Let’s Cook: Rhubarb, Photographs and More
Each one of us has experienced lists of things we should do before we depart this world, and the lists seem to be ever growing! Here is one simple pleasure you need to place on your list: step into a rhubarb patch and let the leaves tickle your legs, feel their coolness and admire their elephant ear-shaped leaves with even color tone and ruffled edges. After these moments of relaxation, comes the work. First, we need to understand that seasonal baking is special. I know one can freeze rhubarb and have it in December, but it is nothing like the fresh rhubarb of June that has shared a merry dance with your yellow iris bed. Certain fruits are just meant for summer. The spring rains and the summer sun make them worth waiting for. Bright rhubarb is absolutely one on the worth-waiting-for list. The tall, firm stalks of rhubarb sport the pleasing color tone palette of spring green, cherry red and sometimes champagne pink. Reflecting on the wonderful baking that can be done with this abundant seasonal fruit, sets one’s taste buds frolicking.
If this merriment happens to you, please consider cavorting with some rhubarb treats at the Prairie Village Museum in Rugby at their Rhubarb Festival which will be held Sunday, June 28 from noon until 4 p.m. This is there third year of presenting rhubarb lovers a buffet of delightful treats to enjoy for a reasonable fee.
The Prairie Village Museum is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and they have a wonderful summer schedule planned to mark their golden anniversary. The 27 authentically restored buildings await your arrival to help them celebrate!
June 4 they presented to the public the newly completed Old Main Gallery space which is currently displaying “Ghost of Hope.” This photography exhibit showcases old and historic farms near Rugby. It features many stunning black and white photographs, as well as some color photographs presented by more than 20 photographers from throughout the United States.
As you enter the gallery, you will be greeted by a wooden copy of the Geographical Center Monument. It creates a warm welcome, and I learned recently while visiting with museum curator, Cathy Jelsing, that this treasure came from their storage area known as the “Lumber Yard.”
Dan Smith, a local photographer and exhibit curator, has some of his impressive images on display. I have known Dan for several years, and his knowledge of photography and the art of printing is impressive. I consider him to be the Ansel Adams of Pierce County.
There are a group of pictures that feature the former Oppen Tourist Court. The rainbow colored cabins on Highway 2 west of Rugby are familiar to many travelers. Photographer Dorothea Eiben from Maine has done textural study of what remains of the once popular roadside lodge. One photograph features a light green, drop-leaf wooden table with matching chairs. I cannot look at it without feeling nostalgic as it reminds me of Grandma’s table complete with the vintage table cloth showcasing one of her favorite rhubarb desserts.
There are several things in season in Rugby for one to enjoy. The Rhubarb Festival and the photographic exhibit which is displayed under impressive lighting are also worth putting on your bucket list.
Easy Rhubarb Pie
This pie will have a wonderful creamy texture, and the red sugar gives it a nice appearance which plays well off the white meringue.
1 cup chopped rhubarb
3 egg yolks beaten slightly (reserve egg whites)
1 cup sugar
cup red sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together, adding rhubarb last, and bake in your favorite pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees and then lower to 350 degrees until done about another 40 minutes or so. Use eggs whites for meringue beating them into soft peaks adding 4 tablespoons of sugar one at a time along with teaspoon of cream of tartar continue beating until stiff. Place on top of warm pie and seal to the edge and return to oven until slightly brown.
Another easy and tasty recipe to make with rhubarb
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons
cup melted butter plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped sweet apple with peeling on
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water (with a tablespoon of lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar, melted butter, oatmeal, and cinnamon together until crumbly. Press half of the crumbs into the bottom and part way up the sides of a greased 9 x 13″ pan. Reserve remaining crumbs.
Spread chopped rhubarb and apples over oatmeal layer. In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch, water (with lemon added) and vanilla. Bring to a good boil stirring and cooking until thickened. Pour over rhubarb and apples evenly.
Spread reserved crumbs on the top and bake for 45-60 minutes. This is excellent served warm.
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