Thursday, April 22, 2010


Almost two weeks later, and I still think this is one of the prettiest plants I've ever seen.

On my last day at the farm, Carden walked up to the house with a bushel basket full of what looked, at first glance, to be broccoli. Except the "heads" were red. And, well, Courtney already told me Carden was out cutting rhubarb.

Yep, that's rhubarb you see there, and that lovely, colorful broccoli looking part is the seed head. You can't eat it, it's poisonous. You also can't eat the leaves. Nor can you eat the stalk to which the seed head is attached. But you CAN eat the stalk that ends up becoming the leaf.

Just cut the leaves off, chop the remaining part, and voila. Rhubarb. But what on earth do you DO with it? The obvious choice (to some folks) is pie. Either rhubarb pie or strawberry-rhubarb pie. In fact, most of the options for rhubarb involve lots of sugar, as this is a very tart vegetable.

Toting home about two pounds of the chopped rhubarb, I had 8 cups to work with. Enough for a few different things. So, I made muffins and pie, both with recipes from Simply In Season. I say the muffins were quite good, while Derek gave them the stinky cheese face. Not a fan of rhubarb, that one.

On with the recipes!

Rhubarb Pie

2 eggs
Separate yolks from the egg whites. Beat egg whites into stiff peaks. Beat egg yolks separately. (there is an alternative for this below, and how I made the pie)

1 cup sugar
3 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
Mix in with egg yolks.

3 cups chopped rhubarb
Add to egg mixture. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

9-inch pastry shell, unbaked (c'mon, make your own!)
Pour mixture into shell and bake in oven heated to 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until set.

Filling variation: Instead of separating the egg whites and yolks, add the whole eggs to the flour, sugar and salt. Flavor with 1 tsp vanilla and/or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or the grated rind of one orange. Mix well. Fold in rhubarb and pour into pie shell.

Crumb topping variation (HIGHLY recommended and pictured above):
combine 1/2 cup flour or rolled oats with 1/4 cup sugar or brown sugar. Cut in 2 TBSP butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture, then bake as above.

Rhubarb Muffins
1.5 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can use all whole wheat if you want)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Combine thoroughly

1 cup buttermilk, sour milk or plain yogurt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp vanilla
In a separate bowl, mix well. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened.

1.5 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup nuts (toasted and chopped; optional)
Stir in. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.

1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP melted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp flour
Combine and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake in oven heated to 375, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

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