Monday, May 16, 2011

it's rhubarb time!

I have had 2 pickings of my rhubarb and will probably bring in some more tomorrow. I only have one plant, I would like to have more just to make sure that I am never caught short. I gaze longingly at gardens that have several clumps of rhubarb, I bet those people don't know how lucky they are!

My favorite thing to make with rhubarb is just plain and simple rhubarb crunch, probably because I always have the ingredients on hand. You probably have your own version, but this is what I do:

Gather ingredients--several stalks of rhubarb, fresh from the garden. Oatmeal, either kind will do or mix both. Brown sugar. Flour. Butter or margarine.

Cut off the leaves and toss them on the compost heap. I always pull the stalks from the clump so I have that odd little husk thing on the bottom of the stem so that needs to be sliced off and the whole stalk washed. I make a small batch that fits in a baking dish that is 6 or 7" square, and use about 10-12 stalks. This is kind of a small batch by some standards, but since I am the only person in our house eating this, I don't make very much at once. Bob is a pretty normal guy in every other way and if you met him you would never guess that he is a rhubarb hater. We all have our flaws, I guess. Cut the stems into little chunks about 1/2" size, but perfection is not key here. The rhubarb shrinks a lot with cooking, so cut plenty.
Now put together the topping:

Melt 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, or even use Smart Balance like I had to do this time because there was only a little bit of butter in the fridge. We use Smart Balance for just about everything since Bob has a tendency towards too much cholesterol, and this seems to be helping. I keep waiting for it to balance our smartness, too. But I digress. To the melted shortening add: 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup oatmeal (I use roughly equal portions of the chunkier old-fashioned oats and quick oats to get the perfect consistency), 1/2 cup flour. These amounts are approximate and can be altered as you prefer. The flour is what makes it really crumbly, the way I like it.

Sprinkle some sugar, maybe 1/4 cup, over the chopped rhubarb in the baking dish. Spread the crumbled topping over it, trying to cover all the rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the juices are bubbling around the edges.

Do you like my vintage baking dish? It is a classic and was a wedding or shower gift. Today happens to be our 36th anniversary--Wow! Last week I was cleaning out a junk drawer in the kitchen, and found many interesting things, among them a little notebook containing a record of our honeymoon trip! Yes, I keep all my most important documents in the junk drawer, don't you?! Anyway, it was fun to read and reminisce. We took about 2 weeks to drive to our destination of Tom's Place, California, and back to Minnesota, camping along the way. We had very little spending money, so we watched every penny and most of my little journal was a record of what we spent! Primarily gas, which was averaging about 56 cents/gallon so we could fill up the pickup for $10 or less! Tom's Place is a little resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the home of Bob's aunt and uncle, who hosted us for a few days. It was a memorable trip, we had a great time. When we returned home, we moved into a little ghetto apartment (complete with cockroaches) in downtown Minneapolis and started our summer jobs as nursing assistants at a nursing home. I think we probably used our wedding money to help pay the rent and expenses, although we did splurge on a new TV--a black and white set from JC Penney! We were living the high life! It's amazing to see where life has taken us.

1 comment:

MissesStitches said...

It's nice to remember those days, isn't it. Happy Anniversary!