Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rhubarb Rules

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Ohhhh Yum!  The supermarket had gorgeous rhubarb yesterday.  I have a collection of recipes from rhubarb bread to American Rote Gruetze, to plain old rhubarb sauce.  Anything with rhubarb and strawberries.
What is American Rote Gruetze you may ask.  In German speaking nations, in summer, restaurants serve, and one can also buy, this red treat.  It's normally a mixture of red currants, red raspberries and strawberries, sometime strained into a gelee, but to my mind better with the whole fruit.  It is thickened with cornstarch or tapioca and served room temp. or chilled.
In our New England neck of the woods, red currants, when available, are ungodly pricey.  I never see red currant juice, either.  I have come up with my own take on this delicious, healthful dessert.  For example, yesterday, I used 1 1/2 cups rhubarb (1 1/2 inches pieces), 1 cup frozen cranberries, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and about 1/4 rind from a lemon.  A couple teaspoons of cornstarch.  A bit of water for the cranberries and rhubarb, which I cooked together.  A judicious amount of sugar.  The dessert should remind slightly tart, but not set your teeth on edge.
We serve it with whipped cream, but heavy cream would also be good.  It is toothsome, and according to what I read, red fruits with their antioxidants are good for you.  Gee,  isn't it nice that something that tastes good is good for you, too?
I confess to a weariness at just reading (never mind cooking) all these meatless recipes with 18 ingredients and lots of work: chopping and slicing, heavy labor, and you just know by reading the ingredients that the mouthfeel will be lacking as well as the satisfaction of eating.  This is the eat to live rather than the live to eat philosophy, and to me, any life without occasional forays into bacon, heavy cream and steak, yes, fried chicken, too, is no life at all but a penance.  At least my vegetarian recipes taste good.  Wild mushroom lasagne anyone? 

Tonight I'm making a recipe  Rhubarb Upside Down Cake to take to a party.  Doesn't it look scrumptious?
Another rhubarb recipe is a crostata made with whole wheat flour, but alas, I have misplaced it.  Oh, for one's own lovely rhubarb patch!  Never had that. 

Praise be to the web. Found that crostata recipe.  With raspberries, too!  My pie plate runneth over.  Here 'tis:
Rhubarb and raspberry crostata with whole wheat flour

I bought parsley and cilantro for the garden, and also some rosemary which I'll grow in a good-looking pot.  Garden is groomed and ready to plant.  Put in mesclun lettuces and spinach yesterday.  The sage looks all right and the oregano is coming back.  Mint, too.  You can't kill mint.   Once I pulled some up and threw it into the woods and guess what?  The following year I had a patch of mint in the woods. 

Buy a bunch of rhubarb and get out your cookbook.  The season is short.  The kitchen is still cool.  Yes! 

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