple mixing of ingredients and pouring into a pan.  As my son would say:  ‘Easy.  Peasy.  Lemon Squeasy.’  The interruptions were less because I may have simply given up parenting.  I may have stopped listening and just kept nodding and saying yes.  ‘May’ is the key word in the previous sentence.  Fellow parents, you know exactly what I am speaking of.

Lastly, I was ready to delve into the strawberry-rhubarb pie.  I’ve only made about three pies in my life and so this is one area where I am always a bit cautious.  I do not (and did not) count on it turning out.  I trusted good, ol’ Smitten Kitchen for the pie filling portion and used my own ridiculously easy pie crust recipe (courtesy of my friend Beth).   There was not a strawberry in sight, let alone the pound required to join the rhubarb in the pie.  So, I strapped in the rascals and we headed to the local grocer to get the berries.  With a bit more of the smile-and- wave technique pulled on my family, the pie made it into the oven by evening time. *wipes brow*

A recap of the three rhubarb treats

The crumb cake was my favorite but also had the longest prep time.  The rhubarb bread was a hit with my husband, over the crumb cake.  He is all for the cake and not the crumb, hence the reason the rhubarb bread suited him.  The pie, while on the juicy side (picture me scooping out rhubarb and strawberry juice once the first piece was cut), tasted pretty damn good.  Compliments from husband are always a big deal and the pie received them multiple times. *cue the alleluia music*

Tired from so much baking (Three things in one day?  From the girl who used to pour herself cold cereal for dinner and would not have dreamed of baking any of the above?) I did not snap photos of all of the rhubarb delights.  But I did get some good candid shots of the crumb cake.

Just in case your mouth is not watering yet…

Hello Gorgeous.

The upside to baking three goodies in one day is that there were actually sweets in the house for days, rather than a single twenty-four hour period.  We were even able to share with loved ones who don’t live with us!  The rhubarb bread was gone by Tuesday.  The last piece of pie was eaten Wednesday.  The last and final piece of crumb cake was stashed away until Thursday, secretly saved for the woman who spent all day Sunday romancing the rhubarb.

If you would like to try the rhubarb bread, the following recipe is courtesy of 201 MUFFINS by Gregg R. Gillespie.

RHUBARB BREAD

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda, rhubarb, walnuts, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar until smooth before beating in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean and the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan.

Bring on the festivities of summer!

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4 thoughts on “Rhubarb: Rite of Summer

  1. Ang, you are awesome!
    I froze16 quarts of pie plant after making4 cups into bars.
    Help from hubby was much appreciated.

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