“Well thats a sure sign of spring” the woman uttered as, unloading my basket, I handed her a fistful of slender bright pink rhubarb stalks. And its true, rhubarb is perhaps the one thing that emphatically signals the transition into the spring growing season. That, and possibly fiddlehead ferns, the elusive (once wild grown only, now cultivated) foretellers of spring’s arrival in New England. So in fact, my clutch of rhubarb really did warrant the elated, if not somewhat surprised response from the woman at the market.
Rhubarb, I have found, is also one of those items a bit like cilantro, either loved or hated. I fall unequivocally into the yes, can’t get enough rhubarb camp. In sweet or savory (see my rye berry salad with pickled rhubarb here) its equally austere and unique with a flavor that can’t really be nailed down but you know it when you taste it. Eyes closed, I would always know its was rhubarb. Its one of those ingredients that I really can’t get enough of and inevitably makes itself a staple of my early spring kitchen. Much like the rhubarb, these two “Super Food” sprinkles are also panty staples in the spring. In winter I favor richer, nuttier and sweeter toppers but in spring Im ready for lighter versions – as equally at home on breakfasts, like I’ve pictured them here, as they are tossed up with salads, sprinkled over rice bowls or those first sweet tender greens vegetables of spring.
They keep easily in your panty. I like to make up big batches every other week to so to have on hand when the mood strikes or that breakfast bowl calls – they really take no time at all but are so often welcome additions to dishes. They each pair perfectly with the poached rhubarb pictured here, though I am partial to the the toasted coconut and rhubarb flavor. Poached Rhubarb
- 4-5 stalks of rhubarb
- juice and peel from half an orange
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In a small baking dish combine the warm water and sugar, stirring to disolve sugar slightly. Using a vegetable peeler, cut strips of zest from half the orange, adding it to the sugar water. Then add the juice from half the orange and cinnamon stick
- Cut washed rhubarb stalks into 2 inch pieces and add to sugar water
- Place the baking dish of rhubarb into the preheated oven and cook, basting occasionally about 20 – 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still holds is shape.
- Remove baking dish from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked rhubarb pieces
- Turn up the oven temperature to 425F and bake juice for about 10 minutes more until a light syrup is formed
- Serve immediately or cool rhubarb and syrup and store in an air tight container in the fridge until ready to use. Keeps about 4 days
- 1/2 cup whole flax seeds
- 1/2 cup un-toasted sesame seed
- 1/2 cup un-toasted sunflower seed
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup raw hemp seeds just before serving
- In a large dry skillet over medium low heat toast the wheat germ, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds until the wheat germ and sesame seeds show a light golden color. Watch the pan carefully as the mix can burn quite quickly.
- When done, remove mix from pan immediately and let cool
- Serve with hemp seeds mixed in or store in an air tight container and add hemp seeds just before ready to serve
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup un-toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup raisins if desired
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment
- Spread the pumpkin seeds, rolled oats, sunflower and sesame seeds evenly over the baking sheet and place in the oven, stirring occasionally about 15 minutes
- Add the coconut flakes to the baking sheet, toss to combine and continue cooking about 10 minutes more or until the coconut flakes are golden in places
- Remove tray from oven and allow to cool. Stir in raisins if desired and serve immediately or store in an air tight jar until ready to serve