Friendship and Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb sans Strawberries

It’s been difficult to figure out how to get my “blogging mojo” back after writing about David’s passing. I think the best way is to write about friendship (and food). Since being diagnosed with Celiac and adopting a gluten-free diet, I have been truly struck by the kindness and support of my friends and family. This weekend my friend Matt had a housewarming party. As he was getting menu together he mentioned that he was making a Rhubarb Crumble. I asked all about it.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the fruits of his baking adventures, but I still like to hear about food creations, even if I can’t actually partake.  He went through the ingredients with me to see if there was any chance it would be gluten-free. After looking over the recipe, I explained that there are gluten-free oats but that a cup of flour put the recipe in the off-limits category. I told him not to worry, but jokingly asked him to remind me not to kiss anyone at the party.

I was sad not to be able to eat rhubarb one more time before the season was over, but I was used to not being able to eat desserts at parties. I try to view it as a helpful way to keep from over-indulging. After all, I would be able to eat all of the fruit and cheese he would include in his party menu spread.

But as a big foodie, Matt never wants me to miss out on the delicious adventures. He offered to make the crumble gluten-free if I gave him the necessary supplies. The next morning he came to my office to pick up the gluten-free oats and gluten-free flour mix. He made two versions of the crumble, one was gluten-free and one was gluten-ful. He even made the gluten-free version first to help prevent any cross contamination with the regular flour.

When I arrived at the party, he had saved the gluten-free version to make sure I was able to sample his gluten-free handiwork. It was fantastic. I topped mine with loads of Cool Whip. What can I say, I love me some frozen topping.

The rest of the party-goers indulged with as much relish as I did, never realizing there was a difference between this crumble and the gluten-ful one they ate earlier in the evening.  I am so grateful to have friends willing to go to such lengths for me.

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Crumble Recipe (adapted from Matt’s Mom’s recipe)

Ingredients:
For crust and topping:
1 cup gluten-free oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten-free flour mix

Filling:
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 – 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 can cherry pie filling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and butter in a medium bowl. Press half of mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 9X13 casserole dish.

Boil sugar, water and cornstarch together until thick, add almond flavor and pie filling. Put rhubarb on top of crust and spoon the warm mixture over rhubarb. Sprinkle rest of crust mixture over this.

Bake 350 for 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Matthew would also like me to point out that rhubarb pies are vastly superior to strawberry-rhubarb pies. His position is that the flavor of rhubarb is so distinct and interesting, that “cutting” it with strawberries is a “wuss move” and they don’t really synergize, but turn into bland “berriness.” So for those of you who have been wary of trying rhubarb without its frequent partner, this recipe will convince you.

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Elizabeth said,

September 13, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

Thankyou for sharing your recipe. And it is true that rhubarb on it’s own without strawberries, is very good.

Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) said,

September 14, 2009 @ 2:54 am

I am so sorry about your friend. My dad passed away almost 3 years ago and it’s still difficult at times. In fact, I just went through another layer of grieving – it seems to come up at the strangest times. I know that the best thing I did for myself was to keep on going, no matter how painful it was.

Your rhubarb reminds me of family – my grandma used to cut it when we went camping on my dad’s farm and then would go home and make a pie or a cobbler. Thanks for sharing.

Marian A. Walker said,

March 13, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

Do you have a Tamale sauce recipe to use with cooked Gluten Free Tamalee’s

Samantha said,

September 30, 2010 @ 3:00 am

Great post! Really good quotes. Friends can always be there in difficult times and make life more meaningful. Thanks for your post. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I stumbled upon yours. I think they offer some good points and laughter about the topic: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/a-friend-indeed/

Thanks for the post! I’d like to see more like it.

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