May 14, 2009

RHUBARBARIANS AT THE PLATE:

Rhubarbarians, unite: It's time to stalk the ruby red (or green) stems (Patricia Lowry, 5/14/09, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

When I was growing up, we didn't have room for much more than tomatoes and peppers in our little city back yard. But we always had rhubarb, divided from plants that grew at my aunt and uncle's country place near Slippery Rock.

My dad, who grew up eating it from the back yard of his friend's house across Shadyside's Myrtle Way in the 1930s, had to have his rhubarb each spring. Still does.

Mostly my parents stewed it; we spooned it, hot or cold, stringy and sweet-tart, onto toast and vanilla ice cream. My mother made pies, too.

So we were initiated early into the tribe. Not everyone likes rhubarb, you know. Some people pucker up just thinking about it, and not in a good way.

The rhubarb patch was where our deck is now, and I never replaced it. But I know where to forage for it, and as soon as it becomes available and affordable at the grocery store or farmers market, I'm all over it.

That time is now. It's rhubarb season.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/14/09)
For the filling

* 2 cups thickly sliced hulled fresh strawberries
* 2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (no leaves!)
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 2 teaspoons tapioca
*
For the topping
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds with skins
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set out a 9- to 91/2-inch deep-dish pie plate.

For filling: Mix strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca and 2 tablespoons water in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until juices thicken, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into pie plate.

For topping: Put flour, sugar, almonds and butter in medium bowl and rub with fingers until butter is thoroughly blended. Mixture will be lumpy. Sprinkle evenly over fruit. Put pie plate on a baking sheet to catch any spillovers.

Bake until topping is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.


Posted by Orrin Judd at May 14, 2009 7:20 AM
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