Saturday, June 18, 2011

Recipe: Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

One of the secrets to living life in the country and doing what you love, is learning to eat what grows on your own land.  This may seem obvious, but when we first moved to our acreage in Mission, B.C. in 1984 and I started a garden, I was afraid to eat what I grew.

The background:
I grew up in Vancouver.  All my life, my food came from the corner store or Woodward's (a department store with a grocery floor -- like Walmart only classy-er) When we moved to our 1 acre of land I had a garden and some ancient apple, pear and nut trees.  We planted more trees, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes.  I had a garden that I shared with the slugs.  I grew vegetables organically.  I would bring them into the house, wash them and freeze them or can them.  And there they'd sit while the recipes in the magazines called for cans of this and boxes of that.  I didn't know how to translate what I could grow with what we ate.  So my freezers and store room were full, and I still bought groceries every week at the store.  Cha- Ching!

Ok, fruit was easy -- desserts were no problem.  Broccoli was a bit harder -- especially the first time a bright green broccoli worm crawled out of the microwaved broccoli on my daughter's plate.  My eldest still can't eat broccoli -- its been 15 years. (Get over it!)

Now I live on a mountain.  With frost any day of the year, only hardy vegetables can survive long enough to mature in my zone.  So the choice is learn to eat what I can grow or make more money so that we can buy the food that we are used to eating.  A little creativity goes a long way to stretching the dollars and allowing us to live here in paradise, without a salary.

Bartering helps, too.  We are milking 6 saanan does and getting about 8 1/2 litres a milking -- two of the milkers are first fresheners but they will grow in their production.  Most days it gets used up feeding bottle babies, but once in a while the surplus goes in the freezer for goat's milk soap.  Two days ago my neighbour came to get some milk for a bottle lamb.  She wanted to pay for it, but I said I'd trade her my surplus for something that she had an abundance of.  Yesterday she brought over 2 huge bags of rhubarb.  Thank you very much.  But how many rhubarb pies, rhubarb crisps and rhubarb jam can a family of 3 eat? Especially when we are cutting back on sugar.

Sarah, my little genius, said, "Mom, can we make barbecue sauce from rhubarb?"  That's was how the Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbeque Sauce came to be.  Its wonderful.  The perfect mix of sweet and sour, tangy and savoury.  It goes great on meats like lamb, veal, goat or venison.

Or spoon some over brown rice for a Meatless Monday Dish -- add a tbsp of sunflower seeds and spinkling of toasted sesame seeds, a spring greens salad and you've ready to change the world.

Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce/ Pasta Sauce

2 tsp. cold pressed sesame oil
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 c. celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups of rhubarb, finely sliced
1/2 cup of water
1 small can of tomato paste
1/4 tsp. hot, dried chilis or 1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 bunch parsley, chives, lemon balm, or cilantro, finely chopped (or to taste)
Bit of thyme, sage, rosemary or what ever you have growing in the garden 
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup or to taste
1/4 tsp. sea salt, or to taste

Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.  Sauce will thicken.  Rhubarb will soften.  To use as a barbecue sauce, spread over meat while grilling.

To use as a pasta sauce, reheat and serve over rice or pasta.  May be thinned with water if its too thick to spoon out.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds or sunflower seeds before serving.

Wondering about the health benefits of eating rhubarb?  Here's what I found.

Rhubarb is harvested in Spring, and can be chopped and frozen for future use.  It has antioxidants, fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.  It helps prevent some cancers, lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and helps with weight-loss by increasing your metabolic rate.  Nice benefits for a vegetable that is so easy to grow in the North, and can pose as a fruit, too.

What do you do with Rhubarb?

1 comment:

  1. And it's one of the extremely rare perennial veggies, too!