CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Rhubarb Strawberry Crunch

No Midwest garden would be complete without a rhubarb patch. Add to that a nice bed of strawberries, and you have the makings for some wonderful desserts.

We are fortunate enough to have both. A stand of rhubarb was growing next to the garage when Therese bought our house about 25 years ago. And four years ago, I bought a bunch of strawberry plants and put them in on the east side of our house.

The rhubarb has been abundant just about every year, but it’s taken the strawberries up until this spring to produce a crop that might be considered decent in terms of numbers. (Each preceding year, we had enough to eat with cereal in the mornings, but not an overabundance.)

As I said, fresh rhubarb and fresh strawberries are the perfect combination when it comes to dessert. And in certain ones, their melding together is the ultimate in sweetness, tartness and crunchiness.

Today, I made the following Rhubarb Strawberry Crunch recipe after picking a large bowl of strawberries. Topped with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of Cool Whip, it’s a dessert that would make just about anyone’s taste buds jump with joy.

And if you don’t believe me, ask just about any Midwesterner.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crunch
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups slice fresh strawberries
3 cups diced rhubarb
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Mix 1½ cups flour, brown sugar, butter and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender. Crumble on top of the rhubarb-strawberry mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven or until crisp and lightly browned.
Yield: Serves 18.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 253 calories, 10.8 grams fat, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 78 milligrams sodium, 38.1 grams carbohydrates, 1.7 grams dietary fiber, 2.3 grams protein.

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