Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Summer is a difficult time for me and this blog. Although it’s my favorite season for fruits and veggies (hello berry and peach season!), it’s also the season that I don’t want to be spending my time in the kitchen with the oven on. I want to be out and about, spending time at the pool, heading to the beach, going away on vacation, etc etc.

This recipe seems a little more spring-centric but I wanted to highlight some berries and give you a little treat that can be packed away in a cooler for a summer trip. Great for a road trip breakfast, to pack into a lunch, or something sweet while you’re sweating it out at the pool or beach. And though these bars tend to be a little on the softer side, I love the sweet, juiciness of the berry filling paired with the cinnamon-y crumble topping. And we’re rolling with it, because it’s summer and fruit bars don’t need to be fancy and perfect to be delicious. Here we go…

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Makes 12 bars

Crust:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:
1 cup chopped rhubarb (about 3 stalks)
1 quart of chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoon sugar

Topping:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of salt
3 tablespoon butter, melted

Prepare a 8x8 baking pan by spraying with a light layer of cooking spray and lining with a parchment paper so two sides hang over for easy removal. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make your crust: In a large mixing bowl, mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add in melted butter and mix until combined and clumpy. Spread into an even layer in the prepared baking sheet. 

To make your filling, combine chopped strawberries, rhubarb, corn starch, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Spoon filling into an even layer over the bottom crust.

Topping: In the same mixing bowl you made the crust in, add oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add in melted butter and mix until combined and clumpy. Using your hands, sprinkle lumps of the topping onto the peaches/raspberries. You should be able to see some of the filling through the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is cooked through. Cool completely before cutting into squares. These bars are on the softer side, so I wrap them up individually and store them in the refrigerator until eating time.

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

The perfect spring Strawberry Rhubarb Galette via Unusually Lovely

It’s Wednesday morning. I’ve been up since 5:30AM since I had an hour of personal training to get through this morning and I’m already looking forward to hitting my pillow after work and watching tv from bed.

I’m finding myself more and more a homebody these days. Spring has definitely sprung in Philadelphia and (except for the weeks-worth of rain we just had) it’s been incredibly enjoyable to spend time at home, watering the plants on the deck, grilling dinner and going to bed early. Slowing down is something that I’ve been working on this year, so making less plans with people, not booking up my weeks, and planning my schedule out in advance so things don’t sneak up on me + working on my own relaxation guilt that often cause myself to have. At another stage in my life, I absolutely would have found this boring, but at this phase it helps me savor my time out and about with friends, spending time with G, and save some money without feeling like I have to give up everything to do so.

The change in the seasons means I’m looking forward to Saturdays walking around the city and happy hour negronis at outdoor bars. Spring always feels like a reset to me. You open the windows and start making summer plans. And if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you probably know that I love the feeling of change.

I recently went to the supermarket looking for rhubarb because I wasn’t sure exactly when rhubarb season was, but I knew it was coming up and wanted to work on this recipe. I went wandering around my local Sprouts, couldn’t find it and asked a woman stocking the produce if they carried it. She looked at me like I had two heads, not understanding the item I was looking for. She had never heard of rhubarb, and definitely didn’t know what it looked like. I googled it quickly and showed her a photo of it, she still had no idea. She then grabbed another person working in the produce department, who ALSO HAD NO IDEA WHAT RHUBARB IS.

These woman worked in the produce department! I could understand if you maybe didn’t know what it looked like, but to never have even heard the word rhubarb before?! It’s in a lot of pies! Moral of the story is that I did not get rhubarb for this recipe from the supermarket, but we picked it a few days later at G’s sister’s house, which honestly is wayyyy better.

Galettes are pretty great because they are quick and easy with no pie pan or pre-baking the crust needed. Made from homemade pie crust is obviously preferred, but hey, sometimes you just have a refrigerated pie crust sitting in your fridge that you need to use up, or you can’t be bothered making homemade pie crust. I’m not here to judge you, just tell you to throw some fruit in there, turn over the sides, sprinkle it with sugar and call it a day. Hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Yields 6 slices

  • your favorite pie crust (or a refrigerated one)

  • 2 1/2 cup rhubarb

  • 2 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced largely)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • half a lemon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon butter, cold and cut into small cubes

  • coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

I should begin by saying that if you don’t want to create the arranged rhubarb on top of the strawberries, you can always cut the rhubarb into smaller pieces and just mix in with the strawberry filling. Won’t be as pretty, but will taste the same and be a lot less effort.

Cut your rhubarb into similar-sized pieces, cut on the diagonal so you can create the chevron pattern. I cut my pieces about 2 1/2 inches long. I also find it easiest to assemble when I’ve laid out the pattern on a cutting board first and then move it to the galette.

In a large bowl, add sliced strawberries and rhubarb pieces, sugar, and light squeeze of juice from half a lemon. Stir until everything is covered in sugar. Place bowl in the refrigerator and let macerate for 30 mins.

Remove bowl from fridge and add vanilla extract and corn starch and stir until the corn starch has been absorbed. If you are arranging the rhubarb on top, remove them from the bowl and set aside.

Lay out your pie crust on a nonstick baking mat placed on baking sheet. Spoon the strawberries* into the center of the pie crust and flatten it so you have a flat surface to arrange your rhubarb on. You will want at least a 2-inch border around the berries to fold the galette over. Place the rhubarb in the chevron pattern on top of the strawberries. Things are going to move a little while baking, so it definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.

Fold the border over to create the crust and trap in any juices, being aware to not make any cracks or holes. Arrange the butter on the top of the galette. Brush the beaten egg on the crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar to get a golden brown when baked.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. If you do spring a leak during baking (mine definitely has), don’t panic! Galettes are made to be rustic and simple looking. A few times during cooking, use a rubber kitchen brush to brush the expelled juices on top of the rhubarb to get a nice shine.

Remove from the oven and cool. Slice and eat!

*If you aren’t arranging the rhubarb on top, cut the rhubarb into smaller pieces and keep mixed in with the berries. Spoon the entire mixture into the center of the crust, fold over, and bake.

Cocktail: Strawberry Mojito Popsicles

Summer has been a little crazy this time around. We have people visiting from out of town, work travel, vacation travel, birthdays, and on top of everything: figuring out a new rental to move to. I love being busy, but it's hard for me to strike a balance between happy busy and crazy-freak-out busy. Plus, it's been like 100 degrees with 200% humidity in Philadelphia for weeks now.

So I'm bringing boozy summer popsicles to the rescue. Because it's too hot to turn on the oven to bake anything and these are the perfect post-work treat on a hot and busy day. Plus, they have fruit so they're healthy, right?

Strawberry Mojito Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
20 mint leaves
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup white rum
8-10 strawberries, sliced 

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves (a few minutes). Remove from heat, stir in mint leaves, and let steep until syrup is room temperature.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a pitcher (or something with a spout) and strain the leaves out of the mint syrup. Add in lime juice and rum and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds until they are 2/3 full. Add 2-4 slices of strawberry to each mold, or until the molds are full. 

Place in the freezer for an hour, then remove from the freezer and add the sticks. Place back in the freezer and freeze overnight. If you have trouble removing your popsicles from the molds, try running warm water on the sides of your mold. 

FYI, the booze makes these popsicles melt QUICK so get ready to enjoy quickly!

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

It's been a little while since we baked together, friends! So I wanted to ease you back in with a simple recipe that takes under 30 minutes to throw together. We're making a crisp because it's simple, versatile, and delicious. It's also one of my favorite treats because you can make it for dessert and serve it with ice cream and then reheat the leftovers for breakfast the next day. And we aren't skimping on the topping either, since that's really the best part. Let's get to it... 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Yields 8 servings

2 cup strawberries, chopped into small pieces
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 lemon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set aside a 8x8 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together strawberries, rhubarb, cornstarch, juice from half a lemon, and sugar until everything is combined and the fruit is coated. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and melted butter until combined and mixture is crumbly. 

Add fruit mixture and any juices from the bowl into the baking pan and spread out evenly using a rubber spatula. Using your hands, sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the fruit so that the fruit is completely covered. Bake for 30-40 minutes until fragrant, the fruit is cooked through and bubbly, and the top is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.