Oct 01, 2012 | Post by: mnanda001 1 Comments

Rhubarb: My ‘culinary’ adventures in up-north Michigan.

So one may think it’s odd (especially for the second post) sharing a picture of some fresh rhubarb on a design blog, but on the contrary my friends!  You see,  I see design in almost EVERYTHING from the most obvious things such as paints, fabrics, furniture etc…to nature inspired elements flowers, leaves and yes, this includes food…all kinds of food and my most recent obsession is rhubarb.

As I reflect on my summer, our annual 4th of July trip with my entire family at my brother’s beautiful cottage (mom, four brothers, their wives and dozens of nieces and nephews!) in up-north Michigan always makes the list as my summer time highlights.  This year for some reason I’ve been obsessed with rhubarb.  (One may be asking what the heck is rhubarb?   Well, I provided a glimpse of some info that I learned below in note (1).   By the way,  if you like to garden (like I do) rhubarb is perfect to plant with your kids….it’s a hardy plant and fun to watch grow, eat and even decorate with (on the cheap!)!)

For those of you who know me well I’m not a cook by any means, but gosh do I appreciate good food (not to mention a good glass of wine to go along with it!).  I love food in it’s raw form like this rhubarb pictured to the most balanced perfectly seasoned prepared food.  (This rhubarb bunch pictured above is compliments from my sister-in-law’s ‘garden’ in up-north Michigan.)  This beautiful rhubarb made it’s way into a Strawberry/Rhubarb crisp topped with vanilla ice cream and believe it or not….I baked it! I should have taken a picture of it, but at the very least I can share the recipe note (2) below.

From a design perspective, the rhubarb’s elegant stems, beautiful large green leaves and vibrant red color would be perfect set in a tall, clear vase with just a tad of water sitting on a coffee table next to piles of stacked books or dressing up a dining room buffet table.  Or simply framing the picture above clustered with other framed pictures of  fruit and/or veggies  from the garden could be perfect art work for the kitchen, butler’s pass, walk-in open pantry etc…I’m big fan of using your own pictures as artwork around the home.  And, yes, rhubarb, can be ‘high’ design….cool, eh?

Here’s to rhubarb!  It really is the simple things in life that make me smile.



Stayed tuned to my future post(s) about decorating my daughter Siona’s room….so FUN!


(1) What the heck is rhubarb anyway?

(In culinary use, fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant’s stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. 

Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits. Source: Wikipedia.

2) Recipe: Strawberry rhubarb crisp with vanilla whipped cream

Recipe courtesy of the Scotto family

  • For strawberry rhubarb:
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 1-inch thick rhubarb slices
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut in half
  • Buttered 12 x 8-inch glass baking dish
  • Crumb topping
  • For crumb topping:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • For vanilla whipped cream:
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1 cup chipped whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  In a bowl, add flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Add the rhubarb and strawberries, toss to coat then place in prepared glass baking dish. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top.

3. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until mixture bubbles and is golden brown.

4. Set aside to cool, top with vanilla whipped cream and serve.

For crumb topping:

1. Combine ingredients; mix with hands until large crumbs form.

For vanilla whipped cream:

1. Combine cream, vanilla, and sugar in large bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


One Comment to Rhubarb: My ‘culinary’ adventures in up-north Michigan.

  1. Janelle
    October 8, 2012 1:12 am

    I love this post, and look forward to trying the recipe (or sending it to my mom so she can try the recipe). Our garage in Geneseo was “landscaped” with rhubarb, so there was never a summer that went go by without my mom’s delicious rhubarb crisp. Now i have multiple reasons for seeking out rhubarb in NYC :)

    P.S. I look forward to a future blog entry about beets!

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