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Eclecticisms: Featured Ingredient: Rhubarb!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Featured Ingredient: Rhubarb!

Rhubarb in my garden
Rhubarb is one of the first plants that springs up in my yard each year which makes me excited for several reasons. To begin, the rhubarb I have was Marge's and has been growing there for years, so I think of her each time I finally see it sprouting up. Secondly, it's a sure sign spring has arrived/is arriving/came and left but will return again soon (it's hard to tell for sure in Chicago). Lastly, rhubarb means I can finally get back to walking out to my garden for ingredients! (I also grew up on my Grandma's strawberry rhubarb pies, so I've loved this stuff for a long time.)

Check out these other rhubarb recipes I've tried:

Strawberry-rhubarb pie
Strawberry Rhubarb crumb bars
Rhubarb Cobbler

"What's so great about rhubarb?", you ask? Pft. Where do I start?

Rhubarb is a large and leafy plant with tart, edible stalks. The flavor gives a wonderful balance to strawberry or cherry desserts and has a consistancy similar to that of celery. One cup holds only 26 calories, but has 2 g fiber, 10% DV calcium and 16% DV Vitamin C. You can do worse with dessert ingredients in those fields, am I right? (Hint: I'm always right! haha)

*Don't forget that the leaves are poisonous, so make sure you're only eating the stalk of the plant.*
*Unless you are a member of Steely Dan. Then eat the leaves.*

I kid, I kid!

Today's recipe is an extremely easy and fast way to dress up some vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or a great dairy-free vanilla "ice cream". You can experiment by mixing it up by using other berries, too. Because this taste a lot like pie filling (yum) I plan to try this with blueberries and peaches at some point. The strawberry rhubarb mixture was amazingly delicious though, so I'm definitely doing that one again this summer! I plan to try a more innovative recipe with the rhubarb soon, such as a chutney, but wanted to get started using it now.

This recipe came from the Martha Stewart site.

(Everything I used was organic. Yum!)

Frozen Yogurt or Icecream
1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 Cups rhubarb (2 stalks) cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup water

Hull and quarter strawberries, and cut rhubarb into 1/2" pieces.

Put all ingredients (except the ice cream, of course!) into a large sauce pan and set on high heat.

Once the water starts to simmer, continue cooking on high heat for 8 minutes, or until the rhubarb begins to break down, stirring occasionally.

Let cool and then refrigerate for at least one hour. The longer you wait, the thicker this topping will get. I debated using cornstarch as an emulsifier since it seemed a bit watery, but I definitely didn't need to, so I'm glad I opted against it! (The good old, "Should I try to fix it just in case something goes wrong?" conundrum.)

Serve over ice cream and enjoy! This is a PERFECT summer dessert treat.

Happy Eating!

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