I’m always inspired when I read about other food bloggers taking on challenging ingredients. It is usually something like a root veggie or an over abundance of cabbage in a CSA box. While there is apprehension at first, the final result is always beautiful even if you don’t prefer the star ingredient.
Rhubarb has been my challenging vegetable as of late. It was a staple in our garden growing up, but when I had the opportunity to grow it myself, I declined. But since my parents had an over abundance, I was offered some of this year’s harvest. Seeing it as a culinary challenge, I accepted.
I feel a bit sorry for rhubarb with its poisonous leaves. It really isn’t a nutritional superstar either; just a stalk that is often in the shadows of fruits like strawberries, in order to be enjoyed.
I like the flavor of rhubarb, just not the texture. This is especially true after growing up at dinner table with brothers who made disgusting jokes about said texture while eating the pie. Thus, be careful of the way you perceive and communicate perceptions of foods to children. I’m proof that those comments hang around and can control food preferences later in life!
But now, I was up for the challenge of tackling my rhubarb apprehension. With plenty on hand I had to come up with something that would present the flavor, but not the texture.
My first thought? Waffles!
Ever since I got my waffle maker last Christmas I’m always thinking about new waffle recipes. For this one, the rhubarb blended in nicely to the whole grain waffle and while it wasn’t quite as strong as I would have liked it was still good. I topped it off with some strawberry butter and breakfast was complete.
Whole Grain Rhubarb Waffles with Strawberry Butter
Makes: About 6 waffles
1 cup rhubarb, chopped
4 tablespoon water
¼ cup demerara sugar
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter melted, plus 2 tbsp more for waffle iron
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a sauce pan, combine the rhubarb, water and sugar. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring often until the rhubarb cooks down to a jam-like consistency, about five to seven minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cooled melted butter, eggs and rhubarb. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
Heat your waffle iron and lightly brush each side with melted butter. Pour a heaping 1/3 cup of batter onto the iron, close and cook for about four minutes. Remove and repeat with the butter for the next waffle. Top waffles with strawberry butter (below) before serving.
I really enjoy fruit butters in place of syrup on waffles. We used to make them all the time when I worked in a bakery. There are a variety of ways to create them, but the easiest is with jam and butter. I used some strawberry freezer jam that my mom made with this year’s fresh strawberries.
¼ cup butter, unsalted, slightly softened
2 teaspoon strawberry jam, the thinner the consistency the better
Place ingredients in a small food processor. Process until everything is blended and the butter is soft and spreadable.
For more info, the University of Illinois Extension Service has a helpful page about rhubarb.
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