I am a caramel-making wimp

All this gardening must lead to something besides weeds. Yes, cooking. The blog has become more seasonal than my creative life is. Fiber arts are year-round although in fits and starts. Gardening turns into reading about gardening for half the year. But cooking is part of my daily life year-round; I move from excitement to frustration and back, again and again.

In an effort to both liven up the blog and my everyday cooking, I entered my name here in hopes of participating in Jenny’s Dinner the Playbook challenge. If I am chosen, I’ll be making three recipes from her new cookbook within the specified week and blogging about them. If it’s as good as her first cookbook, we are all in for a treat.

It’s rhubarb season here. Rhubarb is a tough reliable plant, not one to be fussed by a polar vortex. I have 10 cups chopped (thank you, old Cuisinart, you are as faithful as my rhubarb plants) and frozen to be used over winter for yummy desserts.

Some of this year’s abundant rhubarb crop

In the  works now is Melissa Clark’s recipe for Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl. This involved recipe was published in the New York Times in June 2012 according to what I scribbled in the margin of my notebook. It takes some prep work to get the three parts of the recipe ready ahead, so it’s a once-a-year seasonal treat. However, it is so yummy I am always glad for the effort when I taste it.

I also made a note to use the caramel method in the Mom100 cookbook. Why? Because the method in the original recipe terrifies me. “…sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat. When it begins to melt and lightly color, sprinkle in 2 more…” Gulp, just sugar? The Mom100 book at least has some water in there to start, whew. Still kinda scary, and so my attempts at caramel sauce always result in a thin, pale caramel. Thankfully this still makes a tasty swirl in the ice cream.

Friday night I had prepared the caramel and the custard portion of the ice cream. The rhubarb compote portion I had made Thursday evening. So I was all set Saturday morning to churn the ice cream, only to discover that my ice cream maker tub was cozily tucked into a cupboard instead of shivering in the downstairs freezer. Grumble. So this morning, there will at last be ice cream churning.

My friend Melinda has a rhubarb compote recipe on her blog that I want to try also. It may make it into the freezer this year or next, and maybe even into the ice cream one of these years. Rhubarb feels like a gift to this north-dwelling cook as we wait for other local fruits and vegetables to start appearing in our gardens and farmer’s markets.

One thought on “I am a caramel-making wimp

  1. Melinda Gustafson Gervasi

    This compote recipe is so easy, you just need to have OJ on hand. I love to freeze it and pull it out during the winter months. May the winter of 2015 not have as many polar vortex days, but if it does, this is a great way to mediate on the lovely summer days in the northern midwest. I’ll be curious to see how the ice cream turns out…..we have a machine as well, and lots of rhubarb to experiment with!

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