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5 loaves
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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

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June 13, 2021

6/4/2021 1:45:00 PM
My own spin on rhubarb recipes

Last week, our old pal Alice Nelson made her first of what I can only hope is many cameos in this column. She let me know that it was rhubarb season and boy I felt silly not realizing that.

Rhubarb season really struck me last week when I headed down to Deutschland Meats for one of their daily lunch specials and Martin, the owner, happened to serve me and was just sorting through a big delivery of rhubarb he had just gotten. He graciously packed a grocery bag full of rhubarb for me to take home and try some of it out on recipes.

I wanted to get in on the rhubarb recips after reading Alice’s delicious concoctions last week — I was so close to making the rhubarb and cream cheese pie over the weekend, but didn’t have all the ingredients at home.

But, here are some of my favorite rhubarb recipes that I’ve made over the years, including one that isn’t necessarily in season, but if you clip and save it for once your pepper plants are ripe, it’s totally worth it!

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This first one is a little bit long, but if you put in the love and a little bit of effort, it’s oh-so-good! From the unique pecan crushed pie crust to the sweet combination of rhubarbs and strawberries — this one is decadent and to die for! And also, I’m a sucker for anything and everything to do with cheesecake.

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
Dash kosher salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cubed
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. 2 or 1% milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash kosher salt
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten

1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1-1/3 c. chopped fresh strawberries
1-1/3 c. sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an eight-inch square baking pan with parchment, letting ends extend up sides. In a small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans.

Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges just begin to brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake until filling is set, 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

For jam, in a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add strawberries, rhubarb and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until mixture begins to thicken, 6-8 minutes. Cool completely. Spread over filling. Refrigerate until set, eight hours or overnight.
Using parchment, carefully remove cheesecake from baking pan. Cut into bars for serving. Serves 9-12 people.

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I’ve talked a little bit in this space before about how my dad is a wonderful cook when he actually does it. He doesn’t do it often, but it knocked vegetable beef soup out of the park this winter, and I don’t even typically like that soup!

I haven’t had this recipe in quite some time, but this is one my grandma and my dad both made a lot when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of it.
3 c. coarsely chopped fresh rhubarb (about 12 ounces)
2 tbsp. plus 1-3/4 c. sugar, divided
1 c. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8x4-in. loaf pans.

Toss rhubarb with two tablespoons sugar; let stand while preparing batter.

In a large bowl, beat oil, eggs, vanilla and remaining sugar until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into oil mixture (batter will be thick). Stir in rhubarb mixture and, if desired, pecans.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Makes two loaves, and serves 12-20 slices, depending on thickness.

I’m a sucker for any bread — banana, lemon blueberry, pumpkin — but that sweet, tangy rhubarb bread always reminds me of the spring and summertime growing up in North St. Paul.

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Aly and I got into jams and jellies last year! We love spicy stuff and took a stab at using our habaneros, ghost peppers and jalapenos for a lot of jams to give out as gifts.

I’ll keep the really spicy recipes in my pocket as I know ghost peppers and habaneros aren’t for everyone.

But, we made this in the late summer once our peppers had ripened, and we used leftover frozen rhubarb from the spring. It was delicious. Spicy jams are best used with cream cheese on a butter cracker, but if you really dig the spicy flavor, they go just as well on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or your morning toast.

This recipe does take some unorthodx testing, but since it doesn’t use pectin, it’s a step that is needed to get the right jam consistency.

3 c. fresh raspberries
1 c. chopped rhubarb (roughly 1 stalk)
1 large jalapeno pepper, chopped
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Place a small dish in the freezer to use for testing the jam.

In a large deep skillet, add raspberries, rhubarb, jalapeno, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Once boiling, cook until it thickens, about 10 minutes.

When it is has thickened up, take your bowl out of the freezer. Put a small spoonful of the jam into the bowl and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, keep cooking in 1-2 minute increments. If it moves slow, it is done.

Transfer to a heat-proof container. Cool to room temperature. If not canning, use within two weeks. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.

TFD: “You do not find the happy life, you make it!”

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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

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