This past weekend I tried two things rhubarb.
First on Saturday, which was a gloriously warm day, I had a Campari and soda. Did you know Campari has rhubarb in it ? Campari is considered a bitter and is an acquired taste but on a warm summer (or spring) day nothing beats sitting on the back porch with a little Campari over ice and a good portion of soda water while picturing yourself sitting at some little outdoor restaurant in Italy wiling away the afternoon. You can make other drinks with Campari like the Negroni, which usually elicits strong opinions–love or HATE!
My second encounter with rhubarb was rhubarb ice cream for Sunday’s family dinner. The recipe was super easy and with my Cusinart ice cream maker I had creamy rhubarb ice cream in no time. But you can’t just serve rhubarb ice cream by itself because some in my family dislike it as much as they dislike purple onions and meatloaf.
I decided to make a Barefoot Contessa Lemon pound cake but instead of using full fat yogurt, which the recipe called for, I thought I would try using the non-fat Greek yogurt I always have in my fridge. I wasn’t as concerned about the fat content as the ice cream had plenty of whipping cream, as I was not having to go to the store. The recipe called for vegetable oil, which I rarely use, and when I measured it out I thought it smelled funny but I ignored my gut and carried on. Well, my oil was rancid and the pound cake tasted terrible (though Jack ate several slices and Buster and the chickens liked it). Always follow your gut; if you think it smells or looks bad, save yourself the heartache (maybe a little dramatic) and don’t use it. I think the non-fat yogurt also made it a bit tough.
Earlier in the week Megan and I had a conversation about whether angel food cake would be good served with rhubarb compote (which it would) and I decided it would also be delicious with rhubarb ice cream. I found the Lemon Angel Food Cake recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa books and gave it a try. The cake turned out perfect! Light and airy and just a little lemony, which was the perfect accompaniment to the rhubarb ice cream–not to mention the Rick Bayless Paella for 6–but that’s another post.
Rhubarb Ice Cream
Every Which Way With Rhubarb by Amanda Brannon
1 pound rhubarb, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the rhubarb in a shallow baking dish along with the sugar and the lemon juice. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Let it cool slightly. Pour the rhubarb into a food processor and process until you have a smooth puree. Pour into a container, cover and transfer to the refrigerator and chill. Stir the vanilla and cream into the rhubarb puree, pour into an ice cream maker and churn until the mixture has the consistency of soft whipped cream. Freeze for a minimum of two hours or until the ice cream is firm enough to serve.