“Never Rub Another Man’s Rhubarb”

I’ve got rhubarb on the brain.  It is a fact that is a little odd given it is not a vegetable I grew up eating. Yep, vegetable!  Who knew?  Rhubarb is a sour spring veggie! 

Or maybe I knew…but didn’t care enough about the lowly rhubarb to remember.  But this year, I can’t stop thinking about it.  Perhaps it is the sheer number of tempting recipes I have seen on blogs.  Or the gorgeous red stalks at the farmer’s market.  Or maybe the tasty rhubarb jams & such coming out of the Can Jam.  Who knows the reason, but the outcome is that my thoughts are having a rhubarb invasion. 

washing rhubarb

Rhubarb!

 

Rhubarb has a long list of touted health benefits including: 

  • anticancer agent
  • mild laxative
  • improve digestive system
  • balance stomach acid
  • reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
  • eliminates hot flashes
  • good source of calcium
  • tumor-resistant
  • anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties

***Warning though!  The leaves are toxic to eat, so you will want to steer clear of them.  In fact, I planted it on the outside of my fence because the Babylady (& ladydog, if she sneaks garden access) loves to chomp on anything with green leaves.  [Because "it's my favorite green Mimi" she exclaims enthusiastically.] 

Want to read about some incredible sounding rhubarb-starring desserts? And then invite me over for a taste test?  You will, won’t you?   Rhubarb Sponge Pudding, Rhubarb Quick BreadRhubarb Liqueur (that I heard about from here), Rhubarb Custard Pie, Roasted Rhubarb (with wine & vanilla) and Rhubarb Sorbet.    I have 2 batches of the liqueur going (Rhubarb and Strawberry-Rhubarb).  Julia over at What Julia Ate is also feeling rhubarb-y- check it out!  

rhubarb, strawberries and grain alcohol

strawberries, rhubarb & grain alcohol oh my!

 

Friends & Friend-a-versaries

Tonight (*last night now I suppose) is “Friend-a-versary” with some our dearest friends & we are bringing dessert.  We will likely get together and sit on the OhBriggsy new deck, sipping many cocktails, listening to the “Friend-a-versary” mixed CD (yes, apparently these exist in the world of Briggs & Double S!), laughing, pondering our enneagrams (**)  and discussing which 2 of us should get props & praise for the 4 of us being friends. The real answer, of course, is each of us.  But Briggs and I will still argue that it was the 2 of us, bonding over career dissatisfaction and a desire to garden & farm to our big hearts’ content. (Pretty much spot on!)
friend-a-versary board

seriously? how cute are these 2?!?

 

Friend-a-versary Dinner Menu

want to know what we ate? tasty, tasty, tasty

 

I wanted to whip up some ice cream, so the Ladyfriend and I decided on Rhubarb Ice Cream.  Actually, I think mostly I decided on that.  It would be decidedly unlike her to spontaneously choose rhubarb-anything.  She’s a food-skeptic that one.  At this point she appears somewhat curious about it, yet unconvinced. However, that could just be the inherent look of someone writing their dissertation.  She’ll come around.  She almost always does! 

But oh no, friends…that isn’t all. I decided it needed a caramel topping.  This caramel topping.  And the Ladyfriend just knew we needed chocolate chip cookies.  Or course, not any ol’ chocolate chip cookies. Browned- Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  With sea salt sprinkles.  My girl makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. 

We rock that way. 

Rhubarb-a-Friend-a-Versary Ice Cream & Cookies

Ice Cream (adapted slightly from Not Without Salt):

3- 3 1/2 cups Rhubarb chopped in 1/2″ chunks
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter- unsalted
1 Vanilla bean, seeds removed
1- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar, not packed
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk 

5 drops orange blossom extract (optional) 

  • Combine the rhubarb, butter, vanilla bean & seeds, vanilla extract, sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan.
  • Cover and place on medium-low heat. Simmer until Rhubarb is soft. This should take about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and smash up the rhubarb with a wooden spoon.
  • In a medium bowl combine the cream and milk then add the braised Rhubarb. Add the cherry blossom extract
  • Let chill completely.  I refrigerated overnight.
  • Churn in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
rhubarb ice cream

pretty in pink

 

Verdict: Pretty good flavor, but too much of a “whipped cream” tasting base. Which might be fine for some, but I don’t really like whipped cream much.  I guess I prefer more of a custard base to my ice cream.  But the flavors were great. Next time: custard base!

Salted Caramel Sauce (adapted sort of from Smitten Kitchen & The Washington Post):

(Note: Both recipes name it butterscotch sauce…but to me it tastes like rich salted caramel.  Call it what you like, it is sinfully fabulous) 

4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar. (I use this kind and trust me, it makes a difference. It is ridiculously superior)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt,  plus more to taste  (I used about 3/4 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, plus more to taste 

  • Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the sugar, cream and salt and whisk until well blended.
  • Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes, whisking occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract, stirring to combine.
  • Taste sauce carefully to see if you want more salt or vanilla.  If so, add & stir again.
  • Put far away. Unless you want to eat it all before it’s intended debut.

The sauce will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate in a recycled jar and reheated in a microwave or small saucepan. Makes 2/3-3/4 cup sauce. 

Verdict: Ridiculous. Completely ridiculous how good and how easy this is. Dangerous!


 

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the original Tollhouse recipe):

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup browned butter  (if you’d like a butter browning refresher, look here)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (get the best you can find…but I tell you, the Tollhouse morsels are just fine) 

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  • Beat browned butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkle lightly with a bit of sea salt.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon on  to ungreased baking sheets & bake for 9-11 minutes. Or so.
Salted Caramel Sauce and Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

want to eat sauce with a spoon. now.

 

Verdict: Delicious!  The browned butter and sea salt on top takes the class to a whole other level.   Next time might brown the butter a bit more and use slightly less flour–maybe just 2 cups total.

Rhubarb? Cookies? Salted Caramel? Good friends? Awesome! 

(** Enneagram: In case you were curious I am a ‘6.’  Oddly enough,  Briggs and I are both 6’s and our ladyfriends’ both 3’s) 


 

Random Rhubarb Bits

Shall I leave you with a weird lil’ clip?  I should, shouldn’t I?    Here is some Rhubarb Tart & John Cleese (Monty Python): 

or maybe you’d rather like some John Fogerty & Rhubarb Pie? 

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9 Responses to “Never Rub Another Man’s Rhubarb”

  1. Julia says:

    I think you may have trumped me on the obsessed-with-rhubarb-o-meter! Although, I have been literally dreaming about it, and I also canvassed my whole county so I can buy more, because my plants will not comply with my obsession. I will have to link this post to my post so there may be more comprehensive rhubarbism. (It’s just such a great word, too!) We must have been on the same (rhubarby) page last night!

  2. Julia says:

    Btw, what’s up with your post’s title? Is this an aphorism that I should be aware of?

  3. Comprehensive Rhubarbism! Love it! I keep looking at my very, very sad 1-leafed rhubarb plant I planted this year. I think she is lonely. Next year…

  4. briggsy says:

    great post, friend! friendaversary was awesome! and, readers, i’m serious…the recipes here for cookies and salted caramel sauce are for real. i’m a cookie snob, and i effing loved these cookies! and the caramel sauce…yowza!

    and i’ve got rhubarb on the brain too! i’ve gotta post my rhubarb-related activities!

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