Living the cottage life, Alaskan style!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rhubarb Nut Bread

One thing I can grow here in Juneau is beautiful rhubarb.  This is no ordinary rhubarb, it came from Pack Creek, a Brown Bear reserve on Admiralty Island, in Southeast Alaska.  Stan Price lived there and he was my first husband's great uncle and one of those rare people that you feel fortunate to have known. 

Stan built his own sailboat and traveled the waters where he settled in Alaska with his wife.  They lived remotely where the only access was by float plane or a small boat.  They grew their own food in the sandy beaches supplemented with seaweed and cut their own firewood from the Tongass National Forest.  Their home was a small cabin built on large tree trunks that floated with the incoming and outgoing tide.  When the tide was high, you floated; when it was low, you settled on the mud flats.  Stan befriended the big grizzly bear, raised a few bear cubs, and had collars on his "pet" deer which he fed in the winter so they wouldn't die.  In the winter time, the bay would freeze and you were stuck there until spring thaw. 

I confiscated a start of his rhubarb in the 70's and every time I move to a new home, I dig up this rhubarb and take it with me!  I now have eight plants that are almost ornamental they're so beautiful.  The stalks, alone, can be 4' tall and the leaves can get as large as a couch cushion.  

I have a few friends who love rhubarb and are more than willing to take some off my hand.  This year I harvested enough rhubarb to make rhubarb cakes, bread, and salsa.  I still have eight quarts in the freezer for winter use, which isn't much, but it's enough. 

I found this recipe for rhubarb nut bread from the blog the alchemist.  If you love rhubarb, you should try this recipe.  Even if you don't; it's that good.  My husband is not a sweet eater and he was gobbling one bite after another.

I'm always on the lookout for new rhubarb recipes and was pleasantly surprised with this bread.  It has some unusual ingredients in sour cream!   

It also has a yummy topping on it that makes the bread so good. 

My first batch of bread (8 mini loaves) turned out like this.  It was clear I had overfilled my containers and all this yummy goodness seeped over the side of my mini aluminum pan.  And on my oven floor.  And it burned.  It was a horrible horrible mess and required the oven to be cleaned.
As I tried to carefully remove the bread from the tin, all the topping that was oozing over the side would break off.  Okay....  I just had to eat it!  But look at how moist and yummy it looks on the inside.  It was more like a crumb loaf the way it broke apart.  We couldn't keep our hands off it. 
I made a second batch (of 10 loaves) and didn't fill the pan nearly as full this time.  Darn if it still didn't rise and seep over the side and onto my oven floor.  Oh, well.  The bread is still good and worth the mess.  I hope you try it. 

Here's the recipe for Rhubarb Nut Bread

Ingredients for Bread
1-1/2 cups  brown sugar, packed
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbs vanilla
2-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbs flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 tbs soft butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 8x4 loaf pans or 4-5 mini loaves.

In a large bowl, blend together the brown sugar, oil, and eggs.  Add the sour cream/yogurt and the vanilla.  Mix well again.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and blend until all incorporated.  Add the rhubarb and nuts and mix well.

Pour batter into greased pans.

Make the topping.  In a medium bow, blend the soft butter, brown sugar and chopped nuts until crumbs form.  Divide the mixture between the loaves and sprinkle over the batter. 

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Enjoy!  Nancy
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