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I was taking a little road trip for a top-secret magazine mission this week when I saw one of those set-ups of a cooler by the side of the road and a box with a slot for cash. I knew it had to be one thing, rhubarb season! So I made a U-turn, and got myself ten bucks of rhubarb, at $2.50 a bag! It was a mad mess of rhubarb. What do I plan to do with it? Go absolutely rhubarb crazy, which is a good thing to do.
Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie
Of course, for a lot of people rhubarb is synonymous with pie—and a straight up rhubarb pie is a thing of beauty. There’s not much to this one except four cups of rhubarb and a whole lot of happy.
Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange
I’m really loving this rhubarb pie right now. The orange and cardamom make it surprising, and the flavors are just magical. Not that there’s anything wrong with a straight up rhubarb pie, but sometimes you crave more!
Rhubarb Lentil Soup
The sour of the rhubarb plus the earth of lentils turns into a brilliant sour and deep sort of soup. Finish it with a few snips of chives from the garden and you’ll be eating the essence of spring.
Spiced Rhubarb (For oatmeal topping or breakfast parfaits)
Rhubarb might seem like a fruit, but it’s actually a petiole, like celery. The stalk softens quickly under heat, and there are zillions of recipes advising you to bake it in the oven under foil. This is one of those recipes! With honey, vanilla, orange, juice, and cardamom. Once you’ve got your spiced and braised rhubarb you can layer it on vanilla yogurt with granola for a very lovely spring breakfast, you can put it on oatmeal, you can make one of those crazy quinoa bowls the kids love—you can do anything!
This is my favorite springtime treat: Turn everything rhubarb. Just cook rhubarb, sugar, and water together, then strain. You get the brightest pink syrup, and once you have it there are a thousand things to do with it. To make rhubarb lemonade, just add bubbly water. To make a rhubarb shandy, just add it to wheat beer. To make rhubarb waffles, pour it on waffles. To make rhubarb salad dressing add a little to oil and vinegar. You can make rhubarb ice-cream sundaes! Or, of course, a rhubarb Tom Collins is an important drink of summer. As is a Rhubarb Mojito. Those are why we make U-turns when we see a rhubarb cooler at the side of the road.