Monday, June 4, 2012

Rhubarb compote

Ahhh rhubarb.  What a very peculiar piece of produce you are.  Rhubarb leaves are slightly poisonous but the stalks are edible.  But edible and delicious are two very different terms.  And as such rhubarb is typically served with lots of sugar, whether it be straight white sugar or sugary other ingredients like strawberries, such as the American classic strawberry rhubarb pie. Although I have read its quite nice sliced thinly and tossed into a savory salad… an application I have yet to try.

My CSA farm provided a recipe for rhubarb cake and I know many of my fellow CSA members made it.   I opted for an easier recipe as I don’t keep white flour on hand and a whole wheat rhubarb cake really just wasn’t calling to me; I made rhubarb compote.  I got this recipe off the Golden Earthworm Farm’s site my first CSA year, and made it then.  Last year I actually bought some rhubarb at my local grocery and made this. Then and now, I did not re-refer to the recipe, I just remade it from memory.

Normally and ideally one would make this recipe with lemon juice as the acid.  And I really should have just walked the 2 blocks to the store to buy some.  But I didn’t, and opted for vinegar instead.  Having made the recipe previously I knew the acid didn't make a huge flavor difference.  And really if using vinegar, one should probably use a sweet one like apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t, again because I didn’t have any on hand.  Now mind you I didn’t go crazy and use the hot pepper infused rice vinegar, at least my odd substitutions took a turn for the mild – I used regular white vinegar.  And it’s still really tasty.  But really, if you have lemon (or lime) juice, use that.

Compote is super easy to make and super versatile.  Serve it over ice cream, or plain cake, or swirl it into oatmeal, or spread some on toast – its good anywhere gooey sweetness is welcome.  And it can be kept in the fridge for… well at least 2 weeks.  I’ve always eaten it up by then, so I can’t really tell you how long it would take to turn.

Rhubarb Compote
6-7 stalks of rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp acid

Mix in a pot over medium heat, cover and cook until goo. Enjoy hot or chilled.

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