Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are You Ready For Some RHUBARB??

Yes? Good. Cause that's what you're getting.
No? Well, too bad. Cause that's what you're getting!

Things here have been a bit of a rhubarbpalooza recently - not only was my plant belching forth a larger (and faster-appearing) yield of the pink and green stalks than normal thanks to the hot and humid weather, but I still had a rather large freezer bag of the stuff from last year's cull waiting in the wings. Something had to be done - really, the "mother plant" was beginning to scare not only the dog and local wildlife, but me as well! I just started pulling stalks one by one and processing them into everything I could think of. Most of the goodies were fairly standard fare - muffins and quickbreads - but I did manage to sneak in two more "off the wall" recipes which were both major hits too! I know the rhubarb glut isn't my problem alone either - I mean really, there's a whole S.O.S. Kitchen Challenge this month with it hosted by Kim, who writes Affairs of Living, and Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

Luckily, there are a fair amount of rhubarb fans around me that can help stem the onslaught of this tart, versatile veggie. My thanks go out to all of the brave souls that took the treats off my hands!
Recipes and more after the jump!

So, to get the ball rolling with something fairly standard, how about trying these muffins on for size? They're packed full of good stuff - whole grains, low-fat dairy and (of course) fresh rhubarb, and they're sweetened solely with honey! I'm sure agave nectar would work perfectly well too if that's what you have on hand - I was trying to use up stuff in the pantry and this recipe fit the bill perfectly! I would definitely pack these as a great low-fat snack for mid morning nosh.

Honey - Rhubarb Muffins
Makes 21
250 grams (a scant 3/4 cup) dark amber honey (or raw agave nectar)
100 mL low-fat, vanilla yogurt (or soy yogurt)
1 tbsp melted butter or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (or vegan substitute)
1/4 cup 1% or soy milk
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oat flour (finely process rolled oats in a blender or food processor if you don't have this)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
340 grams (about 12 oz) diced rhubarb
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine honey, yogurt, butter, vanilla, egg and milk.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the honey mixture and stir just to combine, then fold in the rhubarb.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before unmoulding.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 112.9
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 12.1 mg
Sodium: 11.8 mg
Total Carbs: 23.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 2.5 g
Moving slightly up the scale of indulgence, we have this quickbread. Still very much a rhubarb-centric teacake, this loaf almost never happened. It was the direct result of my failure to observe one of the cardinal rules of cooking: read through the recipe and make sure you have the ingredients before you start. Instead, I had begun cooking down a compote to make a batch of tasty-looking bar cookies, only to find out that there was a lack of butter and powdered sugar in the house, both of which were necessary for the polenta-shortbread crust! Rather than scrap it all (I'm too cheap for that!) I turned to a standby recipe of mine for banana bread. The compote was roughly the same consistency as the mashed bananas I normally use, and with a handful of strawberries and some roasted chickpeas the recipe took on a new life!
Rhubarb Compote Loaf with Fresh Strawberries
Serves 12
1 tbsp coarse polenta
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 tbsp raspberry juice
1 cup sugar, divided (you can use palm sugar instead of cane sugar)
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese), softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg (or substitute)
1/4 cup raspberry juice
1 cup flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup yellow cornflour (not cornstarch)
1/3 cup psyllium fibre husks
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder
2/3 cup roasted chickpeas
5 large, fresh strawberries, chopped
1 tsp coarse sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom with coarse polenta.
  2. In a saucepan, cook rhubarb, 2 tbsp raspberry juice, and 1/2 cup sugar for 15-20 minutes, until it has collapsed into a thick, jammy consistency. Remove from heat and cool 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cream remaining sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla, lemon juice, egg and raspberry juice, blending well.
  5. Mix together flours, psyllium, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder and 5-spice, stir into creamed mixture, alternating with the compote.
  6. Fold in the chickpeas and strawberries.
  7. Scrape into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, until tests done.
  9. Cool 20 minutes in the pan before unmoulding onto a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 186.0
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 23.3 mg
Sodium: 36.9 mg
Total Carbs: 36.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Protein: 4.2 g

Still with me? Good. I've got booze this time - rum, to be precise. Why? Because I can. And besides, the raisins needed something to soak up! This loaf had the added richness factor of toasted coconut ribbons running through it too, not to mention tenderizing buttermilk and a unique crunch of graham cracker crumbs. All of them mesh together to make this one heck of a treat - you won't be sorry!

Rhubarb - Raisin "Rum"ble Cake
Serves 20
1 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup spiced rum
1/3 cup warm water
¼ cup sugar (or palm sugar)
¼ cup packed brown sugar (or palm sugar)
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese (or vegan substitute)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sweet rice flour (optional, can use cornstarch)
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups buttermilk (or soy milk + 2 tbsp vinegar)
2 cups diced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)  
  1. In a small bowl, combine raisins, rum and water. Let sit overnight, then drain any residual liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F, grease 2 loaf pans.
  3. Cream together sugars and cream cheese, then beat in vanilla.
  4. Whisk together flours, graham crumbs, baking powder, salt, allspice, ginger and coconut.
  5. Alternating with the buttermilk, add flour mixture and buttermilk to the creamed mixture.
  6. Fold in the soaked raisins and rhubarb.
  7. Bake loaves for 50 minutes, until they test done.
  8. Cool 30 minutes in the pans before turning out and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 148.0
Total Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 4.3 mg
Sodium: 66.0 mg
Total Carbs: 27.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 3.8 g

Now, I'm sure after all that sugar you could go for something nice and savoury, right? Well, how about this rather unique sauce - inspired by a rhubarb chutney recipe my mom had, which as far as I can tell is either Portuguese or Greek in origin, I added my Asiatic twist of rice vinegar and curry powder and bumped up the cayenne a touch for a zippy side dish. Thankfully, this freezes well, since it makes a huge amount - but it's so good that I doubt you'll be freezing much. I was eating it warm out of the pot (and MAN is it good that way) but I can see it making a good side to a roast or stirred into a savoury grain or rice pilaf.

Rockin' Rhubarb Chutney
Makes just under 9 cups - 36 1/4-cup servings.
1 cup sugar (or use 1/2 cup agave nectar)
3/4 cup brown sugar (or palm sugar)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp grated ginger root
3 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 1/2 lbs (about 10 1/2 cups) diced rhubarb
1 large chopped red onion
3/4 cup raisins
  1. Combine sugars, vinegars, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, curry and cayenne in a large pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add rhubarb, onion and raisins.
  3. Increase heat, and cook 20 minutes - until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Let cool completely and store in the fridge or freeze.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 60.2
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.5 mg
Total Carbs: 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.5 g

  Whew. Finally, we're at the end of the rhubarb glut for today. And what better way to cap off the list than with a good ol' strawberry rhubarb pie? Well, mine's not exactly the good ol' version you might be used to. Heck, even my more "conventional" strawberry-rhubarb pie isn't really your standard fare - but this one is really quite far removed. There isn't even any strawberries in the thing!
Yes, I know what you might be thinking - it looks like there's plenty of strawberry goodness underneath that crumbly topping, right? Well, we can thank the ravages of mould and ickiness on this week's berry haul for slaying that plan. Instead, I turned to something rather odd to add that berry flavour and colour - a certain "Oh Yeah!" if you will. Yes, I confess... I used sweetened, strawberry-flavoured Kool-Aid in this pie in place of the sugar. So sue me - it may not be gourmet, 5-star cuisine, but darn it... it worked! The group I served it to didn't even realize there was no fruit in it, and really, the amazing cookie-like crumble on top would more than make up for it if they had.

Cheapskate Rhubarb Crumble Pie
Serves 8
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup sweetened strawberry drink mix (like Kool-Aid)
3 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp melted butter
1 9" pie shell, unbaked (I really do suggest making your own if you have time!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, place the pie shell on a baking sheet to catch boil-overs.
  2. In a bowl, combine rhubarb, ginger, allspice and strawberry drink mix crystals and tapioca flour, tossing to coat.
  3. Pour into the pie shell in an even layer.
  4. In a small dish whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon and oats.
  5. Pour butter overtop of the mixture and mix together with your fingers to make a crumbly paste.
  6. Evenly top the rhubarb mixture with the crumb topping, patting gently ontop.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, then move to the top rack and bake 5 minutes more.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 321.2
Total Fat: 10.3 g
Cholesterol: 11.4 mg
Sodium: 236.6 mg
Total Carbs: 54.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 3.5 g


  1. Such creative recipes, Sarah! Everything looks delicious. I am hoping there's a way to adapt these (or at least some of them) to the ACD! :)

  2. I would love to make these muffins but it seems that rhubarb season lasted about two days around here! I'm hoping they show up at stores or farmers markets again.


Thanks for the feedback!