Monday, June 8, 2009
As a small child I had an every-so-often friend. She was the granddaughter of our next-door neighbors and I only saw her when she came to visit, usually once a summer. We'd play hide and seek, running around the adjoining yards, getting grubby in the dirt, and playing wildly imaginative games.
The neighbors had a patch of large rhubarb growing and whenever the granddaughter visited, we'd play Queen of the Nile with the rhubarb. With her grandmother's permission we could pick the largest stalks and leaves of rhubarb and one of us would be the queen and the other would be the slave girl, using the enormous rhubarb leaves to fan the queen.
When we'd exhausted the play potential of the rhubarb and the leaves were looking a bit wilty, we'd take our fans into the kitchen and her grandmother would chop up the stalks, throw them into a pot with some water and sugar, and cook them into a disgusting looking stew. Disgusting looking, but divine tasting. That dish of stewed rhubarb was the highlight of the visit, something I looked forward to every year and mourned when the granddaughter stopped coming to visit.
This spring I was tremendously excited because the rhubarb that my daughter's father-in-law (shouldn't there be a shorter way of saying that - parent in law?) gave me last year survived the cold winter and was actually producing! My first year to cook with homegrown rhubarb. Yeah! What to make first? My list is larger than my rhubarb patch, so I'll have to save some of the projects for next year.
For starters, though, I settled on Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet from The Perfect Scoop (of course). It was a good choice. The sweetness of strawberries, the tang of rhubarb, and the delicious smoothness of the sorbet make this recipe go straight to the "keeper" file. So easy, refreshing, and delectable. Plus you can use those gigantic leaves to keep cool while you're cooking up the rhubarb.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet
- adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
12 oz (325 g) rhubarb
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
3/4 cup sugar
10 oz (280 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1- Cut off the rhubarb leaves and trim off the ends of the stalk. Wash the stalk and then cut into 1/2-inch (2 cm) pieces.
2- Place the rhubarb, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through. It will fall apart into stringy bits. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3- Slice the strawberries and puree them with the cooked rhubarb mixture and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth.
4- Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, 4 hours or overnight. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.