Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Spring Rhubarb and Strawberrries

Since I have completed my Fall 2006 classes (8 credit hours), my kitchen and me get a chance to have quality time together. Here's a journal entry of what we did together...

I have a good amount of rhubarb this spring and then will have more again in this fall. Rhubarb is a tart veggie and one that many will say they don't like. I am one who always told my children that if they try something they are not allowed to say, "I don't like a (food like rhubarb) that," but they can say, "I don't care for it prepared this way." This allowed me great freedom in preparing foods in many different ways without hearing that they don't like one ingredient.... I don't like baking soda either (it's nasty), but when prepared correctly in various dishes - it's wonderful.

RHUBARB (link for great information about this tart veggie)

* 9" prepared pie crust or graham cracker crust of choice
(I use crunched up Ryvita crackers to form my own ryw crust, a moist dish likes this makes the cracker crumbs moist so that they stay together and is the filling is sweet the crumb crust will not stand apart to change that flavor.) Save some craker crumbs for the top if desire. I also use an 8x8 square baking dish.
Filling: 4 C rhubarb, diced, 1 1/2 tsp KAL stevia, 1/2 tsp orange extract ot orange zest, 1/4 C unbleached organic wheat flour (or other starch flour of choice)... Combine this with 1 C commerically prepared soy sour cream or your own homemade silken tofu style sour cream. Place filling onto crust, sprinkle with topping if desired. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven for 30 - 45 minutes (until filing is set in the center).

I preserved this using home canning. This recipe made 6 half pint jar fulls with about 1/2 left for sampling and putting in the frig for immediate use.
3 cups finely dices rhubarb
2 C rice vinegar
2 C chopped sweet onion
2 tsp KAL stveia extract powder
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 C dried currants
1 tsp allspice
Bring to a boil, simmer 30 minutes. Water bath process 10 minutes to preserve.

Strawberries in my area come in at the end of May in small quantities at first, so a good way to stretch the few berries (not enough for a full dish) is to combine them with rhubarb since that is the time the final large pickings of rhubarb will be taken as it's growth will slow down with the warmer temperatures. I plowed over my strawberry bed last year in order to start fresh again this year (which means a small supply of berries, but they will be back again next year). Fortunately I have a good supply source of organic fresh strawberries and this week I got a bargain on them.

Here's an excellent low fat crust using olive oil and soured soymilk from the Vegan Feast Recipe Archives. I used agar to "gel" my pie and it worked wonderfully once the pie cooled in the refrigerator. My pie was also made using stevia, the no calorie herbal calorie free sweetener. First, preheat oven to 400 degrees and dice rhubard finely, slice strawberries thinly to get about 6-7 cups of fruit (a little more strawberries than rhubarb), add 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 tsp stevia extract powder(to taste), and 1 1/2 tsp agar powder. Mix well, pour into 9" prepared pie crust, bake approx. 45 minutes (with a pan underneath to be safe... mine didn't spill over). Allow to cool and then place in refrigerator. NOTE: It will be very runny untilrefrigerated the agar melts while baking and then sets the pie while refrigerating.

Here's a variation of Bryanna's Rustic Rhubarb Cake (p. 174) from the Fiber for Life Cookbook. I spread half the wet mixture on the bottom of the pan, spread on a stevia sweetened strawberry rhubarb mixture (same stuff I used for the pie without the agar), and dalloped the remaining wet mixture over the top. On the individual serving we drizzled a sweetened soy yogurt over it. Also, I make the cake mixture almost sugar free by using onlt 2 Tbsp sugar and subbing stevia for the remainder. I do this out of habit with most sweet things that I make for our family because I have a hypoglycemic family member.


EatPeacePlease said...

Dori, I had so many wonderful comments on my site about what to do with the rhubarb I got for the first time, and I feel like your blog today is rhubarb heaven! Thanks for this post, as I love the photos, recipes and I trust your taste buds.

I think it's a wonderful philosophy you have with your children about food ingredients. I wish I had the same outlook as we seem to do when I was a kid. I think I turned out OK though!
Fabulous post, I must say again.

Jane M said...

I love rhubarb. That chutney recipe looks great and I can't wait to try it. That way I can have summer all year long!

Anonymous said...

wow...you go with the rhubarb!

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Anonymous said...

35 years ago my wife made a rhubarb cobbler and served it for the first time. Daughter, age 6, took one look at it (It looked strange.) and said, "I don't like it". We immediately instituted a policy where kids had to eat as many bites as they were old if they said they didn't like something before tasting it. Daughter ate all her cobbler and asked for more. I asked her how she liked it after she ate her third serving.

She was unwilling to admit she liked it so she said, ~'I don't not like it as much as I didn't like it at first'.

That rule is still used today by our middle daughter with her two children. Our grandson called us (in California) from Colorado two months ago to see if we really enforced that rule when his mother was growing up. Our youngest daughter (his aunt) told him she always tasted everything new before saying anything and then either said she liked it or that she had eaten enough so she wouldn't have to eat extra bites of something she didn't care for.

I found this posting series as I am looking for rhubarb recipes (The first six of my eight rhubarb plants have broken through the ground this past week. I plan to order another eight plants tomorrow.).

We will use stevia as a sweetener rather than sugar as we need to lose weight.