Rhubob, as it's known in Maine, isn't something I grew up eating. Our adventurous neighbors--the ones who foraged fiddleheads and pickled things other than cucumbers--offered homemade preserves, but we declined. Too sour, too weird.
Until recently, I was under the mistaken impression that raw rhubarb was poisonous, so I was concerned to see a vendor at the farmers' market chomping down on a stalk. I was afraid to cook with it, believing that, like blowfish, it would kill me if underdone. No need to worry, though: rhubarb leaves are toxic, but uncooked stalks, while incredibly sour, are harmless.
Because there was little else in season and the magenta stalks looked like flamingo celery, I bought a bunch of rhubarb last weekend without a recipe in mind. I made a classic strawberry rhubarb crisp, working loosely out of the gingham Betty Crocker and adapting a topping from the Veganomicon Berry-Coconut Crisp. The results were deliciously sweet and tangy, but because I poured ingredients freestyle and mixed with my bare hands, I can't yet give you an accurate recipe.
Spooning it up with basic vanilla, I couldn't help but wonder, "Why not cut to the chase and put the fruit in the ice cream?" A search brought up only a few strawberry rhubarb ice cream recipes, so I felt terribly innovative. The following is my basic vanilla recipe, with strawberries, rhubarb, and a little extra sugar. I thought it could have used even more sugar, but my husband liked it just the way it was, so I'll leave the sugar to your judgement.
This is soft straight out of the ice cream maker, but after a night in the freezer it's firm enough to scoop. I don't usually post recipes that require expensive niche appliances like an ice cream maker, but as a vegan and an ice cream fiend, I don't know how I'd live without one.
Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream1 cup chopped rhubarb (2 thin stalks)
1 cup thawed strawberries (approximately 1 1/2 cups frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium pot, bring rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is soft.
Add coconut milk and vanilla extract. Stir until any lumps in the coconut milk are dissolved. Puree if smooth ice cream is desired.
Set aside in refrigerator 2-3 hours, until completely chilled. I know you're impatient and you want your ice cream now, but if you don't let the liquid cool completely, all you'll get is sludge and heartbreak.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
Makes approximately 3 cups.