Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Time Sweets

             Where did April go to? Working with the weather hasn't been trust worthy for the last decade, and the thought of  losing any one season just terrifies me, but the weather patterns are changing and leaning to the extreme of things, I'm not amused! It's looking like our loss of plant life from our winter isn't as bad as I thought it would be, I also thought the ticks and snakes would be less common but both have been out for weeks now, so nothing can be taken for granted.
      I did lose some rhubarb this spring, not to Mother Nature but to the tiller and a certain husband operating it, but I still have 2 plants to look forward too. One of my favorite ways to use it is in these easy and yummy bars, so if you don't have any fresh on hand, frozen works just as well. Below is my weekly newspaper article that got cut short due to ads, but it's the recipe you really want!

     The spring starlet of the Ozarks, this trophy crop with it's ruby red stalks is a true vegetable but cooked like a fruit? This gem is rhubarb!  Misunderstood,  it's one of the first crops to be harvested, tagged a perennial, the impatient gardener will have to wait until the second season to pick, but well worth the wait. Tart alone, many pair this old favorite with other fruits to sweeten the dish, but the old timers who grew up with this staple know that no matter how you eat it, it is always the first to enjoy. You can still find rhubarb growing on old homesteads, a prize in pies and jams, it's tangy taste is addicting, weather you grow it or buy it be sure to try my favorite way to use it. 

Rhubarb Bars
3 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( optional)
Grease a 13x9 baking pan and set aside.  In medium saucepan, stir together the rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 mins. Meanwhile in a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the 2 tablespoons flour. Stir this mixture into the rhubarb, cook and stir for one min. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Set aside. 
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, stir together the 1 1/2 cups flour, the oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in shortening or butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add nuts. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread rhubarb mixture over top and sprinkle with reserved crumb mix. Bake for 30-35 mins. or until top is golden brown. Cool and cut. t that's ok, t


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