It's amazing how even just a small break can make you miss the blogging world so much. Although I was able to browse a few blogs and comment while I was preparing for my exam, it was not nearly as much as I would have liked. Not to mention it has been quite literally a month since my last post. Luckily, Daniel was able to carry a good bit of the blogging load so we didn't completely loose touch. But how some of you blog everyday or every other day by yourselves I have no idea, kudos to you. But after weeks of reading, writing, editing, having mini breakdowns, etc. etc., I can assure you from experience that this is a wonderful ice cream treat to take a second and unwind with.
Perhaps just by coincidence, the few blogs I was able to browse the last few weeks all featured or mentioned using rhubarb in some interesting way. I'd never had rhubarb. Never had any desire to have rhubarb. I kind of have a strong texture discomfort with cooked soggy fruit. Even though rhubarb is technically a vegetable, since texture seems to be the biggest turn off for most people when it comes to this elusive tart pink stalk, I had stayed far away. But, when I cam across not one, but two recipes for chilled rhubarb treats in a cookbook and on one of my favorite blogs, I couldn't help but give it a try. Unfortunately, both called for rose water however, and as much as I procrastinate, a trip across town was not possible at the moment. Instead, I elected to make not one, but two ice creams. One tart and tangy rhubarb concoction, and one sweet perfumed lavender concoction.
For the Rhubarb:
2 Cups Rhubarb cut into 1 inch slices
2 Tbsp Salted Butter
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1. Place everything except the heavy cream and buttermilk into a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat, allow rhubarb to simmer until soft, but still holding its shape, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat. Crush rhubarb pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Combine rhubarb with heavy cream and buttermilk. Chill in refrigerator at least six hours.
3. Freeze according to ice cream maker directions.
For the Lavender:
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Half and Half for a slightly more decadent dessert
1/3 Cup Honey
1 Tbsp Dried Lavender Flowers
1. Place all ingredients in medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continually stir until mixture begins to thicken, 15-20 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve to remove lavender flowers. Chill in refrigerator at least 6 hours. Freeze according to ice cream maker directions.
1. Once prepared, place rhubarb ice cream in container, preferably wider than taller for better effect.
2.While the lavender ice cream is preparing, soften the rhubarb ice cream so it will mix well.
3. Once the lavender is complete, gently place lavender atop the rhubarb mixture. With a small spatula or knife, swirl the two ice creams much as you would when you marble a cake.
4. Freeze for a few hours to set.
The ice cream itself is a rewarding experience exciting different tastes as it dances across the palate. To offset a little of its decadent creaminess, I brought made some almond cornmeal short bread cookies to pair with it, but you could use any slightly less sweet, crunch cookie to pair well.
Nonetheless, this is the type of ice cream that demands you stop, relax, and enjoy it for just a little while. Enjoy!