I love spring vegetables. Maybe it’s just from living in the northern parts of the United States and having frozen and canned vegetables all winter long… When spring arrives and the first few signs of vegetables sprout through the ground, I get excited to start using them in my cooking. As I clear out the last few vegetables from winter in the freezer, I start to put together my spring dessert recipes as well. And, with summer, it’s nice to brighten up the work day, reward friends who help me move, and use some fresh vegetables.
At my parents home growing up, we almost always had rhubarb readily available. If you’ve seen it out in the wild, or in someone’s garden, you know that it looks somewhat similar to swiss chard. However, this vegetable has poisonous leaves. The stalks, though, when cooked have an amazing color and flavor. At the Fisher’s Club, Alice makes World-Famous Rhubarb Pie, as you’ve maybe heard referenced on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion shows. In my house, we’ve often made rhubarb jam or rhubarb bars.
Well, to bring some sweet treats into work, I decided to make Rhubarb Bars for my colleagues.
I generally start the filling before I mix the crust. To do so, you need to chop the rhubarb:
This is what it looks like when the filling starts cooking on the stove:
4 c chopped rhubarb
1 ½ c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ c water
Cook filling until fibers break down and sauce thickens to a jelly or jam consistency. Add 1 tsp vanilla.
1 ½ c oatmeal
1 c margarine
1 c brown sugar
½ tsp soda
1 ½ c flour
Mix together all ingredients in crust until crumbly. Put ¾ of the crust into a 9×13 pan. Pour rhubarb mixture over the crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over filling and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.