One of the things I missed most about the Midwest was its unique plants – moving to North Carolina made me realize that I couldn’t smell lilacs every spring, watch the corn grow into tall tasseled plants, and wouldn’t be enjoying freshly cut rhubarb desserts. Of course, moving back to the Midwest has made me miss uniquely southern plants as well – the looming ancient magnolias and their white messy blooms, the grape-like bunches of sweet-smelling wisteria, the browning fields of tobacco plants, dots of white dogwood in the understory of the forests, the creeping cathedral-like kudzu that took over the countryside. What are your favorite plants? Are they tied to a location, particular time, or memory?
I often make rhubarb strawberry desserts, as the sweet strawberries complement the tangy and tart rhubarb so nicely. However, I did not have strawberries on hand, and thus used a carton of raspberries instead. To me, rhubarb looks like reddish-green stalks of celery. The leaves are full and scalloped and also happen to be poisonous. Their blooms are fascinating bunches of flowers and they happen to prefer cooler climates.
I kept this dessert on the sour side, by swapping refined white sugar for coconut sugar. It’s not as sweet in flavor, but remember, sugar is still sugar.
Rhubarb Raspberry Crisp
- In a 8×8′ baking dish combine: 2 large stalks of rhubarb, sliced and 6 oz of red raspberries (or more is fine too, this is just what I had on hand).
- In a small bowl combine: 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 cup oats, and 8 tablespoons of cold butter. Combine with hands until mixture is sticky and butter is completely combined.
- Bake in a 350° oven for 35-40 minutes or till fruit is bubbly and top is lightly browned.
- Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.