Monday, June 8, 2009

Cleopatra's Sorbet

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.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

What a lovely childhood story, as always - great imagination with the rhubarb usage :-)

Sorbet!! PERFECT for this time of year.

CaSaundraLeigh said...

This is an amazing recipe and will be great to use up my over-abundance of rhubarb! Thanks =)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I remember many a childhood afternoon with a bowl of sugar in one hand and rhubarb in the other:D The sorbet is a much better way to enjoy.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You have the very best little girl stories from a truly magical little girl - actually I love this grandmother who would allow two little girls to play with what was food and then cook it for them.

Sarah said...

Beautiful photos! They remind me of going to my own grandmother's house when I was little and her serving us raspberry sorbet with a little cream drizzled over it.

Deborah said...

What a fun memory! My in-laws give us rhubarb every year, but I'm thinking that I need to plant my own!

Sandra said...

I made a strawberry rhubarb cobbler last week. Yesterday I was set to make an apple/blueberry cobbler. My 9 year old said, "I don't want any cobbler." When I asked her why she said, "Last week you put celery in it and I don't like celery in my dessert."

When I finally stopped laughing I realized that I have not cooked with rhubarb since she was born. Poor deprived child!

NKP said...

A perfect way to showcase the rhubarb! It looks wonderful.

Debbie said...

A nice story and wonderful recipe!

Unknown said...

I've never tasted rhubarb, so I can't comment on that, but I really like your story. Very sweet :)

Karen Baking Soda said...

Rhubarb seems to have it's gang of lovers and haters. Unfortunately they gather both in my house. (I don't mind, more for me and oldest hehe).
Lovely recipe and cup too, fit for a queen!

Abby said...

I had friends like that, too. Sometimes I miss being a kid!

I've never had rhubarb. One of these years I'm going to have to try it!

Maria said...

I made rhubarb sorbet and it was amazing, I will have to try adding strawberries next time. Looks fantastic!

Aimée said...

Quite possibly the best fruit flavor combination ever. Enjoyed it in a crumble this weekend, but have never had the pleasure of sorbet! Really lovely, Lynn.

Lien said...

Lovely story of your childhood! Great pictures too.
I'm not into rubarb unfortunately :-(