Rhubarb, greens and chicken – Oh My!

Greens –

Looks like the 2015 growing season has officially taken off! It is exciting to have so many lovely greens already in our fridge from our Omache Farm CSA share. Last week we got lettuce, spinach, arugula and kale, not to mention two different stir-fry greens(!) – they were all beautiful and have been especially great for revitalizing salads of all kinds! I have also fallen head over heels for spring garlic this year. Fall-planted last year, they look and use a lot like a garlic-flavored leek and are generally amazing!

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Chicken –

We also picked up our first pasture-raised chickens of the season from Link’d Hearts Ranch. Beginning our second year with these guys, it is always fun to hear about progress on the farm while we pick up our chickens. We roasted one as soon as we got it home and just like last year’s batch, it was astonishingly flavorful! I can’t wait to post some more chicken recipes!

Another fun highlight at last week’s Moscow Farmer’s Market is that we found some rhubarb!

Rhubarb in Lesotho –

Back in our Peace Corps Days, coming out of winter was a lot more stark than it is here with our lovely grocery stores to buffer the seasonal transition by bringing in food from warmer climes. Lucky for us, in sooo many ways, we had our lovely friends and neighbors, the retired Sisters of Mamolopoli Infirmary at Most Holy Redeemer Mission. They often helped us get our fresh food fix through the lean times of early-spring. We would come home from a visit to them with a basket full of stinging nettle, red root pigweed and/or lambsquarters from our dearest friend Sister Magdelena’s garden that also happened to have at its periphery – rhubarb. Rhubarb is not a traditional food for Lesotho, it had been brought to our friend’s garden by the sisters from Europe/Canada who helped to establish the convent. When I saw it for the first time, I jumped for joy. Partially because we hadn’t eaten any fruit for at least a week (rhubarb has lots of great nutrition, including vitamin C,

An American country-side staple for generations, rhubarb is not a traditional food in Lesotho. It had been brought to our friend’s garden by the sisters from Europe/Canada who helped to establish the convent. When I saw the unmistakeable plants for the first time, I jumped for joy. Partially because we hadn’t eaten any fruit for at least a week (rhubarb has lots of great nutrition, including vitamin C, potassium and calcium)! It was not only a wonderful treat to eat the rhubarb, but was a great opportunity to exchange recipes with the Sisters on its preparation. Though one of my life’s regrets was not getting The Rhubarb cookbook in 2009, when we attended the “Rhubarb Festival” in Conrad, MT, we still had plenty of recipes to share. One of the favorites for all of us, was a rhubarb version inspired by this Megascone recipe from my all-time favorite food blog, 101 Cookbooks!

What to do with our find?

So, when we found the rhubarb at the Farmer’s Market, Shane got really excited for me to make the rhubarb megascone. Not having a ton of time, especially because we went out to the 5th Birthday of Paradise Creek Brewery – yay!, I made a cheater version and turned it into more of a cobbler. Then, I looked at my leftover, already-sliced rhubarb, and was inspired to make a deluxe version of the cobbler as well that morphed into a oatmeal/bread pudding parfait thing – check out both versions and either can be eaten as breakfast or desert, depending on what you are into.

First Rhubarb of Spring Double Duty Cobbler-

A pretty simple recipe here consists of prepping the rhubarb filling and then a separate bread-like topping:

Basic Cobbler:

Wash and slice the rhubarb

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Then, toss the sliced rhubarb with about 1 cup of sugar (or honey) per pound of rhubarb. Quantities can be adjusted for according to tastes and preferences for sweetness and favorite type of sweetener. Now add about 1 Tbs lemon juice, and set aside

20150530_170950This is the gluten-free, vegan version so here I’m using a combination of coconut oil and earth balance to mix into my gluten-free flour blend (that also has 1 1/2 tsp of each baking powder, baking soda and salt). These ingredients can easily be replaced by butter and regular flour if desired. Now, use a fork or a dough slicer like this one:

Now, use a fork or a dough slicer like this one:

 Image result for kitchen tools dough slicer

To make crumbs of the dough. then add milk (cow, goat, almond, hemp… whatever

Then add milk (cow, goat, almond, hemp… whatever your like) just until the dough is moist but still has structure.

Put rhubarb in a buttered up baking dish (3/4 lbs of rhubarb I put into a 9×9 dish).

Use a fork to drop small clumps of the topping evening around the dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the top is cooked and golden-brown.

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This is good with ice-cream, including dairy-free, or even coconut whipped cream!

Deluxe Breakfast Version:

I had about 2 cups of sliced, lemon/honey  rhubarb left

So I added 1 cup of frozen cherries and some frozen figs that I had on hand (making way in the freezer for the second chicken!)

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To the remaining 1 cup of topping, I added 2 cups of oats, 1 cup of walnuts some cinnamon and chia seeds.

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Then, I oiled/buttered up my oven-proof glass pitcher and put 1/3 of the topping in the bottom

Next, I layered half of the rhubarb mixture followed by the second 1/3 of the topping and the rest of the rhubarb went on top of that and then the last of the topping finished it all off.

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This was baked for 1 hour at 350 degrees – until it was done. We had this delicious and hearty parfait/cobbler for both dessert and breakfast!

I suspect that both the topping and fruit filling for the deluxe version would be pretty amenable to many adaptions -let us know how it goes in the comments below. If you have other great recipes for rhubarb, please share those in the comments too!

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Here is Sister Magdelena giving oranges to students from the local primary school-

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And though figs aren’t local here in the PCW – this was “our” fig tree for two years in Lesotho. Their leaves are so cool!

Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for always helping to clean up the mess I make!

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