Archive for the ‘rhubarb’ category

rhubarb made fancy

June 4, 2010

This weekend, I harvested my first rhubarb. It has been a long wait; with rhubarb, asparagus, and other edible perennials, you wait a few years for the plant to get established before you start consuming parts of it. Otherwise it can get discouraged. But after three years, these plants are fair game.

 Last year, I threw together a last-minute rhubarb sorbet with some stems from the market. No recipe: a simple combination of herb-infused simple syrup and chopped rhubarb cooked to the point of collapse, thrown in the ice-cream maker. The result was visually unappealing, but the taste was the opposite of beige. Summer by the spoonful.

I had a houseguest over the weekend, and I was excited about repeating this casual but brilliant idea to close a casual summer supper.

But, for whatever reason, it never quite made the transition from slop to sorbet. Not wanting to waste my first harvest, I put it in the fridge (which at that point was still working) and waited for inspiration to strike.

 The next day, I put the mixture back on the stove, added more lavender, threw in a stick of butter, thickened with some eggs, and strained.  It was not pretty but it was good.

 It was also more richness than two people could comfortably consume, so I needed to get from there to something that could be eaten out of hand at the tech table. I made a pie crust and then cut out rounds to fit the cups of a muffin tin. While they baked, it occurred to me that there was a danger of sogginess, so when they came out of the oven I placed a few chocolate chips on the bottom of the hot crusts and then, once they were melted, smooshed around with the end of a wooden spoon. Cut the corner off a Ziploc bag, filled the crusts, then finished with some shredded mint leaves.

A far cry from the casual, fresh intention, and not something I’ll have the energy to repeat anytime soon. But so good!

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