Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recipe: Two Rhubarb Ideas

At the end of the rhubarb season is when I finally get around to trying new things with rhubarb.  After several pies and various sauces, including the requisite strawberry and rhubarb something can I turn my mind to doing something else with rhubarb. 

So, I have reading about all these fruit vinegars and I have one stalk of rhubarb reserved for experimentation.  Rhubarb vinegar, why not?  Chop up one stalk (1 cup or so) and put it in a small saucepan and cover it with apple cider vinegar.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Strain.

What to do with the drained bits?  Throwing out rhubarb is a phrase of blasphemy and an heresy.  It is also wrong.  Spotting almost off cherry tomatoes on the counter gave me an idea for Tomato Rhubarb Chutney. I really should stop calling these recipes but rather compositions.  <ASIDE> A friend of mine is an improvisationist who does jazz sometimes and we argue about whether this is music written down or whether it is in the performance.  Positively a post modern take on whether utterance is music and the only true music or written music and written performance directions constitutes music. I feel that this argument could and should be extended to cooking. </ASIDE> 
So, anyways, for the prep, take some quantity of tomatoes (1 pint in this case), 1 chopped green onion, 1 chopped green garlic or clove of garlic, olive oil, 1 tbsp of brown sugar or to taste, salt, spices (used apple cider vinegar with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper that was from a homemade ketchup experiment -- so very little spicing) and the aforementioned rhubarb dregs.  Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until softened.  Add tomatoes and cook until split.  Add water if tomatoes are not spilling their guts soon enough.  Just enough to ensure that pan doesn't burn.  Add salt, spices and sugar.  Cook until blended and then add the rhubarb.  Taste and adjust to your take on sweet and sour sauce.  It is okay if the sauce is just a little too strong because you will be pairing it. 
We used it with trout and potato salad.  This sauce has been used as a condiment for sandwiches.  It tastes like an amped up sweet and sour sauce that acts like lemon in terms of boosting flavour.  Since we do not use enough acid in most of our dishes, this can be used to help bring out the flavours of fish, rice, potatoes or any other starch or protein,

The rhubarb vinegar tastes sour and I am looking forward for the eventual harsh to mellow.  I think that dressings with sweet bases such as maple syrup, simple syrup or fruit purees will work well.  The types of salad that we are looking forward to using this vinegar on are simple slightly sweet greens with fruit (spinach and strawberry, romaine and orange, mixed oak leaf with blueberries and so on.)  Hopefully, we can keep some for winter when I dream of rhubarb.  Seriously, I have dreamt about rhubarb. Also don't bother looking up the interpretations as they are based on your own rhubarb experiences.  Bizarre...

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