Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rhubarb Crisp – Worth Fighting For

While I was making this delicious rhubarb crisp, I had the baseball game on in the background. As I sliced the beautifully colored stalks, I wondered why, in old-school baseball lexicon, a fight between the two teams on the diamond became known as a "rhubarb?"

I would be lying if I told you I've spent a lot of time searching for an answer, but a couple times a season I'll hear the broadcaster use the term, and I'll wonder to myself, "why rhubarb?" If you know, please pass it along so I can check this off my list of useless mysteries to solve before I die.

It's on there along with, "where are all the baby pigeons?" and "why doesn't San Francisco have any good radio stations?"

If you've never tried rhubarb before, this is the recipe for you. The sweet, crisp topping taking the edge off the tart, tangy fruit – both benefiting from a creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream – this is a great, old-fashion American dessert.

I don't know why such a great ingredient is so under-used, sure the leaves are poisonous, but that doesn't stop us from eating other foods. I think we have a tough time with fruits you can't eat raw. You can’t snap off a rib of rhubarb in the garden and chomp away while watering the roses.

Who knows? But, what I do know is if you're looking for a great summery dessert that's supper easy, and a little unusual, you'll want to give this a try. Just make sure you make enough to go around.

You don’t want your guests getting into a fight over the last piece. Nothing wrecks a nice relaxing summer meal like a rhubarb rhubarb. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
3 large ribs rhubarb, diced (about 4 cups)
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat, or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
4 tbsp cold butter, diced
vanilla ice cream

26 comments:

Chanelle said...

Once again, your recipe is amazing. I already have the ingredients on the shopping list. The ice cream at the end was just plain old mean.

Charlemange said...

I love rhubarb, but it's been so hard to find lately.

Anonymous said...

I'm just so excited that you're a baseball fan! Your Giants aren't doing too bad. Let me see... how did they do against the Mariners? Oh, yeah, they lost 2 out of 3 :) (I think that was a rhubarb)
Your rhubarb crisp looks absolutely delightful!
Jackie

milkshake said...

people with oxalate kidney stones should not gorge on rhubabrb or spinach too often. Adding the ice cream supplies calcium which takes care of the oxalic acid so there is no problem, see.

Chef, your rhubarb crisp would have awed my grandma, she only did rhubarb pies

CollegeGourmet said...

That part at the end was just unnecessary. You owe me a new "drool-less" keyboard, chef! =)

irksome1 said...

I'm unclear as there appears to be a discrepancy between the way the crisp was baked and the way it was served. It looks as though the serving shown at the end of the video was an individually baked portion. If that is the case, is the baking time the same for individual portions as it would be for the larger, 2-quart version? I don't think it would be, but then, it's your recipe.

Chef John said...

no, it was baked as shown, just served in that bowl. you can bake in smaller dishes though, just about the same time, maybe a little less.

Chef John said...

i thought the oxalic acid was in the leaves?

Timo said...

Now that looks awesome! Luckily there is some rhubarb in the garden ripe for picking...

I seem to remember that my mom always peels off the rhubarb skin and apparently you didn't. Is there really any need to peel it?

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I am so making this. A co-woker just gave me a ton of rhubarb. Can't wait to try this! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

In the theater (that's THEE-ah-tah), crowd noise is often simulated by having several actors mumble the word "rhubarb" repeatedly.

Get a couple of friends over and give it a try.

So, the baseball use may come from that source, or it just may signify a big mixup.

Bob said...

Here you go Chef,
The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary defines rhubarb as 'a ruckus with the umpire(s)' or 'a fight between players or between the players and fans' and dates the first use in this sense to 1943. The term was popularized by the baseball broadcaster Red Barber, who got it either from Brooklyn-born sportswriter Garry Schumacher or from Tom Meany, another sportswriter, who said he had picked it up in a bar in Brooklyn in the late 1930s. There are a couple of variations on the theory of the Brooklyn origin, some more far-fetched than others (among them, messy rhubarb sandwiches that kids in Greenpoint threw at each other and bitter rhubarb tonic that the loser of a barroom brawl was forced to drink).

foofifofum said...

I know what I' want to bring to the 4th of July party!

Chef, If I add 1/2 c. blueberries to make this = Red-Whie (ice cream) - and Blue, would the additional berries turn it purple? Any trick to avoiding that result, besides omitting them, that is?

Chef John said...

yes, they would blend in when baked, but you could sprinkle them over fresh when serving for color and textural contrast.

Chef John said...

Thanks! those are great theories!

Food Junkie said...

Oh my God that looks good. Strawberry rhubarb pie is my most favourite desert in the entire world. You may now have given it a run for the money. Wow that looks good and has sentenced several stalks of rhubarb to an untimely demise. If only the local strawberries were ripe.

Asian-Malaysian said...

I stayed in a catered hall of residence in England when I was there for college and developed a wincing butt cringing hatred for rhubarb which Ive been trying to shake off ever since. I had never eaten anything so sour before and even the chalk-like excuse for custard didnt help much.

ladywolf said...

Oh wow, I am watching this at 2am and drooling. I first tried rhubarb last month in pie and loved it. Now going to have to try this also. Thanks

JaAnBe said...

My father has always talked of eating raw rhubarb as a child. I just recently learned he did it with an accompanying bowl of sugar.

Bassia said...

How much do I <3 you? You not only made one of my favorite deserts, you worked in baseball references, and refer to watching ice cream melt as "meditation".

John from Sweden said...

That looks great, and as always very funny presented. It´s great to follow you presentations!

Radian1978 said...

Made this recipe tonight... it was really good. Only thing I'll do different next time is make sure to use regular oats instead of the instant oats we had. But the rhubarb was perfect! Just the right amount of tart and sweet. Really excellent with the icecream. Thanks Chef John!

Emma said...

I actually LOVE going out in the garden and picking a stalk of rhubarb and munching on it raw!
That's summer to me!
Thanks for a great recipe.

Anonymous said...

made this today for mother's day. holy-friggin-crazy-delicious! it was the perfect dessert. thanks chef!!

Maida said...

can you make this in a 13x9? what size dish do you suggest?

Chef John said...

that will work!