You know that the spring season is here when you see the vibrant rhubarb stalks show up at grocers and farmers markets.
The color of rhubarb depends primarily on the variety and is not an indicator of sweetness or sourness. It can range from pale green, speckled with pink, to bright red. When using rhubarb, be careful and make sure to discard the leaves right away as they are poisonous.
Did you know that another name for rhubarb is “pie plant?” We all love it in a classic strawberry rhubarb pie. Make sure to check out my fave at Phinney Ridges’ A La Mode Pies or as I like to call it pie heaven. Seriously go for a slice!
A d’lish slice from A La Mode Pies!
For something a little different to whip up at home, try my recipe for Roasted Rhubarb and Honey Mousse – a unique spring dessert. Sliced rhubarb is tossed with sugar and then slow-roasted to a tender syrupy goodness then chilled and folded with honey-sweetened whipped cream.
And rhubarb is not just for desserts. I love it in my pucker sweet and tart Ginger Rhubarb Vinaigrette – perfect to drizzle over fresh halibut. Yum!
Let’s not forget spring sips! Try whipping up a batch of my refreshingly tart
Rhubarb Meyer Lemonade. And for a libatious version, add a shot of vodka or gin. Perfect for your next spring party. Celebrate spring in a tart and tasty way with delicious rhubarb! –Kathy
Roasted Rhubarb and Honey Mousse
Makes 6 servings
1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 cup sugar
3 oz wt cream cheese
5 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Toss together rhubarb and sugar and place in a 9- x 13-inch glass baking pan. Roast, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and syrup is slightly caramelized. Stir thoroughly and carefully after the first 20 minutes.
Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, until completely cooled.
Whip cream cheese with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the honey in a mixer until very fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in chilled rhubarb mixture. Whip the cream with remaining tablespoon honey until firmly peaked. Stir about 1/3 of the whipping cream into the rhubarb-cream cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whipping cream.
Dish up into 6, pretty glasses. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little plain whipped cream if desired and an edible, spring flower, such as a pansy, or petals of apple, pear or plum tree blossoms.
Note: If selecting edible flowers from your yard, be sure they are edible and have not been sprayed with pesticide or other chemicals. Rinse all blossoms thoroughly.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.
Ginger Rhubarb Vinaigrette
This tart and tangy vinaigrette is great drizzled over fresh halibut, grilled scallops or other white fish.
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sambal oelek
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup canola oil
In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, vinegar, ginger and garlic, and cook over medium heat until rhubarb is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, salt, sambal, and chopped cilantro. Whisk in the cooled rhubarb mixture. Then gradually whisk in the canola oil, emulsifying the vinaigrette. Set aside at room temperature while you are preparing the fish.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.
Rhubarb Meyer Lemonade
“Bee” sure to use local honey whenever you can to add some delicious local flavor! For a sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktail, shake about 4 ounces in a cocktail shaker with ice and serve strained in a large martini glass and garnish with a long lemon twist.
Makes about 6 cups or 8 servings
2 large Sunkist Meyer lemons (or substitute Sunkist regular lemons)
1 cup local honey
4 cups water
4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
water as needed
lemon wedge for garnishing
With a potato peeler remove only the yellow skin of the lemon, then with a sharp knife slice the zest into fine strips.
Cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a 4-cup or 8-cup measure. Do not strain juice — you want to keep all the pulp — just pick out any seeds. Add the lemon peel strips, cover and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, place honey, 4 cups of water, rhubarb and minced rosemary in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 4 – 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and let sit at room temperature until cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, letting the juice drip through. To keep the juice clear, do not press. (You can let this strain overnight, refrigerated, if you wish.)
Then add the juice to the measuring cup containing the lemon juice and peel. Stir, and add water to make 6 cups total. Pour into a decorative pitcher.
Serve about 6 ounces (3/4 cup) over ice in tall glasses with a lemon wedge.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.