In season: Rhubarb

I’m not a cook: let’s just kick off with that little fact. It’s not because I’m terrible at it–I just haven’t really had any experience (I didn’t come from a fam of cooks, and while both sets of grandparents were excellent bakers, I was too young and silly to pay close attention). Since having children, I’ve put it into my head to become a better cook, for their sake. I don’t mean slave over a hot stove and all that jazz, but I do want to master some basic things (i.e. like how to know when meat is properly cooked and other important things fro survival). Since moving to the farm a couple of years ago, I’ve been flush with a ton of nature’s bounty, from several variations of apples to blueberries to rhubarb and of course, pears. I’ve made it my mission to actually use these ingredients this year, so my first endeavour was to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, which just so happened to be my first pie EVER. And surprise: it’s not as hard as you think!!

I made three of them using the rhubarb cut from the garden, and organic frozen strawberries that I picked up from Costco, although next time, I’ll track down a local source and use some of those. I was shocked to see the price of rhubarb at the grocery store (it’s about $4 CAD for three stalks of rhubarb, where as each pie takes about four cups, generally). I’d say the best thing is to plant one in your backyard, and go from there. They are perennials, so they come up every year and literally take no maintenance, but you’ve got to cut the stalks before they flower, otherwise the taste gets a little bitter. Also, the leaves are poisonous FYI, so don’t get all adventurous and eat them.

I used this recipe from the Food Network, but I’m definitely looking for a few new ideas, so I’m going to pilfer my cookbooks when I have a bit of time. The thing I love most about this particular recipe was that a) I did not have to boil the rhubarb first and b) the crumble was amazing!! My son helped me roll the dough, which was a real kicker, because we both had NO IDEA what we were doing.

Here are some other recipes I’d recommend for beginners looking to amp up their baking roster:

Head over to the blog Wood and Spoon: she makes an amazing one-it’s actually the next one I’m going to try and make. This blog actually inspired me to get a little more into baking. And also, its photography is top notch.

This cobbler, over at Two Peas and their Pod and finally, Food and Wine’s clafoutis recipe, which I love because you can drop in whatever berry is in season. Minimalist Baker has an excellent breakdown for rhubarb margaritas as well as some tasty simple treats, too, if you want to stay simple.

Happy baking, beginners!!

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