What do you do when you have a bunch of fresh rhubarb and you're not altogether sure, um, what to do with it? And those with whom you share close quarters tell you they don't like rhubarb? Even strawberry-rhubarb pie? And you, upon gnawing on a stalk, wonder if you, too, don't hate rhubarb?
You make quick bread, of course.
Diced and folded into a batter of brown sugar, fat, flour and homey spices, those celery-like stalks shine. They are still themselves (tart) but eaten within the trappings of quick bread, it was decided: We all love rhubarb.
Fresh rhubarb, thanks to a dear friend's garden
Try this recipe if you're unsure about rhubarb. Hell, try it even if you've never been more sure about anything in your life. This moist quick bread is soul-satisfying on its own, or over-the-top delicious lightly toasted and smeared with quick bread's best friend forever: cream cheese.
Rhubarb Quick Bread
(adapted from a recipe I found in a little booklet titled "Old-Fashioned Bread Recipes," published by Bear Wallow Books)
(recipe yields 2 standard-size loaves)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 /1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two standard-size bread loaf pans.
In small bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour, spices, salt and baking soda). Set aside.
In large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, vanilla and beaten egg. Add buttermilk and mix until fully incorporated.
Fold dry ingredients into wet.
Gently fold in diced rhubarb and chopped pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Mix together melted butter and sugar for topping.
Drizzle topping over batter. (This step gives the top a nice crunch.)
Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Breads are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out gunge-free.
Leave in pans for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.