Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dessert Courtesy of Rabarbra Bush

(. . . the rabarbra bushes in our back yard, that is--which actually are plants, not bushes; but I'm trying very hard to be clever with my title, so just work with me, people!)

Faithful readers will recall that, for various reasons, it has been several weeks since I last prepared a Scandinavian Saturday supper for the family. (Forewarning: June is going to be another such month.) But today we were home, so tonight I took over the kitchen again, this time with Abigail as my trusty assistant. Actually, we began preparations last night after returning from Mandan; I put together the menu and sent Abigail to the back yard to cut some fresh rhubarb (with her mom's assistance) while I finished the grocery list. Then we made a late-night run to the grocery store. Afterward I sent Abigail to bed, but I stayed up late preparing the rhubarb for two of this evening's recipes (from Trina Hahnemann). Read on for more details:

Agurksalat ["cucumber salad"], kål med dill og erter ["cabbage with dill and peas"], and laks burgere ["salmon burgers"] with a good view of the cabbage dish . . .

. . . with a good view of the sandwich . . .

. . . and with a good view of the cucumbers.

For the agurksalat, Abigail boiled vinegar and sugar while I sliced a cucumber and the stems of a bunch of dill. We mixed it all together, seasoned it with salt and white pepper, and let it spend most of the afternoon in the refrigerator. The result? Dill pickles that were a mix of sweet and savory with a definite kick (the can't-see-it-so-I'm-not-expecting-it white pepper and the tangy vinegar).

For the kål med dill og erter, I cut half a cabbage into thin strips and mixed in a bunch of roughly chopped dill weed and some peas. I tossed it with a dressing made from the juice of a lemon, honey, vegetable oil, and salt and pepper. What a great combination! The dressing was light and mild, making it easy to taste the dill and emphasizing the freshness of the peas and the crunchy cabbage.

For the laks burgere, I sliced a loaf of thin focaccia (made "everything"-style with a variety of seasonings baked into the top) into five portions, and Abigail got them ready. First she made a dressing of mayonnaise, minced chives, sour cream, and lemon juice, smearing it on the bread. Then she topped each focaccia bottom with a large portion of organic mixed greens and herbs, a handful of fresh chives, and slices of tomato. Meanwhile, I finely chopped a pound of fresh salmon and a half-pound of smoked salmon and added chopped scallion, chopped-up capers, egg, seasoned bread crumbs, and black pepper. I formed oblong patties to fit the focaccia slices and fried the burgers in olive oil until they had a nice crust on the outside and were cooked through. Ab! Solutely! De! Licious!

rabarbra drikke ["rhubarb cordial"]

Two of tonight's recipes called for rhubarb, so last night Susan and Abigail cut down six or seven pounds of rhubarb from the plants in our back yard; and after everyone went to bed, I washed it all and chopped and refrigerated one or two pounds of it for later use. I chopped four pounds of it into two-inch pieces and boiled them in water for a half-hour. I strained it through cheesecloth, added sugar to the cooking liquid, and boiled it again. The result was a light pink simple syrup with a subtle rhubarb flavor. Abigail and I served rhubarb cordials along with supper, pouring the syrup over ice and adding a lemon/lime-flavored carbonated beverage. It was very refreshing! (The recipe made lots of simple syrup, so Susan and I may try it mixed with champagne or with vodka and sparkling water.)

rabarbra bagatell ["rhubarb trifle"]

Last night I cut the remaining rhubarb into bite-sized pieces, tossed them in sugar, baked them, and then refrigerated them until this evening. To prepare the dessert tonight, Abigail beat together egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract while I whipped plain heavy cream, which we then folded into the egg mixture. In each glass, we layered the trifle in this order: cream, crushed macaroons, rhubarb, cream, macaroons, rhubarb, and cream. It was such a tasty dessert. The cream was only slightly sweet, so it balanced the sugared rhubarb nicely. The macaroons added not only crunch but also the flavor of coconut. I have macaroons left over and extra rhubarb in the fridge--pretty sure no one would argue if I made another batch of this trifle!


  1. Everything was delicious -- nicely done!

  2. Rhubarb is the best all-around main ingredient, don't 'cha think?