On my way home from work last night, I stopped into the grocery store to pick up a few things, and noticed that rhubarb was on sale this week. I have kind of an unspoken motto in my kitchen, which is that if I’m going to try to make a dish that I’m not sure will be successful, I try to do it when the ingredients are either a) on sale, or b) about to expire, figuring that it’s less waste if I end up throwing the whole thing out.
So, with an idea for the rhubarb brewing in my head, I went to the check-out line. As I was placing my items on the counter, a guy behind me in line asked curiously, “what are you going to do with that?”
And here is something that almost every twenty-something girl in Manhattan knows: if a random stranger asks you a question in the supermarket, you are probably getting hit on. Particularly if you are buying an item that suggests that you can actually cook, and the guy behind you is carrying a pile of Lean Cuisines. But, frankly, I was so excited about my rhubarb idea that I was willing to take it as friendly curiosity.
“I’m going to make ice cream!” I exclaimed.
His face fell. Obviously, this was the wrong answer. “Rhubarb ice cream?” He looked at the cashier, and said slowly, “I wouldn’t eat that.”
Um, excuse me? I’m not making it for you, so I could care less whether you would eat it or not. But in addition to vaguely creeping me out, I found his response a little insulting. Sure, I could make some strawberry-rhubarb pie like everyone has tasted a million times, but I wanted to try something a little bit different.
And, most important of all, I was right and he was wrong. This ice cream was awesome. Fruity and fresh and creamy and sweet, like strawberry ice cream with a kick. It’s a perfect summer dessert — for those of you with ice cream makers, add this to your list.
And if anyone happens to ask you what you’re making with the rhubarb, just tell them you’re making meatballs. And watch them run.
Rhubarb Ice Cream
4 stalks rhubarb, about 1 1/4 lbs
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup skim milk
1. Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks and chop them into 1/2″ pieces. Â Place the pieces in a saucepan with sugar and water on high heat.
2. Boil the rhubarb for about 10-15 minutes, or until broken down with a jelly-type consistency.
3. Remove the rhubarb from the saucepan, and blend or puree in a food processor until smooth. Place the pureed rhubarb in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
4. Add cream and milk to the rhubarb and churn in an ice-cream machine for about 40 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Serve immediately, or freeze for a less-melty consistency.
Makes about 2 pints of ice cream.