Posts Tagged ‘rhubarb’

Chutney Is A Tasty Sauce; You Can Have It With Your Poppadums Or With Your Main Course

Kitchen Sink Chutney

It occurred to me the other day that despite the fact that I’ve spent several years perfecting my doubles technique, I’ve never really given much thought to the condiment that fits so naturally with a double; the chutney.

For a long time, chutney was just a saccharine sauce to compliment curries, top a roast or become a sticky compote on which to rest a chunk of cheese.  So, after my most recent dinner of double-y goodness, I began to consider the idea of crafting my own chutney.  Not being a huge fan of mangoes though, I knew it would not be a chutney in the traditional sense, but rather a more interpretive version.

After much thought, what I came up with was a melding of the exotic and the everyday, combining the traditional mangoes with some spring rhubarb, a spare banana and several hibiscus flowers in syrup.

It might be light years away from what any self respecting Indian would consider chutney, but I think it suits my purposes perfectly.

Foodie’s Kitchen Sink Chutney

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We Were Makin’ Jam, Rhubarby Jam… If You Want Good Jam, You’ve Got To Make It Yourself!

Finished Jam

That right there is a little tribute to a friend (who we’ll just call Squinty) and one of his favourite songs by a lady named Michelle Shocked called Makin’ Jam.

Coincidentally, I decided to make some jam of my own yesterday evening.

I haven’t done much preserving yet this year in comparison to last year, but that’s just because I made so many jams, jellies, preserves, conserves and syrups that I haven’t needed to replenish much of my supply just yet.  And while I love jam so much that I can eat it unadulterated by the spoonful, I don’t have too many opportunities to use it in my day to day life, so it really lasts around our household.  The only thing we’ve practically run out of were those fabulously tangy gherkins; we’re down to the last pint jar and are severely rationing them until I can make another batch.  I’ll be making a double batch this year just in case.

This recent jam session came about because I wanted to use up the rhubarb I received in our farmshare box last week.  Having grown up in Winnipeg where rhubarb is plentiful, I can wax poetic about the stuff, but I’m not a big fan of it when it’s cut with strawberries, as is common when adding rhubarb to jams.  I started thinking that a pure rhubarb jam might be an interesting iteration, so I began planning my attack and gathering tools in the kitchen.

I combined the chopped up farmshare bundle with some sugar, chopped candied ginger, and a split vanilla pod and let it simmer on the stovetop for about 45 minutes on low.  Toward the end when it began to reach that perfect sticky consistency, I checked the flavour and added a splash of lemon juice for good measure.  Funnelled into a jar it made just enough for 1 cup of jam.  Voila!

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Tart, Tangy and Forgotten?

Rhubarb Rosewater Cordial

Rhubarb is incredibly delicious, but seems to be an acquired taste.

As a child in Winnipeg, summers spent munching on stalks of rhubarb were common.  If you were lucky, you’d also have a small bowl of sugar at your disposal to dip every third bite into, to combat the puckery tartness.  It wasn’t until I returned to Toronto that I began to realize how unknown rhubarb was to my generation.  In an era where children won’t eat anything unless it’s tooth-shatteringly sweet, rhubarb often gets left on the sidelines, which I find absolutely shameful.

While the most mainstream use is a marriage of convenience with strawberries in jams, crisps, crumbles and pies, rhubarb is no one trick pony.  A recent post over at Bitten (the Mark Bittman and co. New York Times blog) provides inspiration for new, savoury options.  It’s become the season where more of my organic delivery will be a surprise, as market gardens ramp up, plus the onslaught of the mystery farmshare is merely weeks away.  One thing I can almost always count on is a pound of rhubarb in every order during that first six weeks of summer.  I used my first batch of the year to make a rosewater rhubarb cordial, but during the next month I intend to also try out the Bitten suggestion, as well as several others I’ve been kicking around.

Let’s see if I can’t get you turned on to rhubarb, too.

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