June 10, 2008

Rhubarb - Delicious Alone or

with Lots
Besides Strawberries!

A nice comment from Cindy on a recent Frugal Family blog posting mentioned how much she likes to make blubarb jam, a combination that I know first hand is absolutely delicious. While the traditional combination of rhubarb and strawberries is yummy, there's much more that you can do with rhubarb by itself or in combination with other fruits.

In the current edition of The Frugal Family Kitchen Book, there are three recipes using rhubarb, all very tasty, but the rhubarb cheesecake pie is extra special. The other two recipes are for a rhubarb coffeecake and scalloped rhubarb, a very simple recipe that uses stale bread, goes together quickly, has a crisp crust on top and is soft and sweet underneath. Good as a breakfast dish, or for dessert.

Scalloped Rhubarb

3 c stale bread, cubed
1 c sugar
1/2 c melted butter
2 c fresh rhubarb, diced

Combine ingredients and put in an ungreased 8 or 9" square baking pan. Add 1 TBSP water in each corner of the pan, bake at 325, about 35-45 minutes.

Last spring I came across a recipe for a Bumbleberry Pie, and although I can't lay hands on the recipe right this minute, I do remember that it had blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb in it, all of which I luckily had in the freezer. And that pie got rave reviews! So while I think about where that recipe could be, let's look at some other combos.

Grace Additon was a food columnist for the Maine Sunday Telegram for years, and her 1983 Pantry Shelf Sampler Cookbook remains one of my favorite recipe collections to this day. She has a recipe for Rhubarb Pudding Cake that I've never tried, but I will before the next week is out, promise! I love pudding cakes which bake up with a cake layer on top and a wonderful sauce underneath, and I can't wait to try this one. A similar recipe in an old , National Grange Rural America Cookbook., is called Rhubarb Float.

Of course about the simplest thing you can do with rhubarb is just stew it, but be creative with your liquid. Apple cider, pineapple juice, a soft white or mellow red wine, even Hawaiian Punch!
I've seen recipes for rhubarb sherbet and rhubarb cream, both simple and refreshing while bananas and rhubarb make a nice baked combination.

Baked Banana Rhubarb Pudding Layer stewed, sweetened rhubarb in a baking pan, cover with sliced bananas, sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar, then mix 1TBSP lemon juice, 1 TBSP orange juice and 2 TBSP water and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 until top is nicely browned.

I'm sure rhubarb would be good with choclate too, but the only way to combine them that I've figured out - so far at least - is to have a rhubarb or orange-rhubarb sauce over chocolate ice cream or pudding. I'll bet apricots, almonds, and coconut would work well with rhubarb too.

Hmmm... I hope I've gotten you thinking as fresh local rhubarb is available now both in your local grocery store and at nearby farmer's markets and farmstands. Enjoy! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look some more for that Bumbleberry Pie recipe.