[See those teensy flecks of red scattered throughout these scones? Could they be. . . ??]
June is here, so you know what that means: another S.O.S. (Sweet or Savory) Kitchen Challenge! Kim from from Affairs of Living and I are excited to be hosting our third event this month. First we challenged you to use beets. Last month we asked you to get creative with spinach. And this month, get out those chef’s toques so you can cook up something delicious with. . .
Like Kim, I am a huge fan of rhubarb (though I may not mention it quite as often as she does on her blog) . Rhubarb is a staple during spring and early summer, and features in a huge variety of recipes.
A relative of buckwheat, rhubarb is botanically a vegetable yet most often treated like a fruit. It is generally used in sweet dishes and is rarely–if ever–eaten alone due to its tart, sour flavor. In fact, it is nicknamed the “pie plant” because it is most often used in pies.
Rhubarb originated in Western China, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia and other areas of Central Asia. The root was used primarily for medicinal purposes, considered a powerful treatment for a number of ailments. In the the eighteenth century, rhubarb began to be consumed in foods in Europe, primarily drinks and meat stews (so let’s not forget the “savory” aspect of this ingredient!).
By the end of the eighteenth century, rhubarb was introduced to the United States. It is now a popular crop, and many people have thriving plants in the backyard! Besides being delicious in things like cookies, compotes, scones, and bars, rhubarb has a number of nutritional benefits. It is low in sugar and carbohydrates and is a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin A. It is thought to reduce risk of cancer, may have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure, may help reduce hot flashes and has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-allergy properties. Not bad for a lowly vegetable! Unfortunately, it is also high in oxalic acid, so if you are oxalate sensitive, you might wish to hold back.
Rhubarb is most sweet and tender in spring, but can grow late into the summer if kept well watered and if the weather isn’t too hot. When selecting rhubarb, pick firm stalks with the deepest red color. Once picked, wrap loosely in a plastic bag, and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to about a week and a half. When you are ready to prepare it, cut off and discard and leaves. Never eat the rhubarb leaf–it is actually poisonous, due to the high level of oxalates and other toxins! After discarding the leaves, trim from stem and leaf end of the stalk, and then chop or slice the remaining stalk to pieces to the desired size. Use fresh immediately, or freeze for later use.
My first submission this month is the culmination of my little obsession with a recent biscuit recipe by Celiac Teen. Her millet flour-based biscuits had been on my mind ever since I saw the original recipe. When we received a bunch of rhubarb in our organic box last week, my first thought was to make my habitual rhubarb compote–nice enough, to be sure, but perhaps a bit insipid, and something I could cook up in my sleep*.
Then Lauren’s biscuits came to mind again, and I decided to add chopped rhubarb to the dough. The result was a perfect breakfast quick bread, tender and not too sweet, dotted throughout with a refreshing jolt of tangy rhubarb; a pleasant, gentle means to rouse you from a morning lethargy, like waking to the clock radio set to music rather than the blaring buzz tone. I slathered some organic coconut oil over these and was happy for hours.
And be sure to check out Kim’s kickoff submission–a fabulous looking Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumb Cake (and a heartwarming story about how rhubarb has figured prominently in her family history!).
For even more delicious rhubarb inspiration, check out some of these fellow food bloggers’ recipes:
- Rhubarb and Strawberry Lemonade from David and Luise at Green Kitchen Stories
- Orange Rhubarb Butter from Food in Jars
- Your Best Rhubarb Recipe Contest from Food 52 (a MASSIVE assortment of incredible rhubarb recipes!!!)
- Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie from I am Gluten Free
- Rhubarb Cake from C’est La Vegan
- Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote from Affairs of Living
- Some Rhubarb Recipes from the Week from Shauna at Gluten Free Girl and the Chef
- Vegan Rhubarb Crisp (with GF option) from Shelly at Musings from the Fishbowl
- Strawberry Frozen Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie from Joni at Just the Food
- Wheat Free Rhubarb Cobbler from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking
- Coconut Cake with Rhubarb from Vegalicious Recipes
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Tart from Liz at Food Snobbery is my Hobbery
- Fascinating Polenta Quinoa Sticks with Rhubarb Sauce from Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe
* Just joking, of course. One should never operate one’s gas range while sleeping. It’s hard to measure ingredients with your eyes closed.
Millet Biscuits with Rhubarb
adapted from Celiac Teen
These biscuits are tender, substantial, and so alluring you’ll want to gobble up more than one. Because I knew I’d be the only one in our house eating these, I halved the recipe and made only 4 scones, and it worked beautifully.
2 tsp (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus enough unsweetened almond, soy or hemp milk to make 1-1/4 cups (300 ml)
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
5-10 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
1 cup (240 ml) millet flour
1 cup (240 ml) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (120 mlg) brown rice flour
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) xanthan gum
1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2. 5 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic, solid at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped rhubarb
Preheat oven to 425F ( C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
In a measuring cup, combine the lemon juice, milk, vanilla and stevia. Set aside.
Into a medium bowl, sift together the millet flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the coconut oil with a pastry blender, two knives, or a wide-tined fork until the oil is the size of small peas. Add the milk and rhubarb and toss with a fork, stirring only if necessary until the mixture comes together in a dough.
Lightly flour the cookie sheet. Place the dough on the sheet and form into a rectangle or circle about 1 inch (2.5 cm) high. Score with a knife to create the outline of slices (the number of slices will depend on the shape you chose).
Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes, until slightly dry and firm on top. Remove from oven and quickly brush with melted coconut oil. Rotate the cookie sheet, then bake another 10-15 minutes, until the top is deep golden brown. Cool completely before slicing. Makes 8-10 biscuits. May be frozen.
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This recipe is also my contribution for this week to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays event–head over to check out some yummy, healthy foods!
Last Year at this Time: Blog break (no blog entry)
Two Years Ago: Shock and Ossify: Raw Fig & Cherry Bars