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Archive for March 12, 2012

BOOK: Find The Best Rhubarb Recipes In “Rhubarb Renaissance”

Our Nana made stewed rhubarb every spring: as a dessert served plain, with whipped cream or ice cream. Then, there were rhubarb tarts and pies, including strawberry-rhubarb. Rhubarb, sometimes called “the pie plant,” makes exquisite desserts.

Since Nana stopped cooking, we rarely come across a rhubarb dish, even in locavore-based restaurants. We always see it in the store, and as time permits, make some stewed rhubarb.

But, says Kim Ode, rhubarb has a place in appetizers, breads, salads, side dishes, entrées and more.

She celebrates the vegetable in her new cookbook, Rhubarb Renaissance.

Ms. Ode has crafted some 50 sophisticated recipes, savory and sweet, showcasing the vegetable:* Rhubarb Corn Fritters, Turkey Tenderloins with RhubarBQ Sauce, Spiced Couscous with Rhubarb and Figs and Chop-Chop Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry are a few examples.


The new rhubarb cookbook, Rhubarb Renaissance. Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society Press.


Updating Nana’s strawberry-rhubarb pie, Ms. Ode presents Salted Caramel Rhubapple Pie and Zucchini-Rhubarb Bread.

Nana would approve.

In the U.S., rhubarb is one of the first food plants to be harvested each spring; April/May is the peak season, and it grows until September (rhubarb from the Southern Hemisphere is available in October/November).

The new rhubarb cookbook is a great gift for people who like new and different ingredients—even though rhubarb has been cultivated for thousands of years in China, and grows wild on the banks of the Volga River in Russia.

In fact, the name “rhubarb” is a combination of the Ancient Latin rha, which referred to the Volga River, and barbarum, foreign; rha barbarum evolved to the Medieval Latin reubarbarum in the 15th century.

Take a bite of some rhubarb trivia.
*Yes, rhubarb is a vegetable. It looks like celery, but the two plants come from different botanical families. The difference between fruits and vegetables.


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ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Green Mint Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Cheesecake bars for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo
courtesy McCormick.


These cheesecake bars, with contrasting layers of green, white and dark brown, combine creamy cheesecake with refreshing peppermint, a chocolate cookie crust and a rich dark chocolate drizzle. The recipe is courtesy of McCormick, which has many more delicious recipes at

The recipe makes 24 servings. Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes, and the cheesecake must be refrigerated for 4 hours. If you want to make it after St. Patrick’s Day, you can omit the green food coloring.



  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon green food color
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted


    1. Make crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. Make batter. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and peppermint extract; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour 1/2 of the batter over crust. Tint remaining batter green with food color. Pour over batter in pan.

    3. Bake. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack. TIP: Put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven. Known as a bain-marie, the moisture keeps the cheesecake from cracking.

    4. Refrigerate. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars.

    5. Drizzle. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate. Serve. Store uneaten bars in the refrigerator.

    Find more of our favorite cheesecake recipes.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Set Up A Baked Potato Bar

    Whether for family, buffet or other festivity, a baked potato bar is fun and delicious.

    For an impressive yet easy display, bake a batch of Idaho potatoes and set them out. Pick out some favorites from the list below, and allow guests to customize their own toppings.

    Baked Potato Bar Toppings

  • Diced broccoli florets
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chili
  • Corn or peas
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Crumbled cheese: blue, feta
  • Grated Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Herbs: chives, dill, parsley
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Salsa
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced scallions
  • Sour cream
  • Stewed tomatoes
  • Anything that appeals to you

    It’s fun to let each person customize his or her potato. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.


    Also check out these mashed potato martinis with choice of toppings.

    Find more of our favorite vegetable recipes.


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