My Food Journey

Rhubarb Extravaganza

I decided to celebrate early summer rhubarb last weekend with a 3 course rhubarb extravaganza! This rhubarb is what we had on sale at the Co-op. It’s from Oregon, and it has the most beautiful dark red color. The rhubarb that’s grown around here seems to be really pale – probably because it doesn’t get cold enough in the winter.

Designing three courses that all feature rhubarb was a bit of a challenge, but I think I managed to make it work…..

The first course was a savory rhubarb cheese cake. I combined two recipes from Epicurious, one for a sweet Stilton cheesecake with rhubarb compote, and one for a savory Marscarpone cheesecake. This is the crust – it’s crushed crackers and butter. I don’t think I did it quite right – it was pretty crumbly…

Here’s the rhubarb for the cheesecake. I cooked it in port, a little sucanat, and lots of black pepper.

Here’s the Stilton cheese that I used. Mmmmm…. fancy blue cheeses like this one are one of my favorite foods. This is from England – apparently in order to be called Stilton it has to be from one of three counties: Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire. I blended it in the food processor with cream cheese, eggs, a little flour, and lots of fresh thyme. I’ve got so much thyme right now on the front porch, I can’t seem to use enough of it!

This is the cheesecake before baking. I put a layer of the cheese mixture down, then the rhubarb, and another layer of cheese on top. Then it went in the oven for an hour….

This is the rhubarb sliced for the main dish. I loosely followed a recipe I found at the LA Times website: Crisp duck breast with rhubarb-ginger confit.

I tossed it with a little sucanat, fresh ginger, black pepper, and soy sauce. Retrospectively, I wish I would have skipped the soy sauce – the flavor didn’t seem to blend well. I spread the rhubarb in one layer on a baking dish and put it in the oven with the cheesecake.

Now it was time to start the dessert : rhubarb ice cream!

Here’s the unfrozen ice cream: Cream, milk, eggs, sucanat, vanilla, stewed rhubarb (with sugar,) raspberries, and strawberries. Unfortunately, we don’t have an ice cream maker, so I just had to freeze it like this and stir it often while it was freezing. Not the best way to make ice cream, but it was bound to taste good!

And here’s the finished cheesecake. Beautiful! I put it in the fridge to cool.

This is the duck breast ready to be cooked. It’s seasoned with salt and pepper and a little Pickapeppa sauce, which is basically a Jamaican barbecue sauce. I cooked the duck over medium high heat in the cast iron skillet.

And it was time to eat!

Here’s the cheesecake ready to be cut. I sprinkled some thyme flowers on top for garnish.

It was really good! The only problem was the crust not staying together…. I don’t think I used the right kind of crackers, plus I didn’t crumble them as well as I could have.

Here’s the main course. The rhubarb complemented the duck perfectly. My only regret was adding soy sauce to the rhubarb….other than that, it was perfect!

And the ice cream. It took a long time to freeze! It was really good, but didn’t last overnight. By the next day it was pretty freezer burnt and hard. I’d really like to get an ice cream maker – although then I guess I’d probably eat too much of it…

So that was the rhubarb meal. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it all tasted really good, and I sure learned a lot about rhubarb!

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