pink celery

“I’ve never seen pink celery before,” said the check-out lady at whole foods, as she rang up the item at $1.50.

“Oh, it’s actually rhubarb.”

“It’s what? Is it spicy? It looks spicy.”

I couldn’t blame her for her confusion.  I had always thought of rhubarb as some crazy hippie food you boil into oblivion and called jam. Then, this spring, every food blog i read was falling-over-themselves excited about the first rhubarb of the season.  Yea, it was a long hard winter. But really?

Really. Much like I didn’t care for olives until I discovered martinis, I didn’t care for rhubarb until I made this dessert. (Green olives only, preferably stuffed with blue cheese. thanks.)  Its sweet and tangy and tastes like SUMMER.

hello, summer

Making a recipe off the food package is a Midwest tradition.  Especially if that food package is butter. Without further ado, I give you:

Land O’Lakes Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Bars

(printable version)

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Drizzle:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Method

  • Combine rhubarb, strawberries and lemon juice in 2-quart saucepan. Cover; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender (8 to 12 minutes).
  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Stir into fruit mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil (about 1 minute). Continue boiling until thickened (1 minute). Remove from heat. Set aside.

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all crust ingredients in large bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Spread filling over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

if you think this looks artistically perched...you should have seen the artistic dance I did when it tried to swan dive off the counter.

  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

freaking fantastic food foto

  • Combine all drizzle ingredients in small bowl. Drizzle over cooled bars. Cut into bars. (I omitted the drizzle. Drizzle doesn’t travel well in an urban environment.)
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