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by Allyson Kenning b

ne of the things I look forward to every spring and summer here in themountains

is the appearance of rhubarb. I love it! It's basically a weed and will grow in all kinds of situations, and just about every other house in town here has a plant growing somewhere in the yard. Unfortunately, I lived for three years in one of the few places around here that did not have a rhubarb plant. I relied on other people for my rhubarb fix, and it wasn't fun. When I moved to my new place this spring, I knew there would be no rhubarb here either, but, as it happened, the house two doors down is empty, and there is a huge rhubarb plant there just running rampant.Off Iwentwithmy knife and a big bag, and now I have a freezer full of this wonderful stuff. Therewas one other notable time inmy life

when I went rhubarb-less. It was when I was a teenager and my younger brother, Rob, was charged with spritzing our dandelion-filled yardwithweed killer. Robwas the black sheep in the familywhen it came to rhubarb; he hated the stuff. He went on a murder spree with the weed killer and took out our family rhubarb plant. The other four of uswere devastated,my parents were furious, and Rob was in the dog house for a long time. But the rhubarb came back the next year! I

shudder to think that we ate from that previously poisoned plant and I don't want to know what kind of carcinogenic chemicals might be floating around in my body as a result. All I know is that the family was happy to have the plant back (except Rob, who was ticked that he'd been thwarted by a weed) and we were back in business with rhubarby desserts. My favourite way to eat rhubarb is in crumble, and this is my go-to recipe.

Allyson Kenning is a graduate of the University of Victoria's writing programand the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts' Baking & Pastry Arts program. She has three blogs, including her food blog ReTorte (, which she writes under the pseudonym

Wandering Coyote. Allyson lives in the small mountain town of Rossland, BC.

Rhubarb Crumble

• 6 - 8 cups rhubarb, chopped • 1 cup sugar (or less depending on how sweet or tart you like your rhubarb) • 2 tsp ginger • 2 tsp cinnamon • 1/4 cup cornstarch • juice of one orange

Topping: • 1 1/2 cups quick oats • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour • 1/2 cup brown sugar • cinnamon & ginger to taste • zest of one orange • 1/2 cup softened butter

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Chuck in a large casserole dish that has been well-oiled, or lined with parchment paper.

For the topping, combine the oats, flour and sugar. Add the spices and zest. Cut the butter into the mixture either with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the butter into the mixture with your hands. It should be crumbly and just hold together when squeezed. Sprinkle on top of the fruit and pat down gently.

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of your rhubarb slices and the depth of your casserole dish. You know it's done when it's bubbly and when you spear it with a sharp knife, the fruit is tender.

Vanilla ice cream is an excellent accompaniment! 34 • Bread ‘ n Molasses September/October 2010

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