Meatless Monday: RHUBARB!

Our CSA has a check box on their sign-up and renewal forms for rhubarb. Having never used rhubarb before and being otherwise unfamiliar with it (I had never knowingly consumed rhubarb until recently) I usually checked the NO box.

Apparently I forgot to check that box this year when I signed up again. The first week, I got a good bunch of rhubarb — and had no idea what to do with it.

I think I thought rhubarb was hard to cook for some reason. Probably because I had never used it before. I thought it was tough or tart or needed to be peeled or cooked before it could be used in recipes. And I’d always only seen it paired with strawberries… but, I did have quite a number of those to hand as well.

So I decided I was game, consulted Twitter, and looked up a rhubarb-strawberry crisp recipe online.

OMG. It was… delicious. Mouth-wateringly tasty. It was amazingly good plain, but it would’ve paired divinely with vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb is juicy and sweet-tart. It does pair well with strawberries, but it works on its own too. Since the crisp, I have also made rhubarb bread and rhubarb sauce, and I’m already sad that the season may be over, and I will not have rhubarb this week in my CSA box. The recipe I used for the bread made two loaves, and I brought one to work with me. People loved it.

I am a rhubarb convert. And possibly a bit of an addict, too.

Anyhoo, here’s the bread recipe.

Rhubarb Bread
(adapted from Taste of Home)

1 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups diced rhubarb

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans.

1. Mix the lemon juice into the milk and let stand for 10 minutes. (Or, use buttermilk.)

2. Combine sugar and oil in one bowl. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Alternate mixing the milk and the dry ingredients into the sugar/oil mixture.

3. Fold in rhubarb.

4. Mix up topping.

5. Pour batter into loaf pans and spread topping over in little dollops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If you know how to make a streusel topping, I recommend it. Cool for 10 minutes, and remove to wire rack to cool.

Refrigerate overnight, and serve the next day with butter and coffee!

Rhubarb sauce is stupid easy: 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 to 4 cups of finely diced or thinly sliced rhubarb, 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar. Melt the butter, stir in the rhubarb and sugar, and stir over medium or medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Let cool and serve over ice cream.

Rhubarb: Yes or No?