Imagination is the highest form of research.
― Albert Einstein
You know it’s a good life when you’ve got great neighbors. Let’s hear it for great friends and neighbors, shall we?
When it comes to our hood, we’ve lucked out to the max, as was evidenced by the large bushel of blushingly gorgeous rhubarb that was harvested across the lane and delivered to my back deck this past week (thanks Brian!).
But before we dive into this gorgeous recipe, I’ve got to say a very special thank you to another kind of friend.
The blogging kind!
Feel free to pay her a visit to see what was up with this salad I enjoyed this past week. It’s a goodie!
Thanks so much to Sarah for the wonderfully kind invite – and welcome to any Diva readers who may be visiting IPOM for the 1st time!
“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars”
― Serbian proverb
This rhubarb gifting came to me just as I had picked up a magazine dedicated to spring recipes – it’s easy to stumble upon delightful ways to use asparagus, rhubarb, nettles, and the many other wonderful spring foods that come at this time of year here in Canada.
I made a few alterations, based on what I had on hand, and went straight to work – reserving the remaining rhubarb to stew and use later (I grew up eating it with plain yoghurt for dessert).
The result was a beautiful, date square like dessert, with a bright gooey filling and gorgeous light texture.
All over town now, there are shoots of rhubarb plants exploding in backyard gardens everywhere.
I’ve never made space to plant it in my small backyard garden, and I figure as long as Brian’s across the lane I won’t need to
I used real butter in this version as the recipe called for, but I would be delighted to see it veganized with coconut butter too.
There is no other dairy in the recipe at all, so making this adjustment would be easy!
Less far away fruit desserts means easy ways to eat local. Less tough to find ingredients means using what’s on hand, so you can get to work as soon as harvest is done. Less heavily sweet and cakey desserts means savoring without filling up, so you can still feel the pleasure long after you are done.
More rhubarb means more fresh, lively flavor. More local food means less carbon, and less cost to the planet and your pocketbook. More neighborly ways means stronger community, and more yummy desserts means inviting them over is easy.
Spring Rhubarb Almond Bars:
Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine
- 6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 6 thick stalks)
- (3/4) cup brown sugar
- (1) tsp grated orange zest
- (1/3) cup fresh orange juice
- (1) tbsp all purpose flour
- (1.5) cups quick oats (not instant)
- (2/3) cup all purpose flour
- (1) cup brown sugar
- (3/4) tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- (2/3) cold butter, cubed
- (4) tbsp sliced or slivered almonds, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees and get a 9 inch square cake pan ready (no need to oil it).
In a large saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients – rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and flour – and bring to a boil with the lid on. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered until the mixture is reduced to 1 3/4 cups or so – about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to stir regularly to keep the mixture from burning at the bottom.
Once cooked and reduced, turn the heat off and allow to cool for a few minutes, about 10 – 15 minutes or so.
While the rhubarb cooks, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. With fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter (I always use my hands for this – nature’s tools – but that’s just me!).
Press 2/3 of the mixture into the cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 2 minutes. remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before adding the rhubarb mixture.
Add the cooled rhubarb mixture to the pan and spread until it is even.
Next, add the chopped almonds to the remaining crumble mixture, and gently press together into small clumps. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling and distribute evenly.
Bake at 350 until the crumble is golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
~ Bob Marley
Cut the cold butter into the bowl with a knife. Get ready to mix it all together.
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
~ Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
Crumble it all up until the mixture is well-integrated – making sure there are no large chunks of butter or sugar left straggling around in there.
I get in there like a kid in the dirt. I don’t like to wear gloves to garden either, do you?
Press the 2/3 of the mixture into the pan as tightly as you can. This will be the base for this wonderful yummy filling!
I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.
― Helen Keller
Let this mixture cool before adding it to the base – about 15 minutes or so.
Try not to eat too much of it as it does this (but do be sure to eat a little).
You never fail until you stop trying.
~ Albert Einstein
Any almonds will do for this, sliced, slivered, even chopped whole almonds if that is what’s on hand.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
The result, a beautiful pan of (neighborly) spring goodness. Worthy of stopping to enjoy with friends, neighbors and family.
Serve these with or without vanilla ice cream, and give some to your neighbors (or not).
These guys will keep in a container or tin at room temperature – I am sure they would make a rather smashing breakfast served alongside some cashew cream or thick greek yoghurt.
How’s that for versatility?
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
I can’t wait for the next harvest from across the lane! Truthfully, Brian has got a pretty sweet garden and so I just might head over there with these bars awfully soon.
They just might be good enough to keep him delivering more of his earthly goodies
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
~ John Lennon
I hope each and every one of you had a fabulous weekend – next up, I’ll share with you a kick ass salad recipe inspired this week by a gift from another great friend of mine!
It features a favorite of mine that I haven’t posted about for a while…yep….it’s kale!
So stay tuned it’s that good.
- Are you gearing up to use rhubarb this spring or better yet, do you grow it?
- What is your favorite rhubarb or spring dessert recipe?
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did – and thanks again for reading and for your comments! I had a lot of fun with the last post and got more than a few awesome ideas for not only making but seasoning popcorn. Thank you!
Wishing you all a truly fabulous week – PS – I am traveling again (this time to the TDOT aka Toronto) so I might be spotty with my comments – I’ll be back the end of the week though!
Yours in Less (from out east),