It’s rhubarb season for those of you who are fans of this tart seasonal favorite. Two years ago, I posted a recipe for Rhubarb Lunar Coffee Cake, (recommended for hungry astronauts) and at the end I mentioned that I had just planted some rhubarb. Two years later I have enough of a crop to make my own rhubarb treats. I’ve already harvested twice this year as it got off to an early start and I was able to share some with the neighbors,
and make rhubarb scones.
In that post I also reminisced about our large rhubarb patch on the farm and how it had been there for decades.
Recently I found the photos of when we set up a rhubarb stand at the end of the driveway under the shade of a big tree.
We had a big homemade sign advertising our wares, 25 cents a bunch, similar to this one. It was a quiet country road, so we didn’t have many customers, just a few people out for a Sunday afternoon drive. The profits ($1) were spent on penny candy.
This is making me nostalgic for our dog, King. He was a blonde border collie, (not a Lassie dog like the TV show which was popular at the time but the same color), and I’ve never seen another dog like him since. He wasn’t a cuddly dog, a pat by a stranger was barely tolerated. He was a working dog. His job was to fetch the cows from the back field if they hadn’t come up at milking time (my dad had a dairy farm) and to supervise the children. He was very protective of us, and could be found wherever we were. He could tell time too, as my mother said he would sit at the west side of the house at 3:30 every day like clockwork and wait for the school bus. He was an outside dog and slept in the doghouse or in the barn if it was very cold. One of my earliest memories was of going to pick him out, (I was four) and he died fifteen years later when I was first off to university. He was replaced by the black and white border collie (Shep) in the picture above who was the dumbest dog ever. He was also an outside dog, but the white Samoyed (Ruff), my mother’s empty-nester pet, was allowed inside the house as were later a succession of Golden Retrievers (Fergie, Murphy and Co), who were friendly but annoying in the fact they needed endless attention. I’m also feeling nostalgic about those big old trees which used to line the country lanes before they were all cut down to widen the road. Many farms had horses out in the fields so a drive in the country was a pleasant and scenic experience on a Sunday afternoon.
Enough of the memories, back to the rhubarb, as you must be hungry by now. Today’s recipe is for Rhubarb-Walnut muffins, which I adapted from a local magazine. When I say adapted, well you know I sometimes don’t follow a recipe exactly, with mixed results…
I didn’t have any buttermilk and while I know you can sour milk by adding lemon or vinegar I didn’t have any baking soda either, so I just used plain milk and my premixed flour with the baking powder already in it. I halved the recipe, as what do I need with 2 dozen muffins when we’re in month five of lockdown. I also microwaved the diced rhubarb to soften it as I didn’t think it would cook in the 25 minute baking time.
Beat the brown sugar, oil (I used butter), vanilla, egg and milk with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix by hand until just blended. Add the rhubarb and walnut pieces.
Here’s where things got interesting. The batter seemed too runny so I added some more flour, and not quite sweet enough, so a bit more sugar. Just a few tablespoons, nothing measured, but I still only got ten muffins not twelve. Spoon into muffin tin.
Sprinkle the melted butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
They certainly looked pretty and turned out okay, but not great. But then I compare everything to my Rhubarb Lunar Coffee Cake, which is moist (from a whole cup of sour cream) and has a nice contrast between the sweet topping and the tart rhubarb. I found this topping skimpy and it had too much cinnamon plus I missed the brown sugar. I liked the chopped walnuts, as I’ve never added those to muffins before. The rhubarb sort of disappeared, not sure if I nuked it too long before hand and it disintegrated, or there just wasn’t enough of it. Next time I would add more rhubarb, and maybe some strawberries. They were better with some strawberry jam. I tend to be fussy with my food, but I gave some to my neighbors and my grass-cutter and there were no complaints.
The rhubarb patch is experiencing a third wave so after I have my cholesterol re-checked, (it was a spur of the moment decision so I didn’t fast, but we have been eating very well over the past year), I may make the Rhubarb coffee cake again. Muffins are portable, but that cake was great!
(949 words, about 700 if you eliminate the stuff about the dogs, kind of makes up for last weeks 3000 essay on LLM…..)