Recipe Project #64-67: Rhubarb syrup, vanilla ice cream, salted lemon ice cream, walnut butter

Spring is here.

We started going to the Farmer’s Market again last week. Every year I’m amazed at how much difference it makes, even though I’ve been going fairly religiously since we moved to St. Paul seven years ago. Last week the rhubarb hadn’t come in, but this Saturday it was piled on tables everywhere. I bought three bundles even though I’m the only rhubarb eater in the house and cooked it up while I was making dinner last night. 4 cups of chopped stalks went into the usual dirt-simple compote (which I’m not counting because I’ve made it for years) and the rest got made into rhubarb syrup.

I’ll figure out what to do with the syrup later, but in the meantime I’ll be eating the compote in homemade yogurt and over the vanilla ice cream that I made last week with eggs and cream from the market. I usually like my ice creams to be less sweet than most recipes call for, but I’m glad I forgot to dial it back this time because the sugariness perfectly balances the cured lemon that I finely minced and stirred into a cup of the ice cream. (I used two thin-ish slices from the jar I made a few weeks back.) I got the idea from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook, and I’d definitely make an entire batch of this sometime. It’s not for everyone, especially if you include the rind, but I found the bright, salty complexity of it nearly addictive.

And finally, I made a half-batch of Mollie Katzen’s walnut butter as found on Gluten-Free Girl. We’ve got way too many nuts in the freezer, left over form when I stockpiled for making biscotti back in the winter. I was looking for a way to use them up and was curious about nut butters. Turns out they’re one of those things that are so simple that I wonder why I wasn’t making them all along. Like yogurt, the homemade version far outshines most store-bought jars I’ve had in the past. I’ll make another batch tomorrow to use up the last of the walnuts and then move on to the pecans, unless those end up in another batch of ice cream.

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