Spring is the perfect time for rhubarb pie

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie made by Linda Marrone.

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie made by Linda Marrone.

I hope everyone had a terrific Mother's Day or at least a relaxing weekend spent with family and friends.

It seems like May is such a busy month with so much to do in the yard and in the house to get ready for summer. I can tell when it's really spring around our house because Ralph puts up the screen door. My dog, Buster, really likes the screen door because he knows how to open it. I love it when the weather is nice enough to leave the front door open, and we start having more lunch and dinners on the porch than inside. Just like life, the seasons are always changing, and that's a good thing.

The spring Farmers Market will start Saturday downtown in Telegraph Square, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It will be wonderful to see the markets start up again. Remember, the first markets will be a little sparse. Don't go to the market expecting vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes, peaches and plums. I do know that Sue from Sue's Garden will be there selling tomato and herb plants, cut herbs, lettuce mix and stir-fry mix, weather permitting. Smith and Smith Farms will be selling spinach, squash and their wonderful bouquets of flowers, if not on Saturday then May 21 for sure.

If you want to plant tomatoes, buy those plants from Sue. They are grown right here in Carson City for our weather and all the other conditions. We've got ours ordered, and Ralph planted them last year with great success.

The strawberries in the stores have been pretty good. I bought some corn, but probably shouldn't have.

Whether you simply sauce it, put it in muffins or make a pie, one of my favorite finds in the market right now is spring rhubarb. If you have rhubarb growing in your garden, now is the time to pick it before the stocks get too big and thick. The small, thin, tender stalks are best for pie and baking uses.

Sauce the bigger stalks because you can cook them longer until they are tender.

To sauce rhubarb, trim off the leaves, wash, and slice it in 1Ú2-inch slices and put in a heavy saucepan with a little water over low heat, cook until tender. You can add strawberries while it's cooking, but don't add sugar until it's done, then add sugar to taste.

My recipe for rhubarb pie is pretty simple. Dice your rhubarb in 1Ú2-inch slices (about 4 cups) and add about a cup or so of chopped-up or sliced strawberries (I put mine in the Cuisinart) with 3Ú4 cup to 1 cup sugar. Put the fruit and sugar in a bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons flour.

Let this set while you make your crust.

Use any standard two-crust pie recipe. If you aren't comfortable making a lattice top, use a crumb topping or a regular pie crust sprinkled with a little sugar. Bake the pie for about one hour in 350-375-degree oven. Rhubarb pie is by nature a little on the tart side and begs for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

n Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.


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