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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Rhubarb Compote

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For any of you that aren’t sure what to do with extra rhubarb, I’d suggest making up a batch of Rhubarb Compote.  It’s simple to prepare, lasts for a week, and goes with absolutely everything.

I initially got the idea after having dinner at Sportello, one of my favorite restaurants in Boston.  Instead of just bread and olive oil, they serve bread with fresh ricotta and rhubarb compote.  It’s one of the most delicious pairings – the flavors of the mellow, creamy ricotta against the sharp and sweet rhubarb perfectly complement each other.

So I decided to try and figure out how to make a compote that was close.  I tried a bunch of different ingredient combinations before I got it right – different sweeteners (sugar only vs. juice only), different acids (vinegar vs. citrus) – you get the point.  And after four batches, I think I nailed it.

What I’ve noted below is directional.  Depending on the amount of rhubarb you use, and how sweet it happens to be, you may want to adjust.  So remember, add slowly.  You can always increase but you can’t take anything away.

Rhubarb Compote:

  • 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 3 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • Pinch of salt

Toss everything into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.

As the mixture starts to break down and darken in color be sure to begin tasting to make sure it’s the right amount of sweetness for you — everyone’s palate is different.

If for some reason you’ve gone too sweet, add in 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar at a time until you’ve reached the balance you’re looking for.

Once it’s cooked down, and the flavors are where you want them, let the mixture cool for 15 minutes or so and then you’re ready to go.  This compote will brighten any dish.  For savory pairings, it’s wonderful with hard, salty cheeses, or as a sauce on pork.  You can use it as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. It’s even great on toast.  The possibilities are endless.

Happy eating!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

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Growing up, I can clearly remember summer days at my grandparents’ house.  I would sneak a handful of sugar from the kitchen and then dart into the garden to find the perfect stalks of rhubarb to crunch on.  Once I made my choice, I’d break off the end, crushing it into my sugar-filled hand. And then, my first bite — sweet, sour, crunchy, juicy.  To me, that was the taste of summer.  Well, that and my grandmother’s spectacular strawberry rhubarb pie. No dessert could come close to it!  So when I spotted the loveliest quart of strawberries and beautifully blushed rhubarb at Allandale Farm a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist grabbing both.

The Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble I decided to make is much less labor intensive than my grandmother’s homemade pie, but every bit as scrumptious.

Topping:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar in the raw (cane sugar)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, (about 3 stalks), chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 quart strawberries, plus some extra (don’t have to be precise)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-4 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To prepare the topping simply combine the flour, baking powder, both sugars, lemon zest and melted butter.  Mix until crumbly.  Mixture should be fairly dry.  Toss it into the fridge to keep cool until the filling is ready.

Next, wash, core and halve the strawberries.  (Depending on the size of the berries, you may want to quarter them.)  Then clean and trim the rhubarb, cutting into 1″ pieces.

Toss together with the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Pour filling into 8″ square baking pan with high sides.

Cover the filling with the topping, (rap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure everything settles), and place onto a foil-lined baking sheet before putting into the oven.  This will help tremendously if the crumble bubbles over.  Without it, the oven would be a smokey mess!

Bake for 45 min or until lightly browned on top and bubbly on the sides.  It’s seriously good enough to eat on its own but I would never discourage topping it with some vanilla ice cream.

Happy eating!