Rhubarb Madness

So I have been talking non-stop about the rhubarb in my garden to almost anyone who will listen. I spoke to my neighbour Bob over our fence on the weekend about how much rhubarb we have this year and that it took me til this summer to see the merits of it. I chatted my friend Kim's ear off this evening talking about the rhubarb jam I made that I have been smothering my toast, my pancakes and my yogourt with since I made it last week and I told my co-worker Rebecca about how delicious it is. Probably to the point of exhaustion...so my apologies friends and family.

I think I have a problem.

My husband has always loved Rhubarb and he would make it with custard all last summer. At the time I wasn't buying it. But this year my tastebuds did a 180 and I can't seem to get enough.

With that in mind I have been scouring cookbooks, blogs, my mom's old recipes for more ways I can twist and contort this wonderful spring time delight and thought I would share with you some of my favourite discoveries.

We will start with a recipe for Rhubarb Shrub. I love this recipe for a couple of reasons. I always love discovering something new and I had never heard of Shrub. But the other reason I love this is as I read the recipe my mouth actually started to water and I knew I had to try to make it. I even had to rush out and buy a scale. It is currently sitting in my downstairs fridge waiting for the first taste test.

The next recipe I found as I was trolling for good food blogs and came across this article in the National Post and started to click through to some of the blogs listed in it. The name of the recipe alone made me weak in the knees; Rhubarb Fool with Lavender Cream and Pistachios. Do I even need to say another word? I think not.

Then the justoposition of Rhubarb and Rosemary made me try this recipe last weekend and you wouldn't imagine this, but it tastes fabulous as a side with some roast pork. Trust me, it does...Rhubarb and Rosemary jam tastes great with pork.

Finally I will share a relatively simple recipe that my friend Allen shared with me last year. I sadly can not tell you if this is an original creation of his or if it is family recipe or something he got out of a cookbook. I just know that as he said when he sent it to me, that it is a winner:

Roasted Rhubarb Tarts with Strawberry Sauce
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17 1/4-ounces package), thawed
1 lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 (10-ounces) package frozen strawberries in heavy syrup, thawed
3/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Bake pastry:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Unfold puff pastry sheet and gently roll out with a floured rolling pin on a very lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. Trim edges with a sharp knife, then cut pastry into 6 rectangles (about 6 by 4 inches each). Arrange rectangles 1 to 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and prick them all over with a fork.

Bake in middle of oven until pastry is puffed and golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool pastry on baking sheet on a rack.

Roast rhubarb while pastry is cooling:
Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
Arrange rhubarb in 1 layer in a lightly oiled shallow 15- by 10-inch baking pan (preferably nonstick) and
sift 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar evenly over it. Roast in middle of oven until tender, 15 to 25 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack.
Make strawberry sauce and cream filling while rhubarb is roasting: Purée strawberries with syrup in a food processor, then force purée through a very fine sieve into a bowl.
Sift 5 tablespoons confectioners sugar over crème fraîche and whisk to combine.

Assemble tarts:
Sift remaining tablespoon confectioners sugar over pastry rectangles. Make a 3-inch lengthwise trough in the center of each rectangle by gently tapping with back of a teaspoon. Divide cream filling among troughs and top with rhubarb, then drizzle with strawberry sauce.

Cooks' note:
Strawberry sauce and cream filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled separately, covered.

So now go forth and buy fresh rhubarb at the closest Farmer's Market to you, climb over your neighbours fence in the cover of darkness and pick some (unless you are my neighbour of course :)) and make something delicious with rhubarb.

Then we can talk about our addiction together and I won't feel so alone.