Rhubarb on the brain

It’s been a rhubarb kind of weekend.  I made rhubarb barbeque sauce, like I said I was going to, and had it with some roasted vegetables tonight.  It’s really good!  And hubby-approved, too.  He agrees that this will be really good on a pork loin this fall.  It’s different than I thought it would be, and since there is no tomato sauce in it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  Isn’t barbeque sauce based on tomato sauce?  But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  The combination of the rhubarb, brown sugar, raisins, onion, vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger make a very nice sweet, with a hint of savory, sauce that is fantastic on roasted mushrooms, potatoes, and onions.  I especially liked the mushrooms.  I think they were my favorite.

Also today I made some rhubarb applesauce.  I make applesauce all the time in the slow cooker.  Peel, core, slice apples.  Throw in crock.  Add a hint of sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and a little nutmeg or cardamom and turn it on high for a few hours.  Then turn it to low and let cook overnight.  In the morning, mash it up with a potato masher, leaving some large chunks of apple.  Delicious.  The addition of rhubarb, with its tartness, will necessitate the addition of more sugar than I normally add to my applesauce.  But I think the rhubarb will be a nice compliment to the apples.  I love to eat homemade applesauce on vanilla yogurt.  A favorite breakfast or snack!

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In the past when I have made applesauce, I would leave the apple peels on, because I hate, hate, hate, peeling apples by hand.  It’s such a pain, and I always end up taking more flesh than I want.  (Not that The Stinker minds–she sits at my feet waiting for pieces of apple to come her way, drooling on her feet and the floor in anticipation of her next piece.)  So one day while I was out shopping for a gift for a friend who had surgery, I ran across an apple peeler.  I’d seen them in gardening catalogs for years and always wondered if they were really worth it or if they were just some cheesy piece of crap equipment that I would use once, realize how useless it was, then let it sit in my kitchen taking up precious cabinet space until I finally got up the gumption to donate it to charity.  Let me assure you, it is the first scenario.  The apple peeler, slicer, corer just might be the greatest invention of all time.  Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I have used the hell out of mine and I’ve only had it for about 6 months.  Never again do I have to dread peeling apples.  This baby peels, cores, and slices apples in a jiffy.  Sometimes the core isn’t centered, and I have to do a little trim work here and there, but all in all it takes the ‘pain in the ass’ work out of prepping apples for apple sauce, apple pie, apple slices with peanut butter…you name it.  One of my favorite kitchen gadgets–and not a gimmick!

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