May 24, 2013
Written by Robin Glowa
Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:04
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience”
Enjoying seasonal fruits and vegetables is a natural and harmonic way to nourish the body and the spirit. Here in New England, gardens are beginning to yield the delicious flavors of spring, including, herbs, lettuces and rhubarb.
Also known as pieplant, rhubarb is a cook’s dream ingredient. Versatile enough to be used in cakes, puddings, muffins, pies and breads, rhubarb also works its wonder in chutneys, jams and beverages such as tea and wine.
Rhubarb has a completely unique taste, with a slightly sour edge. The classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb or apples and rhubarb helps tame that sour quality while lending a layer of sweetness. I, however, am a big fan of the astringent flavor of rhubarb, and will cook down a few cupfuls of rhubarb stalks with just a bit of water to create an exhilarating sauce for yogurt or oatmeal.
Rhubarb is an excellent plant for the home gardener. Once established, this perennial will yield plenty of fruit for creative culinary pursuits. The plants themselves are attractive: the light green and crimson stalks grow to be nearly an inch wide and sometimes more than a foot long. The enormous fan shaped leaves are toxic, however, and must not be consumed.
When purchasing rhubarb in the supermarket, look for stalks that feel crisp, not limp or thin. You can store your rhubarb in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to three days. Rhubarb also freezes remarkably well. Simply wash and dry rhubarb, cut into cubes and place three to four cups in each freezer bag.
Rhubarb apple crisp is a sensational dessert that will be welcomed at any gathering. I hope you will enjoy the sweet consciousness of local, seasonal produce as you prepare your delicious life!
Rhubarb Apple Crisp
2 1/2 pounds of organic apples (whatever kind you prefer), peeled and sliced
4 cups of fresh rhubarb, washed, dried and sliced about 3/4 inch thick
1 cup organic raisins (I like a mixture of golden and dark)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted organic butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans and walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a baking dish. Combine all the filling ingredients, add this mixture to the baking dish. For the topping, mix brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and blend with your fingers until it all clumps together. Add nuts.
Spread topping over filling to cover completely. Bake for 40 minutes or until juices are bubbling around the edges of the dish and the topping has browned.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. As a health and wellness professional, she teaches healthy cooking classes to adults and children and offers healthy living workshops. For more info go to www.theconsciouscook.net. Read more at www.confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.
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