Good morning, readers!
We had a wonderful afternoon yesterday, planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. These vegetables are easily killed by frost so here in Ohio I never plant them until after the end of May. If you only have a few and plant them close to the house you could probably cover them with newspaper hats or cones sold where you buy your plants.
I’m always saying “where you buy your plants” because most frequently folks do this, but I generally buy the seeds and grow my own plants. I like to grow certain varieties that aren’t available in nurseries. However, if you’re new to tomato-growing, most nurseries have varieties that do well in your growing area. Usually they will be happy to recommend some plants for you.
I love tomato-planting day, especially with my new wife and helper, Suzy. The view from where I stood was spectacular. She wore cut-off jean shorts and a yellow tank top. And when she would bend to put the plant in the ground I wanted to….never mind. This is a Kitchen Blog!
Anyway, now all of the garden has been planted, and we wait…
So while we’re waiting for the luscious, juicy summer vegetable, let’s talk about…rhubarb. This plant, which is actually a vegetable, was eaten and used as medicine by the ancient Chinese people. Although low in fat, rich in Vitamin C, potassium and fiber, poor rhubarb is not very popular in modern times.
The plant has long pink fleshy stems with large green leaves. Don’t eat the leaves, though, because they’re poisonous. Pick the stems when they’re soft and flexible. Hard, fibrous stems aren’t any good.
Cut off the leaves and toss them on the compost pile, or in the garbage. Wash the stems. Sometimes the stems will seem stringy when you cut them. Don’t worry, just peel off the strings and discard them. Chop stems in to pieces less than an inch long. Okay, you’re ready to cook.
I love rhubarb, especially paired with strawberries, which are plentiful in the spring. It has a tart flavor that goes well with the sweet fruit. In fact, any kind of fruit or berry takes on a different flavor when mixed with rhubarb.
RHUBARB STRAWBERRY CHRUNCH
1 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
¾ c. rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. butter
4 c. sliced rhubarb
1 pt. fresh strawberries
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
1 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
Pre-heat over to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats and spices. Cut in butter. Press half of mixture into bottom of 9×13 pan. Combine rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in water and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until boiling, continue to boil 2 minutes, stirring mixture. Pour and stir over fruit. Place in pan, on crust. Top with remaining crumb mix. Bake 1 hour.
Serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt. Top with more fresh berries, if you got ‘em!