Thursday, May 24, 2012

Martin (and me!) on: Rhubarb

I'm SO excited to welcome my first (and let's face it, probably my only) guest blogger today! My dear husband Martin did something pretty neat-o with some of our rhubarb, so I kindly demanded that he share it with you all! Who's ready for some... rhubarb pickles??

My guest blogger, Martin, displaying his fine work!

Martin: Linnea and I were driving back from Mackinac while she was flipping through a Rachael Ray magazine she hadn't read yet. She pointed out this recipe and I knew I wanted to try it. I made it on a day when she was working for 14 hours (thus no process pictures!), and we've really enjoyed the finished product! 

I think it's a good way to utilize the rhubarb that grows in our backyard. I love anything that is pickled in vinegar, and it sounded easy enough, so I gave it a try. I liked that it didn't have to be the youngest rhubarb, as other vegetables that you pickle often call for bright or young produce. I would describe the taste of the finished product as tart, with a sweet brine, and the ginger gives it a little zip! (Note: Linnea's favorite part is the pickled ginger! We are thinking about using this recipe to pickle our own ginger at home - stay turned for THAT!)

I did an experiment by substituting lemon juice from the zested lemon for the acid rather than the vinegar. We haven't opened that jar yet, but I figure it will just taste a LOT more like lemons. (We'll let you know if this was a GOOD experiment or a BAD experiment when we open it up!)

Quick Rhubarb Pickles
(Makes three jars - 10 oz each)
2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbsp coarse salt (he used sea salt)
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
10 whole cloves
10 who black peppercorns
1 piece (1 1/2 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon
1 lb fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces

In a nonreactive medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, cloves and peppercorns. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is just dissolved, about five minutes. Add the ginger, then use a vegetable peeler to slice strips of zest from the lemon; add to the saucepan. 

Let the liquid cool to room temperature, or about thirty minutes. Divide the rhubarb among three clean, small glass jars. Ladle in the cooled brine mixture. Top with lids and refrigerate the pickles for two days before eating. The pickles will keep refrigerated for up to one month! 

The finished product! Ta-da!

Might I take this moment to thank Martin for (begrudgingly) sharing his kitchen experiment! Thank you sweetie! I would also like to say just how much I LOVE the background of the shot above in the kitchen! I have always been enamored with our built-in cupboard in our kitchen. It used to be where the old wood burning stove lived in the kitchen (once upon a time), and the cupboard ends where the exposed brick fireplace shaft begins! Beautiful AND functional as we use it as storage for our cookbooks - perfection! We just got all the glass jars on the shelves to store our bulk goods from the co-op. Two of the three shelves display grains, lentils, and nuts now! SO pretty! Swoon! And now, back to rhubarb!

I may or may not have bribed my darling hubby to join us here by agreeing to make him a strawberry rhubarb pie. He actually ended up making the pie filling himself while I finished up the blog on yogurt yesterday! I swooped in to make the BEST DARN CRUST in the history of crusts, and to finish up the rest of the pie too. I actually remembered to take pictures, woo hoo! 

A dear friend of the family spearheaded a project to collect favorite recipes from our friends and family as a wedding gift for us. She typed each one up, added graphics, helpful kitchen tips, and quotes, and created a masterpiece of a cookbook for us! My mother submitted my grandmother's crust (the only crust I EVER make) and rhubarb filling recipe to this treasury. Martin and I had some strawberries in the fridge (next time I hope they are from our backyard!) so we decided to make this into a strawberry rhubarb pie... excellent choice my friends. Excellent choice! 

I have NO IDEA how someone could mess up this pie crust, but the quote from my grandmother that accompanies this recipe says, "I do not guarantee my crust recipe as others have tried and failed!" It has NEVER done me wrong, so I hope that you will try it out!

Grandma Strom's Pie Crust  (Measurements for top and bottom crusts)
(Sift/combine ingredients directly into pie plate)
2 cups flour 
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

(In a separate bowl)
2/3 cup Wesson oil
3 tbsp. cold milk

Mix oil and milk with a fork, then pour onto flour mixture and mix with hands. Take off about 1/3 for top crust and set aside. Press remaining crust into pie plate. 

Easy peasy! That's it! If you are making a fruit pie, you don't even need to pre-bake it - it will turn golden brown when you cook the pie up! :) I would have taken step-by-step pictures, but my fingers were quite... gross. Here it is before the filling goes in though! 

Mmm! Pie crust & strawberry rhubarb filling just begging to be baked!

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (4 cups if JUST doing rhubarb!)
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup sugar (recipe called for 1 3/4 cups, but we balked at that! One cup was a perfect amount for us!)
2 eggs
4 tbsp flour

Cut pieces to roughly 1/2 inch pieces. Mix flour, sugar, and eggs together and add to strawberry rhubarb mixture. Pour into pie shell.

The flour/egg/sugar mixture makes it look like there is less fruit in here than there actually is!

Crumble remaining crust on top or roll out and cover with lattice strips. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour.

Crumble, crumble, dot, dot!

We kept busy while it was cooking! I did an experiment with the remaining strawberries for a few new summer porridge recipes! The one I tried this morning had 1/4 cup of strawberries, 1 tsp. of vanilla, and 1-2 tsp of honey in it. It was SOOO tasty! I also made one that had 1 tbsp of jam in it. We don't have strawberry jam on hand right now, so I used the last of the Poor Rock Monastery Pincherry jam. I'll let you know how it tastes! The monks run THE BEST bakery/jam shop in the UP called The Jam Pot. We are absolutely addicted to their jam, and gave it as gifts for Christmas just to create a new throng of addicts! :) A MUST VISIT if you are joining us in the copper country! And now, for the fresh from the oven glamour shot:

Oooohhh, Ahhhhh! So perfect!

I had to run to the store to pick up some eggs since we used the last two in the pie, and of course it was a ridiculous trip, as usual. I can NEVER find what I want at the store that is closest to us, which is why we do all our shopping at the co-op and Walmart (I'm ashamed to admit, but it is true!). There are a couple of great grocery stores in the area, but the one near us? TERRIBLE! And expensive! But I will only link using the power of GOOD, not evil, thus I shan't name the store! I did, however, snag us some vanilla ice cream to go with the pie! Best choice ever, duh! 

We are officially pie geniuses! 

I felt a lot of pressure since I made it sound like this was going to be a cornucopia of rhubarb recipes today... and it's so not! SO I did some internet research, and my stars! Someone else has already been there and DONE THAT on their blog, so you should check HER stuff out - because it's awesome! I'm pretty pleased that I did this search because Tasty Kitchen looks like a site that I'm going to truly adore! Enjoy your rhubarb ladies and gents - time for more pie! 

Yooper love!



  1. Stumbled across this recipe this morning, and thought maybe it could be another use for your rhubarb. Keep on blogging!

    1. OMG that sounds sooo sinfully delicious! I'll add it to our list of ideas! Thanks Carrie!