Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When rhubarb and fresh strawberries collide...

One of the ingredients I always look forward to this time of year is fresh rhubarb! I don't make nearly enough baked goods with it though - however, we've used it in the past in a pudding cake and muffins! When we were at the market on Sunday, I noticed the price had finally came down on the crimson stalks and I decided that I had to find a way use them in our baking for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day treat.

One ingredient that I love to use with rhubarb is fresh strawberries, which are so sweet and juicy right now, so we made sure to get both to make these Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars. Chunky pieces of rhubarb and sliced strawberries are cooked down with just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice until the rhubarb is tender. Since they give off so much liquid when cooked and the rhubarb is quite tart, a mixture of granulated sugar and cornstarch sweetens the pot and thickens the jam-like mixture. While this cools off, a crumbly mixture of flour, oats, brown sugar, soft butter, baking soda and a dash of salt are mixed together with about half of it being pressed into a baking dish to form the base.

The ruby jam is then spread over the uncooked base, followed by a scattering of the crumbles from the base mixture, to form the golden bumpy canopy. Once baked and cooled, we finished these bars with a creamy drizzle of confectioners' sugar thinned out with milk. Very buttery and a little tart, each nibble from these delicate bars was was like taking a big bite out of a refreshing summertime day.

We took a spin on pizza tonight and made these individual Sausage and Pepper Calzones for dinner. Because you are preparing your own dough, be sure to budget enough time for the dough to rise, rolling it out and the filling the calzones... it ended up taking a bit longer that I planned on so dinner was a little late tonight. I was pleased with the dough though - it was very easy to work with and stretched out nice without breaking. Once the dough has been divided and rolled out, a mixture of sautéed sweet red bell peppers, onions, garlic and sliced chicken sausage that has been tossed with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, cottage cheese, fresh grated Parmesan, oregano and crushed red pepper are added on top of each rolled out circle for the filling. After the calzones are formed and crimped, they are baked in a hot oven until the crust is a rich golden brown.

Dividing the dough into eight pieces allows it to still be rolled thin enough so the crust is crisp, but it also has a pleasant chew to it. Since this recipes does make quite a few, the calzones will be great to freeze, fully cooked, and then reheated at a later time for lunch or a quick dinner!


  1. Once again, I find myself wishing that I could find rhubarb more easily in this area. The bars look particularly delicious. I might have to try them with an alternative fruit!

  2. These bars would be the perfect ending to a boring afternoon!

  3. Rhubarbs and strawberries. Yes, they cope very well. I have rhubarbs in my garden.
    Strawberries? No, I haven´t (the birds like them to much). I buy strawberries, mix them with my rhubarbs and they make a perfect combination, especiaally for jams and preserves.

  4. Nic - We didn't have too much of a problem finding it in Phoenix - I wonder why it is not more available out there?

    Patricia - I agree!

    Karin - Yes, we love the combo!

  5. Your rhubarb bars look wonderful! I'll have to give them a try as soon as I get some rhubarb from the farmer's market.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! As you can see, I LOVE cookies!


  6. I'm not sure which picture looks best, they both look great!

    I've only come to the rhubarb and strawberry pairing last Summer, but it's such a good match.

  7. Julie - Cookies are a staple here!

    Kelly-jane - What goodies have you made with the combo?

  8. These bars are perfect for the fine weather we are having right now..just gorgeous!