Gremlins In The Garden And The Recipe File

I imagine that a few rhubarb patches are under water after our recent drenchings from Mother Nature, and if not, they likely took a beating in Monday’s gale-force winds.
Unfortunately, one of the rhubarb recipes I printed on Monday also ran afoul when a couple of key words were omitted. Avid cooks likely lifted a brow of doubt when they spotted that Myra Palmer’s bar recipe called for more than a cup of cornstarch. Yes, that was a typo that got past my recipe proofreader. A correction was printed in the next day’s paper, but once again, here is the recipe in its entirety.I have personally double-checked all the ingredients this time around!

Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars

For crust, combine ½ cup chopped pecans, 1½ cups rolled oats, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1½ cups flour, 1 cup softened butter and ¼ teaspoon baking soda; mix until crumbly. Pat half of the mixture into a 9- by 13-inch pan.
For filling, in a medium saucepan combine 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1¼ cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is clear. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Pour filling over crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool before slicing into serving-sized bars.

When Myra came toting that pan of bars to our house, she also contributed another dish featuring another seasonal favorite — asparagus, picked fresh from her own patch, no doubt.

Asparagus Casserole

Place 1 pound fresh or frozen asparagus, cut into pieces, or 2 10-ounce cans sliced asparagus in a lightly buttered casserole dish.
Combine one 10-ounce can cream of celery soup and 2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Top asparagus with 4 hard-cooked eggs, thinly sliced, soup mixture, then ¾ cup coarsely crushed saltine or Ritz crackers. Dot with 1 teaspoon butter.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

I’m always on the lookout for new versions of the classic egg bake, and this one is a good choice for those who have an active asparagus patch or who hunt up spears in area ditches.

Ham & Asparagus Bake

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Unroll one can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls and press dough into bottom of dish and ½ inch up the sides. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped asparagus and 1 cup chopped ham evenly over dough.
In a medium bowl, combine 4 eggs, ½ cup milk and ½ teaspoon ground mustard and whisk until well-combined. Pour mixture over top of ham and asparagus. Sprinkle 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-Monterey Jack blend or whatever you prefer) evenly over top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving.