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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rhubarb season is upon us!

By RhubarbFarmer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

My friend Donna has started to offer me free rhubarb; it must be rhubarb season. If you have a couple of healthy rhubarb plants, you know this drill. It's the spring version of zucchini. You leave unmarked bags of the stuff on your neighbor's stoop, just to be rid of it. I am amazed that they can even sell it at the local farmer's market. Doesn't everyone have a neighbor or a friend with an overgrown rhubarb patch?

Last year, while driving back from mushroom hunting in the mountains, I spied a huge stand of rhubarb off the road. I was not driving, thankfully! Jane was and she screeched to a stop. "I need rhubarb!" Well, we surely got it. The rhubarb stand had probably been planted a long time ago when Left Hand Canyon was dotted with mining claims and mining cabins. The rhubarb plants were nearly as tall as me. Jane, if you are reading, I hope you will be back in late June so we can go pick you some more!

This recipe came from Nicole Routhier's Fruit Cookbook. The recipe is for a Strawberry-Rhubarb Brulee, but I didn't brule it. :-) I made the fruit part and it is first rate with yogurt, granola, or ice cream. It's not so sweet that is isn't appropriate for breakfast. Unlike some strawberry-rhubarb recipes, the strawberries are not cooked. I don't like cooked strawberries. I find their texture mushy and slimy. This recipe retains some of the bite.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
(makes 6 - 8 servings)

3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4" thick 
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec 
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1" sections 

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced strawberries, lemon juice, Grand Marnier, and 2 tbl of sugar; mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the rhubarb with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until the rhubarb is very soft and shredded. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. When rhubarb is cooled, combine with strawberries and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld.

Serve with yogurt, whipped cream or as a topping for shortcake or pound cake. Also good with granola.