Rhubarb season once again

The rhubarb plant is up and happy and healthy. We just have the one plant, and every year I pretty much strip it to make a few rhubarb items. Here's a picture before I had my way with it:

So what to do with rhubarb? It's simple enough to just make rhubarb sauce by boiling small pieces with sugar and water. Excellent stirred into yogurt or over vanilla ice cream. But doing the simple thing is not always my way. I really wanted another Bebop-A-Rebop Rhubarb Pie like I made last year. It's Michael Ruhlman's "3-2-1" recipe and it's GOOD. (And I think he got the name from A Prairie Home Companion, which was the first thing that came up when I searched for the recipe.)

The pie turned out very well. Grammie S, who was visiting, said it was the best rhubarb pie she'd ever tasted! It was the flakiest and best pie crust I've ever made, though I don't know why. Maybe it was because I put in the full 5 ounces of ice-water, although it seemed rash at the time. The result was almost puff-pastry like, with lots of layers and loft.

I also made a batch of rhubarb tapioca, a depression-era USDA recipe courtesy of Recession Depression Therapy. I suspect that the organic tapioca I used was not quick-cooking, as required, since the little pearls never really became translucent when using the double-boiler method.

Rhubarb tapioca is... strange. It definitely has a depression-era austerity to it. And yet after a dish of this stuff, I strangely no longer craved my usual nightly bowl of chocolate ice cream.

One last note on rhubarb: As I was picking stems for the tapioca the words "pie plant" jumped into my head. It was something I'd read about in the Little House series. Something Ma used to bake with. I finally looked it up just before starting this post and learned that pie plant is none other than... rhubarb.

What are your favorite things to do with rhubarb?


Alice said...

Strawberry rhubarb pie is in my "top 5 favorite things my mom makes" list. I am not a big dessert person and I also make a point of avoiding any and all fruit related desserts. I have failed twice at replicating my mom's pie, and am afriad to do it again. it comes out too mooshy and watery. the flavor is there-but the delivery sucks. I'll have to look at your recipe. So the pie is #1, and #2 is just eating it cooked..with sugar, sort of a pink sweet-tart mash. I love that smack.

Peggy said...

I can honestly say that I've never cooked with rhubarb, but after checking out that pie and tapioca, I just may have to start!

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

I've never cooked or eaten rhubarb though I've had a life long fascination with it. It looks like pink celery but is cooked into desserts! You have no idea how the thought fries my brain LOL

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Pink celery, I love it! Alice, thanks for sharing rhubarb memories, strawb season is beginning too YAY! Peggy, let us know if you do cook something rhubarby!