Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
Last year about this time, we were so excited about putting in a new garden at the side of the house. We'd even done our homework! Or most of it. We had the whole thing laid out, including the three rhubarb plants at the back, a boon to any gardener both because they provide a nice backdrop and because, well, the stems cook up so darn delicious. Strawberry-rhubarb pie has always been one of our favorite indulgences.
Proud of our plans to plant, we brought it up in passing to a friend -- well, specifically, to
Expecting gushing approval for our self-sustaining rhubarb habit, we instead met with gasps and guffaws. "You're not actually planting that stuff, are you?" she laughed. "It's a weed in
Yes, those three plants did grow very well, but that turned out to be the least of it. As the weather warmed, we started to notice the woods around our house were infested with the stuff. Hundreds of rhubarb plants sprang up among the ferns, under the trees, along the creek bed. We were surrounded by some sort of nightmarish rhubarb jungle. Over the years, people had planted it everywhere. Our town is Colonial, so we're dealing with the detritus of centuries of big-eyed gardeners.
By June, we had canned, cooked, baked and braised our way through the underbrush. Then we started mowing it down.
Even though nothing tames the stuff in the wilds of
Strawberries and rhubarb: It's still a match made in heaven. That's why we're planting strawberries this season. Lots of strawberries. And we defy Jessie to tell us they grow wild in the woods. Because if they do, we're never leaving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh or frozen (not thawed) rhubarb
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant tapioca
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 sheets (9-by-14-inch) phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions (see tip)
5 teaspoons walnut oil or canola oil
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine strawberries, rhubarb, 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, tapioca, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
Unroll phyllo sheets onto a clean, dry surface, keeping them in a stack. Cover with a sheet of wax paper and then a damp kitchen towel. (Keep the phyllo covered to prevent it from drying out while you work.) Take one sheet of phyllo from the stack and place it on another clean, dry surface with a short side closest to you. Starting at the center and working toward the edges, lightly brush the sheet with oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with oil; repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo.
Mound the strawberry-rhubarb filling on the lower third of the phyllo stack, leaving a 2-inch border at the bottom and sides. Fold the long edges in toward the center and, starting at the short edge nearest you, roll the filling and phyllo into a cylinder. Roll up firmly but not too tightly, to allow a little room for expansion.
Brush the strudel with oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Carefully transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet, placing it seam-side down. Poke several steam vents in the top using the tip of a sharp knife.
Bake the strudel until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before serving.
Tip: The 9-by-14-inch pieces of phyllo (or fillo or filo) dough are just the right size when making desserts for two, but phyllo comes in a variety of sizes. Trim larger sheets to approximately the right size. Leftovers: Each box of phyllo has more sheets than you'll need for a small dessert. Store defrosted phyllo in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply remove the sheets you need, reroll the rest, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze up to 9 months.
Per serving: 347 calories; 15 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 377 mg sodium; 239 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (70 percent daily value).
3 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 other carbohydrates, 3 fat
Dessert Recipe, German
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