July 11 - The Day Of Rhubarb - Om Nom Nom Blog at Allrecipes.com - 185162

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July 11 - The Day of Rhubarb 
Jul. 12, 2010 8:22 am 
Updated: Jul. 14, 2010 9:16 am
I'm currently house- and doggy-sitting for my mom and sister while they're up north in Iowa and Minnesota, visiting our relatives. This is the third year in a row I haven't been able to join them because they go up for 2+ weeks and I can't get that much time off from work.

So it's been me and the old doggy Maty-Mae, plus my friend Alyssa who's there during the day to help watch Maty while I'm at work (she works evenings mostly). There are occasional visits from friends and such, but they are few and far between.

I'm usually always in the mix. I'm always with people. So it just being me and dog, I've been a little antsy for the past week and a half. How have I been combating this cabin fever, you ask? By cooking and baking, of course!

I've been making all kinds of funky improv meals, trying to use up the HUGE stockpile of food in the cabinets, pantry and freezer (as well as the fridge, when I first got the house, but I've whittled that down already). My mom tends to buy things that she doesn't need or thinks she needs but already has, so she ends up with tons of food that just goes bad because she uses what she just bought first.

So my first few nights in the house, I took on the mission of cleaning and organizing the kitchen. I didn't have to throw out near as much as I usually do, which is great. But there was still some pretty crazy old stuff in there... Like five boxes of poptarts that expired in 2005. I have NO IDEA how I missed those the last two times I attacked the kitchen. I opened one package of strawberry poptarts and found nothing in the foil wrapper but crumbly brown lumps. I guess they're not pumping us quite as full of preservatives as I thought? Ha!

I made some great finds though... Plenty of whole wheat and spinach pasta, a big jug of olive oil and a small bottle of avocado oil, a bag of brown sushi rice, goat cheese (in the fridge), five prickly pears (in the fridge) and a large container of sundried tomatoes, among other things like 8 BAGS OF FROZEN RHUBARB.

I know that I made my menu, and I've tried to stick with it, but cooking for only one person and trying to use up the random things I've found around the kitchen has become my priority. Therefore, that menu has become somewhat of a guideline that I still use for breakfast and try to base my dinner sort of off what I had planned to make.

With that said, there have been some really great little experiments that turned out super-yummy! There was a cheese-stuffed chicken meatloaf with capers, pasta with a spinach cream sauce, homemade veggie pizza and prickly pear-blueberry smoothies.

Then came the phone call on Saturday. My mother and sister were up in Minnesota visiting my father's family. Grandma doesn't have a backyard anymore, it's just a giant garden. That woman is the spunkiest 85 year old I have met and she probably one of the best gardeners I've had  the pleasure of learning from as well. Two HUGE patches of her yard are dedicated to rhubarb, one of my favorite vegetables that I don't get to enjoy much because it doesn't grow well down here. Then there's dad's older sister who lives on a small farm just on the edge of town who has a GIANT plot of rhubarb growing out by the chicken shed. Plus, an old family friend Gladys, who has let her rhubarb overrun most of her garden that isn't zucchini or cucumbers.

And my mom has gotten rhubarb from all of them.

So yesterday, my mission became one of passion, determination and an insanely hot house; I had to try and use up the rhubarb in the freezer to make room for the cooler full of it that would be making its way down south soon.

We had put about 4 cups of fresh rhubarb in each bag before we froze it, and after it thawed, it was about 2 1/2 cups per bag, so I had to figure out how to try and get rid of around 20 cups of rhubarb.

Here's how it went down:

Which left me with about two bags of the rhubarb left, that I'm going to give to a friend of mine who has never had rhubarb and wants to try baking with it =)

Through all of this, I had the oven and stove going for most of the day and the A/C was acting up. It kept tripping the breaker, and I wouldn't realize it (because it still sounds like the air is running, but no cool air is actually coming out) until it had gotten really hot in the house (I'd usually think I was just hot because I was busy in the kitchen around hot appliances).

Finally, around 2 a.m. last night, the A/C decided to stay on without tripping the breaker and I got to enjoy some cool air while I slept.

We actually opened up the windows at one point because even though it was 97 degrees outside, with the breeze we had, it felt cooler than it was in the house.

But now I have all of these delicious rhubarb creations to try and get eaten before they go bad. I really hate wasting food.

Luckily, I'm hosting a movie night tonight. We're watching Porco Rosso by Hayao Miyazaki (we've been watching one Miyazaki film each week this summer and it's been amazing!), so I'll try to push the rhubarb desserts on my friends then =)

Plus, Cliff is hosting a Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List watch party on Tuesday, so I might bring any leftovers I have to that to try and finish them off!

I've tried a bit of everything I made and it's all pretty darn awesome! The muffins are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside and the blueberries give them a little something special; grandma's crisp is the best, as usual; the cheesecake is creamy and the sour cream topping gives it a really unique flavor; the lemonade is tart and tangy, just the way I like it; and the turnovers are a yummy balance of sweet and tart.

I had a bowl of the freshly out of the oven crisp with some key lime ice cream last night and experienced dessert bliss. Maybe I'll just keep the crisp hidden in the microwave and save that all for myself =)

The only thing I didn't make that I usually do when I'm rhubarbing is my grandma's rhubarb sauce. It's my favorite ice cream topping, but it tastes very similar (though not the same) to the filling part of the rhubarb crisp, which I usually eat with ice cream anyway.

My mouth is watering just thinking about all of this rhubarb deliciousness!

And I'm excited about tonight because a lot of my friends from down here in Texas has never gotten to try rhubarb before! I'm just hoping they like it, because I know that I'm head-over-heels for the odd, tart vegetable that gets cooked up into yummy desserts.

What is everyone's favorite way to serve up rhubarb? I'd love to find more recipes for it! From the sound of it, I'll have enough to fill up the freezer at home and the freezer at the apartment!

Happy Monday and have a scrumptious week =)

Jul. 12, 2010 8:26 am
I also love rhubarb! My grandma make the best custard rhubarb bars. Now I want some. Thanks for sharing :)
Jul. 12, 2010 8:38 am
Nomnom, I have 3-I chop up rhubarb, place in a pot, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot, sugar to taste, let it boil until soft and mushy like jam. Take off heat, add 1/4 tsp of almond extract, eat with fresh buns, toast or on ice cream. Let me find the other recipes...
Jul. 12, 2010 8:42 am
rhubarb cake-- 1/2c marg, 1 1/2c sugar, 1 egg, 1t vanilla, 1c sour milk (butter milk), 1tsp b. soda, 2c flour, 2c chopped rhubarb---mix in order given, sprinkle top with brown sugar and cinnamon, bake 350 for 40-50 min in 9x12 pan or bundt pan
Jul. 12, 2010 8:46 am
rhubarb squares---base...2c flour, 2 tsp b. powder, 1/2t salt, 1/c cup melted margarine, 2 eggs, 2T milk. Mix together and pack into 9X12 pan...place 3 cups fresh rhubarb on the base, sprinkle 60z package of cherry or strawberry jello over rhubarb...top with crumb mixture--1/2c melted marg, 2c sugar, 1c flour, bake at 350 until lightly browned, about 45 min. I also make this on a cookie sheet, then add 4-5 cups of rhubarb
Jul. 12, 2010 8:49 am
Jul. 12, 2010 9:34 am
I love rhubarb anything. I had a cookie recipe years ago that had rhubarb in them.. they were cakey and beautiful. I'll have to dig it out. It's too hot to grow rhubarb here in Arizona, so what we get isn't fresh from the garden. I'm jealous!
Jul. 12, 2010 9:59 am
SB - Those custard bars look AMAZING!!! I've got to try those out when I get that fresh rhubarb in! Redneck gramma - That first recipe is just like the "rhubarb sauce" that my grandma makes! It's my favorite topping for vanilla ice cream! And I'll definitely try that cake and the bars. The cake might be my birthday cake this year =) BellesAZ - I can't grow it in the summer here in Texas, either, but you can grow it as an annual if you plant it in the fall, you can have a decent-sized harvest ready by early Spring! ---> http://www.doityourself.com/stry/growing-rhubarb-as-an-annual
Jul. 12, 2010 10:36 am
What a challenge to use up that rhubarb. We enjoyed rhubarb pie this weekend and used my favorite recipe from here (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fresh-Rhubarb-Pie/Detail.aspx) We also are particularly fond of rhubarb jam and it is a good way to use up a lot of rhubarb. Find the one with pie filling and jello. It is delicious and I use the freezer method. Enjoy from MN where we have lots of rhubarb!
Jul. 12, 2010 12:36 pm
Minnesota is where I'm getting all of my rhubarb this year! I LOVE rhubarb pie, but pies are one of the few things I won't bake. I've never really been able to get a pie just right, so I leave it to the expert pie-bakers around me! Hopefully my friend will take the rhubarb I give her and make I pie that I can have a slice of =) And rhubarb jam is awesome! My family usually stops by Schmidt's Meat Market in Nicollet, MN when we go up there during the summer to pick up some summer sausages and rhubarb jam!
Jul. 12, 2010 6:01 pm
I love rhubarb too and share with my boss's wife. However, I think I need to finally split apart my plant (after about 25 years). The plant's stalks are so spindly the last couple of years. Rhubarb growers - do you agree? Is fall OK to split it?
Jul. 12, 2010 11:49 pm
Nom Nom, I feel so sorry for you with all that rhubarb to use, so I will be willing to have you send some of it to me to get it off your hands!! LOL Try the sauce (I never added almond extract, but sure will) over cottage cheese.
Jul. 14, 2010 9:16 am
Magnolia - The rhubarb should be okay to split in the spring or fall. It must be one massive plant after 25 years! BigShots - I managed to get all of it eaten by friends at the movie night! We watched Proco Rosso and ate rhubarb confections until we could watch and eat no more! There was only two other people there (of 15) who had ever eaten rhubarb before, and everyone else is now a fan! And I think I'll go out and buy a tub of cottage cheese tonight and try that out! It sounds delish!
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About Me
I've grown up in a family of amateur chefs. My dad is the grill maste, my mom is the oven improv queen, my grandmas are lean, mean baking machines, my uncles have great taste in wine and my aunts know how to cook for the masses. I used to love spending time in the kitchen with them when I was a kid; learning as I watched and helped them prepare meals. Now I have a pretty good sense of my own taste and cooking ability. I definitely have a love of baking and making sweets, mostly because it creates a great excuse to invite people over =) Other than that, I'm pretty adventurous in the kitchen. I love foods with strong, complex flavors. Growing up in Texas, I developed a taste for spicy food and can't get enough of it. Right now, I'm concentrating on healthy meals with balanced nutrition to help myself and my family get in great shape for this summer and the future =)
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake. Cooking anything is fun, but put a cake pan or some muffin tins in front of me and I just get excited =)
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love all the baking tips I've gotten from my grandparents who are some of the best bakers EVER and the patience I've learned from my mother, who makes the best northern-style chili you will ever eat!
My cooking triumphs
I love to entertain and make tapas for parties. I think some of my greatest triumphs have been snack foods for parties and conventions ranging from Mediterranean shrimp croustinis to heart healthy blackberry mini-muffins =)
My cooking tragedies
Fondant. I have never been able to really get fondant down. I can usually make it alright, but something always goes wrong when I'm trying to use it. I'm very much a perfectionist, so when it doesn't look JUST RIGHT, it bugs me =P
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