Tag Archives: rhubarb challenge

Rhubarb fool

Final Rhubarb Challenge! I don’t know about you all, but I am totally over rhubarb. It doesn’t grow well in The South, so I apparently can’t find it fresh. As my Arkansas aunt once said, “Rhubarb? That’s Yankee food!”

Alas, it will always hold a place in my heart, which brings me to the rhubarb fool. This recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated. I still have no idea what a “fool” is in regards to food, but it seems fitting that I am ending this challenge with a dish that points a finger at me and laughs.

Rhubarb Fool

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into cubes (we all know I used frozen)
  • 1/3 c. juice from one orange
  • 1 c. plus 2 T sugar
  • Pinch table salt
  • 2 c. cold heavy cream

Bring orange juice, 3/4 c. sugar, salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add rhubarb and return to boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, stirring twice, until rhubarb is tender, 7-10 min. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Beat cream and remaining sugar until soft peaks form, 1-3 min.

To assemble, spoon 1/4 c. rhubarb into a glass, then layer whipped cream and then more rhubarb. Finish with whipped cream. You can serve this in bowls, parfait glasses, wine glasses … or you could be ridiculous like me and buy mini trifle dishes just for this purpose!

Yes, it was yummy. Like eating the inside of a rhubarb pie, mixed with cream. Tell me how that could be bad?

Until the next challenge, friends…enjoy! xoox

Rhubarb-raspberry sauce

This episode of the Rhubarb Challenge (No. 4) is a bit of a cheat: the boiled-down syrup from when I made rhubarb-ginger bread pudding. Alas, it is a delicious ice-cream topper, as I found out…

Rhubarb-raspberry sauce

  • 1/2 c. seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1 lb. rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Combine preserves, water and sugar in saucepan and heat over medium until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, boil until rhubarb breaks down, 10 min. Strain into a bowl, then pour liquid back into saucepan and boil, reducing to 1 c. Let cool or drizzle it immediately over vanilla ice cream.

Go on, indulge.

This would also be delicious over pancakes, waffles or in a milkshake. The rhubarb is tart and the raspberries are sweet – quite a nice combination.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Rhubarb Mojito

I have this very stylish and sophisticated friend. She almost always wears silk or some other luxe fabric. She has an insanely white carpet that seems to never collect dust or dirt. She can pull off ridiculously large earrings and tunics of every color and pattern.

And she can think of a way to turn almost anything into a mojito.

So, in honor of my dear Krissy, I give you Rhubarb Challenge #3: Rhubarb mojitos!

Krissy suggested this after I explained my challenge to her one night over ginger-beer cocktails at Tate’s.

But of course, I thought, I can boil the rhubarb down into a sugary syrup, strain it and then add it to a classic mojito with rum, fresh mint, lime and club soda.

These were quite yummy and incredibly refreshing. I think the secret is in the rum, not the rhubarb. Get good rum, people, and you won’t feel like you’re drinking something out of your boyfriend’s dorm room freshman year.

The rhubarb adds a nice tart sweetness that matches the minty bubbles of the drink. I recommend enjoying it on someone’s back porch on a warm afternoon, with a little Frank or Ella playing in the background.

WriteGal’s Rhubarb Mojitos

Makes roughly 10 drinks

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into chunks
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. fresh lime juice
  • GOOD white rum
  • Club soda
  • fresh mint, as much as you can cut from your garden

Add rhubarb, sugar and water to saucepan and boil until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Strain into a container and press.

In a tall glass, add five or six mint leaves and muddle with a spoon.

Add one shot of rum, one shot of lime and one shot of rhubarb syrup. Fill the glass with ice and finish with club soda. Stir to combine and taste to see if you need more rhubarb syrup or lime juice. The drinks will be a light pink flavor, so wear a little pink to match. : )

And yes, we matched our drinks…and the napkins and plates. (Note: I normally wear mismatched socks) Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Rhubarb-ginger brioche bread pudding

I received some devastating news this week….rhubarb apparently “doesn’t grow in The South.” And by “doesn’t grow,” I mean the plants don’t take the heat well. One website I found said it grows best in Michigan, Washington and Oregon (sigh).  Finding these red and green stalks has been just short of a nightmare.

Upon learning this agricultural tip, I had to look inward and ask myself deep questions, like, “What will this mean for the Rhubarb Challenge? Should I postpone it? *shudder* Cancel it? Should I take on a new challenge instead?”

Fate answered my questions when I discovered frozen rhubarb at Fresh Market (and no, Whole Foods didn’t have it. They have frozen acai and goji berries, but no freaking rhubarb). I bought three bags and marched home to make my second recipe for the Rhubarb Challenge: rhubarb and ginger bread pudding.

Folks, it was really good. I bought freshly baked brioche from Ollie’s Bakery…

Ollie's Bakery

And layered thick eggy slices with the vanilla-bean custard and chunky rhubarb compote. After baking, I brushed the rhubarb sauce over the top, brought it to a cook-out and served it with fresh whipped cream. At first, my friends’ responses were:

Kelly: “What’s…rhubarb?”

Lance: “I cook a lot and I’ve never heard of rhubarb…is it a vegetable?”

Rachel: (raised eyebrow)

Bethany: “I don’t know what this is, but I like it!”

Those kids gobbled almost the entire pan up…and that’s after eating locally farmed burgers, brats and assorted side dishes (plus Miss Anna Lyn’s sangria).

The tartness of the rhubarb is wonderful with the richness of the custard, perfectly flavored with specks of vanilla bean. The ginger was not overpowering – a surprise – and in fact just added a new dimension to my favorite (fruit? vegetable?) stalk.

This will be empty by the end of the day...

The big takeaway was that my FROZEN RHUBARB worked perfectly. It was bright red and beautiful. So I highly recommend using frozen, if you can find it (in a pinch).

Rhubarb-ginger bread pudding (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 2 1/2 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or just buy frozen)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • butter, for dish
  • 8-10 thick slices of brioche, cut lengthwise (one loaf)…you can also use challah
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Whisk preserves and water in large skillet over medium heat until dissolved. Add ginger, orange zest and rhubarb. Bring to simmer, stirring gently, until rhubarb is slightly tender, about 10 min. Pour mixture through large sieve over large saucepan. Let drain in fridge while you get going on the custard…

Preaheat oven to 350. Whisk sugar and eggs in medium bowl. Set aside.

In medium saucepan, add milk and cream and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk cream into egg mixture, blending completely.

Butter 13×9 inch baking dish. Arrange bread slices along bottom, then spoon over half the drained rhubarb mixture. Repeat with bread and rhubarb. Pour custard over the top and gently press to make sure the bread absorbs all the liquid.

Place dish in roasting pan or lined baking sheet, filling with water to create a water bath (try to get liquid halfway up the dish). Bake until pudding is just set in the middle, covering the top with foil if it gets too dark, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in water bath another 30 minutes, or while you make the whipped cream and sauce…

Boil the draining rhubarb liquid until reduced to 1 c., about 15 minutes. Brush the sauce over the bread pudding before serving.

To serve, spoon pudding onto plate and top with sauce and whipped cream.

This recipe proves that even if you have no clue what rhubarb is, or don’t care, you’ll still enjoy it. Let my diverse and opinionated group of friends attest to that. Enjoy the beautiful weekend, friends! xoxo

Strawberry-rhubarb crumble

One little perfect thing

Introducing….The Rhubarb Challenge! Just like my Pumpkin Challenge (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), I have turned one of my favorite stalks into a challenge that will reward my sweet tooth. However, I don’t know if I’ll make eight recipes…maybe this will just be a one-month challenge. Between now and the end of June. Ready, Set, Go!

First up: strawberry-rhubarb crumble, which I found in a recent Bon Appetit. I like this recipe because the crumble has toasted hazelnuts in it. I would never have thought to put hazelnuts in a crumble, but the result was quite nice. Really made it special and not taste like every other strawberry-rhubarb thing. Not to discount the miraculous combination of strawberries and rhubarb.

What a splendid way to start my Rhubarb Challenge – we got a bucket of freshly picked strawberries at the farmers’ market, of which I used about four cups of the berries.

Hand-picked

You must serve this either warm with one scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold out of the fridge – just you, the dish and a spoon.

Strawberry-rhubarb crumble

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. plus 1/2 c. sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 6 T cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 12 oz. rhubarb, ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Butter baking dish.

Combine flour, 2/3 c. sugar, salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add butter, rubbing with fingers until is sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts.

Place 1/2 c. sugar in large bowl. Add strawberries and rhubarb, toss to coat. Pour fruit into baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping over strawberry mixture, clumping together with your fingers. Pat the top down a little to form a crust.

Bake on a cookie sheet (it will bubble over!) until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45-50 min. Let cool 15 min. while you do something fun like finish watching “Rachel Getting Married.”

Juices worth burning your fingers to taste!

Spoon warm crumble into bowls and serve with ice cream.

You’ll find it’s a little soupy at first, but those juices will thicken the next day. Plus, they are delicious! Aren’t you excited for the next edition of the Rhubarb Challenge?! I am. Enjoy, friends! xoxo