The birds are singing at 4:08 a.m. The sun is rising 10 minutes later. The trees have leafed out completely, except for the Godforsaken black walnut tree in the back corner of our yard. The garden is half planted, and my onions and potatoes are some seriously happy fellas. For now. I have to stay far away from the onion bed because I am really tempted to pull up an onion or two to see what the bulbs are looking like these days.
And it is the season of rhubarb. There is a little roadside stand between my town and the ‘city’ to the north of us, and every spring I hold my breath as I drive by in anticipation of the day the rhubarb is for sale. And when it is, I go there every day, and buy whatever of the stuff the nice man has to offer. I am such a serious rhubarb purchaser that I make sure I have plenty of ones and fives in my pocket, to be ready for any amount that is in the basket. That man makes a killing off of me and the other Daytons. He even watches for my car so that he knows when to go pick more. That is what he told me.
We like rhubarb three ways: Rhubarb Crisp, Rhubarb Pie, and Rhubarb Sauce. We do not like rhubarb raw. Please do not wonder why and then go try some raw rhubarb. Your taste buds will not forgive you for YEARS! I only know one fella who ate raw rhubarb and lived to tell about it. It’s just gross, and unsanitary, and it makes my tongue hurt to think about it, so please restrain yourself.
Here’s the rhubarb crisp I make:
- 2 pounds of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup-1 cup sugar (we like it tart, but adjust according to your tastes)
Put in an 8×8 or 9×9 (that’s inches) pan.
In a separate bowl, combine the following ingredients and mix together with your fingers, two knives or a pastry blender:
- 2 cups regular rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (you could use shortening, but I will never understand that choice)
Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the fruit mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or a tall glass of milk.