Last week, I wrote about my Grandma Rosie’s chopped eggplant, and it was a huge hit! So now, this week, with the rhubarb starting to poke up in the garden, I thought I’d write about her rhubarb. But first a few words about the woman herself.
My Grandma Rosie was an extraordinarily good cook. I mean — really, really good. She made chicken soup, like my friends’ grandmas, but she also made many dishes that I never saw in any other grandmas’ homes, dishes like stuffed veal roasts and chicken fricassee, chopped eggplant (see last week’s post), stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage, homemade water bagels, chopped green beans, salads of every imaginable variety, potatoes and spinach, calves foot jelly (p’cheh), and all kinds of other delicacies. Her kitchen was always warm, her table was always full, and her creative expression seemed unlimited.
Grandma Rosie wasn’t nearly as interested in baking as in cooking, however, so there were just a few desserts, and they usually consisted of some kind of fruit. My favorite, hands down, was her rhubarb. The mix of sweet and tart has always been absolutely irresistible to me.
1 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces (approx 3 cups)
2 apples, chopped (sometimes she used a pint of strawberries instead)
1/4 cup raisins
juice of 1 lemon plus zest from 1/2 of lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place ingredients in covered dish, stir, and cook in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook for 15 minutes more.
You can serve this plain or you can dress it up with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream, a spoonful of unsweetened whipped cream, or a little fresh cream poured on top. The last few times I made it I added to the recipe a small (finger-tip sized) nub of ginger chopped into into very tiny pieces. I’m pretty sure Grandma Rosie would have gone crazy for it. She loved when we took her recipes one step further.
Grandma Rosie’s rhubarb is delicious served warm, cold, or at room temperature. You can’t go wrong.