Hi. I’m back. It wasn’t the hiatus that I’d expected, and I didn’t quite accomplish what I wanted to with this space, but I can’t keep things on hold indefinitely while I sort out techy issues. Plus, the garden is producing food again! So how can I stay away?
It’s that time of year again. Last year I shared a recipe for Rhubarb Cake and the story behind it. Rhubarb is tied to a lot of memories for me. My late paternal grandmother kept a patch, and my cousin and I would sit on her huge glider swing, reading X-Men comics while chomping on rhubarb dipped in sugar. She also made the best meringue topped rhubarb custard pie. So when I saw that the rhubarb we’d planted last year survived the harsh winter we endured, I did a little happy dance in the yard (seriously).
Beyond cakes and pies
Rhubarb is a wonderfully healthy vegetable (yes, you read that right). It is low in carbs and high in fibre, with a fair amount of potassium and vitamin C and a rich history in natural healing circles (health claims run from anti-cancer properties, aiding indigestion, lowering blood pressure, diminishing hot flashes, lowering cholesterol, and reports of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergy properties.)
Wanting to do something different with my modest harvest, I set upon creating a barbecue sauce and recreating a dessert I enjoyed a couple of years ago. It was a creamy, delightfully refreshing and simple blend of yogurt, whipped cream and stewed rhubarb.
Starting with the compote
I began my recreation by starting with a spiced rhubarb compote. I added dried cranberries to it, mostly for texture. And I added coriander and ginger to punch it up a little. Honey provides the sweetness. This compote can be used in a parfait or fool (see below), or can really brighten a scoop of vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet.
Sweetness preferences vary, as does the tang of rhubarb. I started my compote with a third of a cup of honey and added more sweetness once the rhubarb had softened. Likewise, I sweetened the yogurt and cream mixture to taste. While the fool or parfait makes a lovely dessert, it also makes a wonderful breakfast when topped with granola cereal.
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3-1/2 cup honey (or agave or even maple syrup – omit the spices if you use that)
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients. Bring everything to a boil and simmer just until the rhubarb is tender and the cranberries plump. Taste for sweetness and add more honey, if desired. Transfer to a bowl and chill thoroughly.
To make a fool or parfait:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (or a scraped vanilla pod)
honey or agave, to taste
1 cup whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream. Add honey to taste (I tasted a little of the mixture with a little of the chilled compote until I liked the balance). Layer or fold the cream and rhubarb mixture together just before serving.
Serves 6-8 depending on if it’s dessert or breakfast