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LOW-FAT COOKING/DONNA DEANE

Spring's Ambrosia

April 08, 1998|DONNA DEANE | Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

When spring arrives, I think rhubarb. In Wisconsin, where I grew up, almost everyone had a rhubarb patch in the backyard, many times around the clothesline pole. At the end of each long winter, rhubarb was always one of the first things to pop up, a sign of spring to come.

One of my favorite ways of preparing rhubarb is to slightly sweeten it and simmer it until just tender. I then serve it icy cold with toast for breakfast or over pancakes or waffles. It's even delicious with ice cream.

You'll find rhubarb in the markets now. The stalks are shaped like celery and are bright red. Look for firm stalks that are the reddest. Raw rhubarb is very tart and the leaves are toxic, so avoid them.

STEWED RHUBARB

1 pound rhubarb

Water

1 cup quartered strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

Wash rhubarb under cold water and trim off ends. Cut into 1-inch chunks.

Combine rhubarb and strawberries in medium saucepan. Stir in sugar and 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to simmer over low heat, gently stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool, then chill. Serve with hot toast.

4 servings. Each serving:

80 calories; 4 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.89 gram fiber.

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