Last night I ventured into uncharted territory. Dessert.
Until now, I've used my CSA ingredients in stews, salads, soups, side dishes, dressings, toppings, and snacks. But never dessert.
That is, until I got some rhubarb. At first I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Of course, I had heard of rhubarb pie, but I didn't see myself making that.
Actually I couldn't understand how rhubarb - which looks like red celery - would transform into a dessert. It looks more like a vegetable that you would dip into hummus or salsa.
But a quick search on epicurious.com brought up mostly tart, pie, and compote recipes, often made with strawberries, which are also harvested this time of year (sadly though, the waterlogged strawberry crops mean much fewer, if any, pints in my box this summer, according to my CSA).
I settled on a rhubarb and strawberry compote with fresh mint spooned over vanilla ice cream.
After I stopped drooling, I chopped the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces, which went into a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar and simmered for 10 minutes. I either cut the rhubarb too big or should have simmered longer because the final outcome (stirred together with halved strawberries and mint and chilled for an hour before spooning over ice cream) was more crunchy than tender.
This was noted in the recipe - to cook until tender - but I was too busy preparing dinner to think about tasting it. This was shocking to realize, because I have a huge sweet tooth.
So next time, I'll be sure to make dessert separately.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote with Fresh Mint (from Bon Appetit, May 2008)
3 cups 1/2-inch-wide pieces fresh rhubarb (cut from about 1 pound)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1-pint container fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Combine rhubarb, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Simmer gently until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberries. Transfer to bowl and stir in mint. Chill until cold, about 1 hour.