2015-06-19 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Not your run of the mill rhubarb
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

Rhubarb is a vegetable, similar to celery. However, in 1947 a New York court decided that because it was used as a fruit (in pies and cakes) it was a fruit.

Fruit or vegetable, it is delicious and very versatile. It is the first brave edible that we see each spring.

I have included some recipes that are not your normal recipes for rhubarb. Give them a try. I hope you like them.

Chicken salad with rhubarb

½ cup mayonnaise; 1 teaspoon Dijonstyle mustard; ¼ teaspoon salt; 12 ounces cooked, chopped chicken; 1 cup thinly sliced fresh rhubarb; 1/3 cup thinly sliced celery; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh tarragon; 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted; 4 butter lettuce leaves; and sliced bread of your choice.

In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard and salt. Add chicken, rhubarb, celery and tarragon. Toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with lettuce and bread slices.

Strawberry rhubarb bars

Cooking spray; 1 ½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats; 1 cup all-purpose flour; ¾ cup granulated sugar; ¾ cup butter; 1 ½ cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed; 1/3 cup granulated sugar; ¼ cup water; ½ teaspoon ground ginger; and 2 cups chopped, fresh strawberries. A ginger icing recipe follows.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 by 8 by 2 inch baking pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over edges of pan.

Coat foil with cooking spray, set aside.

In a bowl stir together oats, flour and ¾ cup of the sugar. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (use fingers, if necessary to break up mixture). Remove 1 ½ cups oat mixture and set aside.

Press remaining oat mixture evenly into bottom of pan. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium saucepan combine rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, water and ½ teaspoon ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until filling is thickened and bubbly. Stir in chopped strawberries. Remove ½ cup filling; cover and set aside. Carefully spoon remaining filling over hot baked crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture, pressing lightly into rhubarb filling.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until top is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool in pan on wire rack. Lift from pan using foil. Carefully pull foil away from sides. Cut into bars. Top each with a spoonful of filling. Drizzle with ginger icing just before serving.

Makes 16 bars.

Ginger icing

¼ cup sifted powdered sugar; ¼ teaspoon ground ginger; and 3 teaspoons milk.

In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar, ground ginger and enough milk to make a drizzling consistency.

Makes about one-quarter cup.

Linguini with garlic, pepper and rhubarb

12 ounces dried linguini; 3 cups ¼-inch thick slices fresh rhubarb; 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced; 1/3 cup olive oil; 6 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1- ½ cups); 1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley; 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

In a large pot, cook linguini according to package directions in salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Place rhubarb in colander. Drain pasta over rhubarb.

In the same pot, cook garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 30 seconds or until lightly golden. Add the pasta mixture. Remove from heat. Add the 6 ounces of cheese and pasta water; toss to coat. Return to medium heat. Cook and stir until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add parsley and pepper; toss to combine. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

You now have some recipes that are out of the norm. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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