Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has really inspired me to start eating more locally and more seasonally. Those were both important to me already, but the truth is that unless you have a farm or a really fantastic garden, it’s hard to commit to eating that way. I’ve gotten really used to the availability of pretty much any food any time of year, but unfortunately I’ve also gotten used to how bad some of that produce tastes.
So, I’m trying to take advantage of our fabulous farmers market and the grocery stores that do carry Iowa-made products. One of the items we grabbed at Saturday’s market was a bundle of rhubarb. I’ve never made anything with rhubarb before, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a sugary, buttery rhubarb crisp.
I got the recipe from one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever had, called Simply in Season. I believe it was a gift from Mike’s grandparents. The recipes inside are really simple (as you might guess), and I think it’s that simplicity that makes them so good. The book is divided into seasons rather than type of food, so you can look up a recipe based on what’s at the market that week.
For this one I changed it a little bit, leaving out orange peel in the fruit mixture and using strawberries instead of sorrel. Feel free to go with the original.
**Warning: Do not make this recipe unless you are prepared to mow down a whole pan. It’s that good.
4 cups rhubarb, finely chopped
2 cups strawberries, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
Combine in large saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
1/4 cup water
3 T. cornstarch
Dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to rhubarb mixture and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
Mix together until crumbly. Place about 3-1/2 cups of crumb mixture into greased 9 X 13 pan and press to make an even layer. Pour in rhubarb/strawberry mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Cut into squares.
Top with vanilla ice cream. Try not to get too much on your face.