Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Rhubarb Is Talking to Me

The rhubarb was talking to me. At the farmer’s market it said “Hey Baby, you know you only have a couple of weeks to take me home. And you KNOW you wanna take me home.” I did want to take it home. So I did.

I was nervous about all the sugar I would need to add to it. I was nervous about its funny smell, a mix of low tide and wet dog followed by sharp acidic delicious home cooked pie. A few days later it said, “I am chilly in this fridge. Let’s go out and do something, paint the town!.” I closed the fridge and ignored it.

A full week after I brought it home my rhubarb got less fresh (haha…) and more practical and said to me “You know you can do other stuff with me too besides pie. You could make jam, muffins, cake… You will need to add sugar to me though. Don’t forget to add sugar to me.”

Ten days after I brought it home it finally said, “Please, I am begging you, do something with me before I wilt. Don’t forget about crisp. Crisp is the lazy woman’s pie.”

That was it. I did have to do something with the rhubarb before it wilted. That would be a total waste. I just don’t make a lot of desserts due to my tenuous relationship with sugar. And here I was trying to cook a vegetable that required…so much sugar.

The conundrum in rhubarb crisp is that the rhubarb needs to be cooked extensively. But it is not terribly juicy. So one has to make a syrup in which to kind of braise the rhubarb. All the recipes I found online called for some kind of corn starch in the recipe. And we aren’t doing corn starch. It is highly processed and likely GMO. What to do, what to do. I finally got an answer, I unintentionally made too much crisp topping and took some of it and added it to my syrup. The whole wheat flour and oats thickened it up nicely. Read the original recipe here.

One large bunch of rhubarb
2/3 cup of whole wheat flour
2/3 cup of old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar ( I like sucanat or rapadura)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Chopped nuts to taste
1/2 a stick of butter, cut into cubes.
One cup of water
One cup of sugar or honey

Chop the rhubarb and place it in a oven safe baking dish, preferably one with high sides. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and nuts if you are using them. Set 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the mixture aside. In the remaining topping mix, cut in the butter as you would in a pie crust, working in the butter until you have a coarse crumb. On medium heat, combine water and sugar in a saucepan. When sugar is dissolved, add in the reserved topping mix. Heat until the syrup is thick. Pour the syrup over your chopped rhubarb, and top with topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and golden on top.

As a working Mama, I don’t make dessert very often. So this was a special treat! The recipe is easy enough that I put it together at 5:30 am one morning and just baked it when I arrived home in the evening. It was completely ready by the time we got out of our evening bath. My Things loved this. Thing 2 even managed to use his spoon, which was humorous, but he was so proud of himself. Thing 1 kept saying that he thought I had put jam in it. Maybe my kids are sugar deprived. If only they were this gung ho about all their vegetables.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at Sustainable Eats and GNOWFLINS and more!

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