Sunday, May 4, 2008

It would have been better with nuts....

It was still delicious, but my sister is anti-nut unless it's an almond or a hazelnut. Both of which were conveniently absent from her pantry shelf. We were going to the store for buttermilk, where nuts are easily obtained. But, no. She was determined to have this rhubarb bread come out nut free. Her kitchen, her rules....fascist.
Lonely lonely rhubarb
That's okay. Lucky for her, this is the most versatile and forgiving quick bread recipe of all time. Plus, she had just given me a really cool rug and a bunch of clothes (my sister Brooke is a clothes whore. Seriously. She was trying to give me stuff that still had the tags on it. Every time I see her, she has bags full of items to unload on me so that she can clear space in her closet for more f'ing clothes. I would suggest an intervention if her illness were not so beneficial to yours that bad? But honestly- In 8 years, the only articles I've had to buy for myself are chef pants and birkenstocks. Pretty much everything else comes from her. And she has good taste to boot.) so I wasn't going to throw down over something as petty as a nut. But walnut fans will be pleased to know that I did voice my opinion...several times.

You have no idea how good this smells. See the scented steam a-wafting out the top? Oh yeah.
Despite all that, I had such a delightful day with the sibling. She and her boyfriend, CK, just bought a house in the ridiculously quaint, historic downtown area of Everett. It's about 30 miles north of the less quaint, more crowded, and much snootier queen anne neighborhood of Seattle, where I live (I still love you Sea-town, you just piss me off sometimes). Everett is the type of town where everybody knows each other. We had brunch at an adorable cafe, where the owner is Brooke's new neighbor. Later, we had pints and salads at the Irish pub where she and CK attend(and sometimes win, cuz CK be all smart and stuff) trivia night once a week. The small town vibe has become foreign to me, so it almost felt like a mini vacation. I also fell in love with Brooke's new, enormous and light-filled kitchen. Complete with a dishwasher (also foreign to me) and a breakfast nook. Like her mother before her, Brooke's whole house is beautifully decorated, one of the umpteen reasons why I refer to her as the "talented one"- but the kitchen and I hit it right off. I refused to go home with out baking something in there for her boyfriend, who would be returning from teaching rock climbing lessons (or something environmental and hippi-ish like that) that night, tired and hungry. I would have found any excuse to play in there, but CK's weary return with a rumbling tummy immediately tugged at her heartstrings.

So, we made rhubarb bread. Here is the recipe. Please note that it is better with 3/4cup of toasted, chopped walnuts. If you are smart, and are adding the nuts, reduce the flour to 2 3/4 cups.
Rhubarb Bread adapted from Kate's mom (for inquiring minds, Kate is my old boss)

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (we have discovered that dark brown makes it noticeably superior. But use light if you must)
1 egg
6oz. melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
2 cups sliced rhubarb

2 T butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Sugary-buttery topping.This stuff is basically crack.
Pre heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and butter. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk salt and baking soda, then add to brown sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Add the flour and mix until just combined, then fold in the rhubarb. Pour into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the 2 T butter. Mash with a fork until crumbly, then sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 and continue baking for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely (overnight if possible- it's never possible...) before slicing and wolfing down.
Brookey Likey.


Heather said...

Sugar + butter = basically crack. It's the truth!

I don't get people not liking nuts.

Cakespy said...

Lucky Brookey. VERY lucky Brookey. ;-)

peter said...

Heather has a special glass pipe for smoking it, you know.

Our rhubarb is only an inch tall, but I'm going to file this away in the event that I am allowed to make anything other than strawberry-rhubarb pie with it when it's bigger.

Emiline said...

You're lucky that your sister gives you all of her clothes. Think of all the money you're saving!

I tried cooking rhubarb for the first time, last night. It is so good! I was amazed! Once you cook it, and add sugar, it's really, really good. So, I think I'll make this. I have to buy more rhubarb. I would add nuts, too. I'm quite fond of the pecan- it's my Texas roots.

Brittany said...

Heather- and I am a total crack ho. Butter and sugar pay the billz!! With ya on the nut thing. If there is no allergy, then you need to just get over it and eat them. My sister thinks walnuts taste "dirty"....sigh.

Cakespy- I know, right?

Peter- Aw. Sorry your plant is still stumpy. are you suffering from rhubarb envy?

Emiline- I thank my lucky stars for my hand-me-downs, as I despise shopping for clothes. Something about it depresses me profusely. I'd rather shop for food. Pecans RULE. I actually prefer them to walnuts. They have a deeper, maple-y flavor that hits me right in the g-spot.

michelle @ TNS said...

oh, the buttery sugary topping. and the wafting, always the delicious wafting.

peter said...

I am. But I know that it will be ready at the same time as the strawberries. So there's that.

Brittany said...

Oh I am totally a nut whore!

This looks delicious, I could practically smell it through the screen!

mike said...

mmm. I think I'm going to make a batch of topping to start the day off right. Maybe try maple-cinnamon roasting those walnuts?
Food facism: only good if it's the cook who's facist. maaybe, but flexibility is good, too.

Brittany said...

Michelle- Wafting, when eminating from something that technically needs overnight to sit, is a form of torture. Thats why the buttery sugary crackle topping is there. To pick off and nibble while enduring the waft chamber.

Peter (and everyone)- Have I mentioned that it is unkind to discuss your gardens here? Don't you know that I live smack dab in the middle of the city? Sheesh.

Brittany- dirty, dirty whore.

Mike- maple cinnamon roasted walnuts? Yeah, I could get on board with that.

matt wright said...

sugar and butter are crack by themselves! Put them together, and well, you have some complete out of class crack. Butter is a big time vice of mine.

Wow, I have never described food as crack before.

Great looking bread.

Brooke said...

I assure everyone, this bread was delicious, especially WITHOUT dirty, dirty walnuts. We are anti-nut people (for quick breads, anyway), and we are not ashamed of that.

But seriously, breakfast all this week has been pretty awesome.

Genevieve said...

Hi Brittany - that looks so very scrumptious. You have totally made rhubarb sexy. :)

Genevieve said...

And by the way, I really love your writing on the pie lady and was wondering if you would be interested in having your work featured as a Guest Blogger for the new food-centric website eatNation (

Please email me if you are interested!


Brittany said...

Matt- I'll take butter and sugar over hard drugs most any day, which explains both my ocupation and my double chin

Brooke- Nobody asked you, bitch. But seriously, glad you guys have enjoyed your sub-par rhubarb bread breakfasts.

Genevieve- Thank you, and we'll talk...

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...Where's mine?

Gloria said...

All these wonderful and beauty!! Gloria

Nicka said...

My tongue has been grazed by the pictures alone. I thought I'm only able to find recipes like this at but I guess its not. Sometimes its also good to explore the web for something new.

Lisa said...

Thank goodness I have my job to finance my persistence in cooking. Despite being the anus of the cooks in our area, I attempt to have a competent cooking performance here. I guess I can use this recipe to enhance my skills. I suggest you to visit to learn more tips (got from Nicka). I appreciate you for sharing this recipe.

Thanks Norm!