Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rhubarb Mania!

I've been working in the garden today and put down some weed blocker fabric around my rhubarb. I LOVE rhubarb and I've noticed that it is generally a northern dish... Most southerners (in my experience) are not familiar with it, or have not heard of it before. So, a little education: Rhubarb is a vegetable but is almost entirely eaten as dessert. You can make pies, bars, cakes, jams, sauces and more with it! It looks very similar to a celery stalk and grows in bunches with BIG leafy leaves (I mean BIG LEAFY leaves!). Leaves are poisonous so don't eat them, and you can actually make a natural bug killer with the leaves, which I have done before. It is very tart when eaten raw and most of the desserts call for lots of sugars or combine with sweet fruits for taste. I can eat it straight (but not with a straight face!), since I grew up on it (show-off!) and I have been making rhubarb pies since I was 10 or so. The stalks are red or green and there are slight taste differences, but it's ALL good!

If you can grow some in your area (they don't tolerate heat well), try it! Plant it once and they come back year after year, bigger and thicker than the year before. Be sure to plant it in a spot that gets 1/2 sun and 1/2 shade, that's what works for me, and be sure it is in a permanent location, since they are a struggle to dig up and move, which is what I did when we sold our old house and moved here. I dug up all 20 of my plants and brought 'em with me! 16 plants survived the move and this year they are growing like they are on steroids! ack! I think I'll have to take some to the farmer's market to sell what I cannot use. Too good to go to waste and Hubby doesn't really care for it (he's a chocolate freak) so I get to eat the whole pie (yum! but wreaks havoc on the old diet). They also freeze well, and I like to freeze in 4-cup sizes, since that's what most rhubarb pie recipes call for.

Anyway, here's a couple of recipes that are reallllllllllly good!! Take my word for it-- YUM!!!

RHUBARB-BLUEBERRY PIE

-3 eggs
-2 2/3 tbsp milk
-2 c. sugar
-2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 tbsp cinnamon (you can use less if you want, I really like cinnamon and always add lots more than the recipe calls for)
- 4 c. cut rhubarb (chopped in 1/2 inch pieces)
-1/2 c. blueberries
-2 unbaked deep dish pie crusts (I used to make my own, but with 3 little ones....I buy frozen crusts now)

Beat 3 eggs and milk. Mix in sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in rhubarb and blueberries. Pour into 1 pie crust. Take 2nd pie crust and remove from pan and place on top of filled pie, flute edges to seal. For a flaky crust, sprinkle a little milk on top and spread with your fingers to cover surface of pie, then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Cut a slit in the top to vent. Bake 50 to 60 minutes in a 400* oven.


RHUBARB DREAM BARS

Crust: -1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2/3 c. powdered sugar
- 3/4 c. softened butter

Mix all 3 ingredients and press into bottom of 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

Filling: -4 eggs
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
-3 c. rhubarb, chopped (for a variation, you can substitute 1 cup of rhubarb for 1 cup of chopped strawberries)
- 1 tsp cinnamon

While crust is baking, mix together all ingredients. After crust is done, pour filling onto crust (while hot) and spread lightly to make sure filling is even. Bake 35 minutes.

Try these and let me know how you like them!! I'll post other recipes from time to time. Enjoy!

8 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Hey thanks for the pie recipie! I am going to make that when the work week is over, YUMMY!

Elsie Button said...

Hi there, thanks for your comment. i've linked you too. thanks for the rhubarb tips - i will pass them on to my mum who LOVES rhubarb. I'm not a big fan of it, am a chocolate person myself! in fact got an amazing recipe for banana and chocolate bread if you're interested? bimin eck, might have to go off and make it now, my mouth is watering!

Lindystar said...

I just about fell over when I read this. I was at my mom's yesterday and she gave me a BAG full of rhubarb and I took it home thinking oh shit what am I going to do with this stuff.

Lo and behold I came here cuz I was bored and what do I see.

How cool is that ??? I mean really!!

jenny said...

Dj-- I'm sure you'll like the pie!! Let me know if you want to try other rhubarb recipes.. I've got quite a collection!

E.B.-- ohh! Yum! Banana and chocolate bread. I dont think I've ever had that before. I bet Hubby will like it! Please, I'd love to have the recipe! Thanks!

L- What can I say?? I'm a mind-reader! Enjoy!! Try the bars... I just about ate the whole pan the first time I made it! They're that good!!

lady macleod said...

"they don't tolerate heat well)"

So I best not be putting a pot on the terrace for rhubarb eh?

Very informative and enjoyable post. I can't wait to dazzle someone with my knowledge of rhubarb!

Krissie said...

Mania alright!
That's all, Weird Rhubarb Cat Lady!
(Oh yeah, keep bringing the weird out and I'll keep adding words to your title!) ;)

The Critic said...

They're awesome! My rhubarb custard bars are similar to your dream bars.

A co-worker boils them and drinks it like tea.

Anonymous said...

I just made the rhubarb dream bars as I had my first big harvest of rhubarb this year! Wonderful treat! Do you know if they freeze well? It has been rainy & cool in Ontario this year and the black flies and mosquitos have loved it! What a change from last summer when we had a very hot and dry season. Last summer I made your sweet relish and it was a big hit, too. Thanks for your great recipes! Cheers! Ontario, Canada