We always had rhubarb growing up. My dad had a few plants around and we always enjoyed his rhubarb pies as well as stewed rhubarb over anything: ice cream, shortcake, or (my favorite) tapioca pudding. I've always loved the jewel-like color and the tangy flavor of rhubarb despite the fact that for so many people it's either unknown or disliked intensely. I was delighted to find that none other than Nigella Lawson is a huge rhubarb fan and I took it as a good omen that our first home of our own included a vigorous rhubarb plant.
Not only did we snap up (and immediately eat) over a pound of the most delicious cherries at a Mt Vernon farm stand the other day, but I also spied a bunch of rhubarb going for a very reasonable price. Since our own rhubarb was mostly harvested weeks ago, I was happy to find more of the ruby stalks looking fresh and healthy and I brought home a few pounds with no particular plan.
Rhubarb was not immediately on my mind this morning as I got up early to prepare for making strawberry jam with my dear friend Laura (more on that later). Thinking that we needed something tasty to fortify ourselves before heading off to the wilds of south Gresham to buy our berries, I started dreaming of something along the lines of a rhubarb coffee cake. I did some online research and assembled something using bits and pieces of a number of different recipes. The result was quite tasty: hearty, tangy, and ever so pretty in a homely kind of way. If you'd like to give it a try, the recipe is here.