Swimming Upstream and Rhubarb Floats
By Chef Deb Traylor
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a bit different. Call it quirky, creative or “marching to a different drummer,” but for the most part, my brain is hardwired to think outside the box. Yep, I’m a little different, but not in a defiant or obnoxious sort of way. I’m usually “swimming upstream” just because it’s fun.
For instance, when someone invites me to a holiday cookie exchange I’ll usually make cheesy wine crackers or spiced nuts. The idea of dozens of sweets at once gets me thinking (and also alerts that “mom” voice inside my head). We all have a moment when we reach a holiday sugar saturation point and nothing gets you there faster then a cookie exchange. Oh, but wine crackers in the midst of a table loaded with frosted holiday cookies will stand out like a rose bush in a corn field. See? Swimming upstream!
As we get closer to opening Ginger and Baker, I'm adding my "upstream voice" to the mix as we develop menus and create new dishes. They are dishes that just might surprise you, but in delightful and delicious new ways. We are getting so excited to welcome you in!
So, today I offer you our “Swimming Upstream on a Rhubarb Float” recipe. When I worked with the Boulder County Farmers Market, I was always looking for new ways to use rhubarb, taking it beyond just strawberry rhubarb pie. This rhubarb syrup was a huge hit, especially when we turned it into a delicious, frothy, pink float.
Start with easy and quick rhubarb-infused syrup, follow with a few scoops of vanilla (or strawberry) ice cream, then add a splash of club soda or sparkling water. That’s it! The wonderful part of this recipe is that once you’ve made the syrup, you'll be left with the tasty rhubarb mash that makes a crazy good ice cream sundae, or a delicious breakfast with Greek yogurt... but mostly we just eat it straight out of the container like applesauce.
Makes about 1 pint syrup
- 2 lbs. rhubarb, cleaned and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2-2 cups sugar (use less for tart syrup)
- 1-2 tsp. lemon juice, if needed
- 1/2 cup water
Place chopped rhubarb, sugar and water in a 4-quart stock pot, cover and cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb softens and breaks down. Taste mixture and adjust with more sugar if it is too tart or add a squeeze of lemon if mixture is too sweet. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the solids from the syrup. If you want thicker syrup, place the syrup back on the heat and reduce for 5 more minutes.
- 2-3 Tbsp. rhubarb syrup
- 2 scoops vanilla or strawberry ice cream
- club soda or sparkling water
- chilled glasses
To serve: Pour 2-3 tablespoons of rhubarb syrup in the bottom a chilled glass. Follow with two scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream (strawberry works too!), top with club soda or sparkling water and finish with a few more drizzles of rhubarb syrup. Makes one float.
Rhubarb Syrup Ideas
- Rhubarb lemonade with slices of fresh lemons & rhubarb
- For cakes & cupcakes.. take a cue from the French, and brush syrup over vanilla cakes to add moisture and flavor.
- Rhubarb sweet iced tea
- Drizzle over strawberries
Rhubarb Pulp Ideas
- Spoon over ice cream or yogurt
- Add chia seeds and make a quick jam
- Spoon over pancakes or French toast
- Rhubarb popsicles
- Eat it like applesauce - great with grilled pork