Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pretty flavorful

 The creamy flowers of rhubarb pair nicely with pale yellow bearded iris about two weeks ago.
Rhubarb may be one of the original multi-tasking plants. It's pretty and it makes a great pie. Or cake. Or sauce.

It also may be one of the toughest plants around. Some of my rhubarb survived at least two years in a heap of roots and soil in a cardboard box. Maybe that ability to withstand harsh treatment is why its ornamental value too often is overlooked. But really, why wouldn't you plant it as an ornamental even if you don't like eating it. Rhubarb has fabulously huge leaves and towering flower stalks. A little tidying up now and then and you're good to go.

But in a gardening world gone edible, it is the culinary qualities that keep rhubarb on the must-have list. I found this recipe for Rhubarb Crunch in a cookbook published by AAL. Simple to make and yummy for dessert. Or for breakfast. Yes, breakfast.

Rhubarb Crunch
4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten 

Sift 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour together; mix with rhubarb. Pour into an 8- or 9-inch baking pan and dot with butter. Sift together the remaining sugar and flour with salt and baking powder; stir in beaten egg. The mixture will be crumbly.

Sprinkle it over the rhubarb and shake the pan a little so the crumbs will settle down in the rhubarb. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until the crust is a delicate brown. Serve warm or cold, plain or with milk or ice cream.

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