Rhubarb: It’s what’s for dinner — during Rhubarb Week


I officially declare this to be Rhubarb Week! We have an abundance of great rhubarb at the Hoquiam Farmers Market, all of it grown here on Grays Harbor. In my grandma’s day every kitchen garden had at least one rhubarb plant. Back then it was also called “Pie Plant.” Rhubarb loves growing in our climate, and it is an early producer that is packed with fabulous flavor and nutrients.

So you may be wondering what you can do to make use of this extraordinary vegetable which masquerades as a fruit. Wonder no more. I have recipes.

The first come from Frank, our Elma rhubarb provider. OMG! Fabuloso in the extreme! And easy beyond description. If you can’t make this cake, you shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen.

Frank’s Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Line a 9 x 12 dish with wax paper and spread 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter over it.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the butter.

Chop raw rhubarb ( 4-6 cups) and add them to the dish.

Mix up one Betty Crocker yellow cake mix according to the directions

and put it over the rhubarb.

Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frank’s Grandkids will pass up DQ, Baskin Robbins, & McDonalds for a slice of this. Now of course you could put a scoop of ice cream on top, especially when it’s warm out of the oven!

Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1/2 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 cups sliced rhubarb

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

In mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, butter and cinnamon; mix together until crumbly. Press half of the brown sugar and oats mixture into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the sliced rhubarb.

In a saucepan combine 1 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and the 1 cup of water and vanilla. Cook together until clear, then pour over rhubarb.

Top rhubarb with remaining crumb mixture and bake at 350* for 45 to 55 minutes.

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

1 1/2 cups half and half

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

8 ounces whole wheat bread, cut into inch pieces

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (pieces should be about a 1/2 inch)

Zest of 1 large orange

2 tbsp brown sugar

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk half and half, eggs, vanilla and sugar together. Add bread pieces and submerge them using the back of a wooden spoon to push the bread down. Add chopped rhubarb, orange zest and stir well.

Empty into baking dish and press down. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, add brown sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until set.

Serves 6. Or 4 rhubarb lovers. Only 2 rhubarb fanatics who decide to make it dinner.

There! Now you know exactly what to do with rhubarb. Nancy makes rhubarb pie, both plain and mixed with other fruits, and rhubarb jam. There is no end to what you can do with rhubarb!

You’ll love it so much that next year you’ll want to grow a rhubarb plant of your own. Not to worry, we can advise you on that too.

Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market, at 1958 Riverside in Hoquiam ph. 538-9848