Rhubard Conundrum.

Friends, I have a problem. It involves rhubarb. Aside from a few appearances in a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon, I've had little to no experience with this spring vegetable. In fact, I cannot remember ever having eaten rhubarb before in my life.

{ The Strawberry Shortcake gang... Still pretty cute, I must say. }

Cut to three weeks ago and my first CSA pick-up of the season (more on that later). Amidst the bounty was a ripe bunch of reddy-pink rhubarb. It was a busy week, with not much time for experiments in the kitchen, so I tucked the stalks away in the crisper draw to save for later. In the meantime, I searched some of my favorite baking sources for the recipe the would provide my first taste, never mind preparation, of rhubarb.

Though I came across a ton of recipes, my mind kept wandering back to two options. One, a classic; strawberry-rhubarb crisp. Never a big pie fan, (unless it's my grandmother-in-law's famous chocolate pie or anything my friend Ann puts in her delicious graham-cracker-crust) I am a devoted lover of crisps and cobblers. Couple that with the aforementioned rhubarb and the truckloads of plump strawberries that I've been impulsively buying recently, and that's shaping up to be a serious late spring dessert. My plan would be to use the peach and raspberry crisp recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, substituting in the rhubarb and sweet strawberries.

On the other hand, I found a fantastic sounding parfait on Epicurious.com from Bon Appétit last spring. Saute the red stalks into a sweet compote with a hefty dose of sugar and a touch of Chambord, top with Greek Yogurt (or vanilla ice cream if I'm in the mood to splurge) and walnut-coconut candy. Sounds pretty amazing, does it not? And perhaps a bit more friendly for those of us preparing for swimsuit season.

{ Photo by Craig Cutler courtesy of Bon Appétit, April 2008 and Epicurious.com }

So help me out here folks... The rhubarb has been patient up to this point, but it won't wait much longer. Which recipe should I go for?


  1. My vote is for a crisp of some sort. Of course, I love anything with 'crumblies' on top. If you need help with any taste-testing, you know where to find me ;) Post photos of what you make!

  2. Maybe it's the photo that is swaying my decision (coincidentally photographed by a product of the same design program at the U. of Delaware that I graduated from), but I vote for the parfait! With vanilla ice cream, of course ;-)

  3. Looks like I'm going to have to head into the kitchen and just see what happens! I'll report back on the results... Whatever they are!