If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake and Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream with thanks to Melissa Clark and David Lebowitz

        It’s been a long, rainy spring here.  But true to form, we’ve gone directly from complaining about the cold to exclaiming about the heat. It hit the 90s this week which is way too hot, way too early.  Our garden, however, has never looked better and we’re ready to celebrate the end of what seemed like an endless winter.  And if anything says let a new chapter begin, it’s Rhubarb and Strawberries.  Sad to say, our local crops aren’t yet ready. But we were. And so last weekend, Andrew combined the two to create a wonderful dessert.

        Melissa Clark gets all the credit for the cake recipe.  It was a recent entry in her “Good Appetite” column from The New York Times.  Melissa did all the heavy lifting in researching whether or not to cook the rhubarb before making an Upside Down cake.  In her testing, she first sautéed the stalks but ended up with ‘a mushy, mealy glaze’.  Then she went raw and the results were wonderful. The soft cake paired beautifully with the tangy, slightly crunchy rhubarb.  Make this gorgeous cake and you’ll see. 

       But Andrew didn’t stop there.  Strawberries from points south and west are all over the markets and what better way to use them but in one of David Lebowitz ’s  Ice Creams.  David’s blog title says it all “Living the Sweet Life in Paris” (the link is right here on Chewing the Fat).  This former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, among other stops, chucked it all in and went off to France to pursue his bliss.  The rest of us are all in his debt for doing so. His “Perfect Scoop” is the bible of ice cream.  It will convince you that you just have to make the stuff part of your repertoire.  This particular flavor is a perfect counterpoint to the cake. Its tangy sour cream base is luscious and rich, its strawberry flavor is pure delight.
        Making ice cream is now child’s play.  Really.  Our good friends Tracy and Blaze’s darling daughter Alex, is an avid ice cream maker with her Dad. This is all thanks to the remarkably efficient Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, widely available for about $60.00 new.   It’s simple as pie to use.  You just put the freezing mechanism in your freezer and haul it out to make gorgeous home made ice creams of every description.   And knowing exactly what’s in your ice cream is an added bonus.  No guar gum here, just pure ingredients like whole milk and fresh fruit.  In this instance, there’s not even a custard to make. You go straight from the Cuisinart food processor to the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.  Get one.  It will transform your summer.  Here now are the recipes.

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