Monday, June 20, 2011

Rhubarb, Anyone!

*I originally wrote this blog last July and never finished it. I was about to write this very blog again, and had a feeling that I had already blogged my rhubarb... and when I did a search, I found this blog, only half written, and never published. Sadly.. nothing has changed, so the first paragraphs are the exact same as last years!

**I have grown Rhubarb for the past 20 years. The same rhubarb plants. I dug them up from my neighbor's yard over 20 years ago and planted it in my yard. She NEVER picked it... she was happy to get rid of it. The funny thing is... I don't really like rhubarb. I love watching it grow, I love that its the first thing up in the spring... and my plants are very large. I am not sure if its a large variety or I have a great spot for it.. but it grows gigantic every year.
Peeking out of the ground on March 15
6 weeks later-April 30th.

3 weeks later May 24

Every year... I pull some, chop it, freeze it. I pull and give away much of it, as well. But eventually, the stocks get woody because they don't get pulled fast enough, and then its done for the year.

There are only two recipes I make with rhubarb... and once I make those, I don't do another thing with it. This year... things will be different. My goal is to use every bit of it. Make things, give it away.... freeze it for winter use.**

So here it is, a year has gone by since I wrote the first two paragraphs.. and I suspect the reason I didn't publish my blog from last year, was that I never did a freakin' thing with my stupid rhubarb. But .. this year.. I will be! (oh, the pictures are from this year, I never got around to taking pictures last year!)

First off... I actually planted MORE rhubarb... even though I don't really like it... I wanted to try going the "strawberry rhubarb" kind...
you can see the little stocks of bright red planted next to the big one. Thanks Cynthia, for the gift of your dad's rhubarb, by the way! Once the little ones take hold and start growing next spring, I will be digging up the monster 'barb and bringing it to my sisters house for her to grow!

Back to the recipes... I make an incredibly yummy Rhubarb cake... so easy its embarrassing... and I also make a yummy Rhubarb muffin. That's about it.
As mentioned above.. I am going to use EVERY bit of my rhubarb this year... and this weekend I started using it up. Made the cake for dessert on Saturday and brought the rest to work today.
Tonight I made 30 Rhubarb muffins (recipe below) and I started them right after I made 30 banana chocolate muffins. Its the last week with students at school, and that always means we need a few little treats in the staff room.. so why not use up some of my dreaded rhubarb, as well as those nasty blackish bananas the kids won't eat in the snack bin.

Stunned moment.... I start the muffins, while baking supper, talking to Michelle on the phone, watching Jennifer Aniston on Oprah and tripping over the cats. There are several stages to the muffins.. and as I get to the last stage of sprinkling buttery brown sugar and cinnamon over them, before they go in the oven, I realize... I forgot to put the FLIPPING rhubarb in the batter!. They are now, in the tins, with brown sugar on them.. and there is NO RHUBARB in them.......ARRRRRRRGGG. So, I start poking the little chunks of rhubarb into the muffins... without disturbing the brown sugar too much... They cooked fine.. but I am telling you, each muffin doesn't have very much rhubarb in it... and as you can see, I hardly made a dent in my monster rhubarb plant!
A little butterfly visitor yesterday morning before the weird weather hit! After the big rainstorm, and thunder and lightning, we had a flood in the back yard. We have never seen so much water collect in the garden! It drained within minutes.. but geeesh! Sure flattened the rhubarb!
Rhubarb Muffins
(recipe given to me from Bertha Gubernt)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk.. beat well. Stir in Rhubarb. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Add dry ingredients to rhubarb mixture, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full. (Don't over fill) Scatter cinnamon topping over filled cups and press lightly into batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes.

Cinnamon mixture
1 tbsp melted butter (or Marg)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

*note from experience- when the muffins come out of the oven, take a spoon and move the melted brown sugar that might have leaked onto the muffin tins back onto the muffins while soft. let the muffins sit for a few minutes in the pan before you take the muffins out. If you wait on the brown sugar thing.. it becomes like cement onto the muffin tin, and make a real mess of the muffin tops as you try to get the muffins out of the pan. All in all.. though.. so worth it!


GailM. said...

Only you know how long I've been trying to grow friggin rhubarb. I really enjoy cooking with it, but I refuse to pay 2.oo per pound for it... I transplanted my little cottage patch at home, and it's about the size of a potted mum this year. I'm hoping it will be really big next year, and then I'll make some of your rhubarb muffins.

Wendy said...

I grow rhubarb too but I love to cook with it! I make a lovely rhubarb pecan muffin, a rhubarb coffee cake, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry rhubarb crisp, rhubarb slush( a wonderfully refreshing summer time drink) and of course stewed rhubarb with strawberries served warm over ice cream.
We must have the same kind of rhubarb because my plants are monstrous as well. p.s. I am going to give your muffin recipe a try...and I promise to add the