In our past two CSA boxes we received a few stalks of rhubarb, something I’d never cooked with and I don’t think I’d ever eaten. I know rhubarb grows wild near lots of old houses and lots of you probably think it’s no big deal to have fresh rhubarb around. Some of you probably have it coming out your ears and don’t want anything to do with baking it. For us, though, a few stalks of rhubarb turned out to be quite a treat. I was looking forward to getting my hands on some after seeing an episode of Oprah last year where Cindy Crawford talked about the strawberry-rhubarb pie she makes every week for her husband, Rande. He apparently eats it as a midnight snack a few times a week. Rough life.
My first reaction when I saw Cindy’s recipe was, “There is no way I can make that pie crust. It will taste like cardboard.” The recipe calls for flour, a bit of salt, 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, and six tablespoons of cold milk. Seriously? No butter? I’d never made, no wait, never HEARD OF, a pie crust without butter or lard (or, in my 1980’s processed-food-is-better youth, Crisco). But, I thought, if Cindy does it, I’ll try it. Because, really, who wouldn’t trust Cindy Crawford? So, I tried it. And I promptly threw away the first batch of crust. Oops. I didn’t read the recipe well enough and didn’t realize I was making a two-crust pie (duh), so I rolled the bottom crust out, thinking it was a bit too thick but trusting Cindy, put it in the pie pan, made the filling, and then realized I needed a top crust. I know from experience that you can’t re-roll pie crust. Then it DOES taste like cardboard no matter what’s in it.
So, I tossed the first crust and started over again. This was becoming a very long process and I was starting to wonder whether Cindy actually makes the pie every week or if she has hired help who does it for her. Or maybe hired help who folds her laundry and cleans her toilets while Cindy bakes pies for her husband who is playing in the surf on the beach in their Malibu backyard. Again, tough life.
The rest of the process went without a hitch and the result was DElicious. So good, in fact, that I made another pie the following week with our second ration of rhubarb. Unfortunately, there was no rhubarb in our CSA box this week, so I guess I’m done with pie making until the cherries, plums, peaches, and apples come in. Right now, we’re drowning in cilantro, lettuce, green onions, and spinach and all of our digestive systems have been reset to accept copious amounts of salad. Well, except for Callie — she’s recently stopped eating anything green (even anything with flecks of green in it). Great timing, darling. Brynn, on the other hand, will eat almost anything I put in front of her, especially when bribed with pie or ice cream.
Oh, we also got some turnips this week…something else I’ve never used. If you’ve got any ideas for what I should do with that, I’m all ears.
Here’s Cindy’s recipe, in case you want to try it for yourself.