Spring is definitely here when you see the vibrant stalks of rhubarb piled up at grocers and farmers markets.
Rhubarb stalks range in various colors from pale green, sometimes speckled with pink, to fully pink and bright red. The color depends on the variety and is not a guide to quality or degree of sourness. Be careful and make sure to discard rhubarb leaves right away as they are poisonous.
Rhubarb ready to be made into a d’lish dish!
(Photo courtesy of SteadyHealth.com)
Rhubarb is of course wonderful in classic pies. But for a little something different, try my recipe for Roasted Rhubarb and Honey Mousse for 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 though we love rhubarb in all things sweet – it’s not just for desserts. Try it in a new savory preparation such as in my Ginger Rhubarb Vinaigrette, it’s so tasty drizzled over spring’s other food star – fresh halibut. Yum!
Don’t forget about the drinks! Quench your thirst and whip up a batch of my Rhubarb Myer Lemon Ade. This pretty, pink-hued beverage is a great party sipper or add a shot of vodka or gin for a refreshing spring cocktail.
So celebrate spring in a tart and tasty way with delicious rhubarb! -Kathy
Roasted Rhubarb Honey Mousse
Makes 6 servings
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 cup sugar
3 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons 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 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 tablespoons 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 Lemon Ade
“Bee” sure to use regional 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 Meyer lemons (or substitute 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™