Howdy friends and followers! I’m back with another dose of drool-worthy ice cream. In keeping with this pink ice cream trend I have found myself on, today’s flavor is strawberry rhubarb. The twist is that it was made with all Wisconsin ingredients! Lets go Wisco! This was my first time ever having rhubarb and cooking with it, so I promise you are in for a real treat with this post. Lets read on shell we?
Wisconsin has become one of my places of peace, which I mentioned last week. I had a plan to make a strawberry rhubarb ice cream for a while, but I was pretty hesitant. I never had rhubarb before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. With the help of my coworkers, I got my hands on some rhubarb (thanks Linda!) and learned how to cook it. But I was warned a fair amount of times: it is tart!
I got the idea of an all Wisconsin flavor when I was talking to someone about how expensive heavy cream is here. It is shocking. You would think in a state full of farms and cows that heavy cream would be practically free. But not even close. I was told about this local dairy called Lamers, which sells their own milk and cream. So the idea was born: an all Wisconsin flavor.
I blew through my strawberries from last week so I knew I would have to go back and pick some more. This ice cream would have to be like strawberry cubed because I would not be adding eggs or cooking it. I quickly had to acquaint myself with how to handle rhubarb. It is kinda like a giant celery. It required chopping into little chunks then cooking in a sugar water solution. Then when it got tender, it was good to go. Linda, who gave me some of the rhubarb from her backyard, told me it wasn’t the strawberry variety and it was not red all the way down the stalk. I didn’t see a problem with this (hint this means a problem will arise with it). But first things first, I had to head back out to Ripon and pick my strawberries.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
This week at the farm, the berries were different. The farmer told me it was already the end of their season and the strawberries were running low. I still managed to pick 9 pounds of them but they lacked some of that firmness that early strawberries do.
My next stop, Lamers! The milk is in glass containers, which is bad for the milk but great for the experience. Light oxidizes the milk and causes it to have an off flavor. But I thought it was too cute to pass up. They also had 50 cent ice cream cones, so I indulged myself at the perfect ice cream hour of 10 am. Then it was time to get down to business.
First I had to cook up the rhubarb. I cut it into little chunks and cooked it for a while. It said until tender online, but I think I missed that word, because when I took it off the stove it was mush. Not a problem, per say, but it happened to be a really off-putting green color. I think it would best compared to baby vomit. Sorry, but don’t you think so? I blended it up to get rid of some of the stringy-ness.
I pureed the strawberries next. And as you can see, there is a new addition to my kitchen tools: a scale! I plan on gradually converting all my recipes to weight from volumetric. Ya know, increasing accuracy and such.
All the while, Winston took a nice nap on the couch. I didn’t mind, it meant less cat hair on the counter.
I scalded the milk and cream quickly, then added in the rhubarb and strawberry purees. And by the grace of God, the strawberry color decided to be dominant, rather than the rhubarb. I wasn’t sure I could make that color appealing to anyone, no matter how good it may taste.
I also wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp to add as an inclusion to one of the pints. This required a wild goose chase around my town to find 2 pounds of rhubarb. It was tougher than you’d think. 2 pounds of rhubarb is a lot of stalks! This was by no means a health-conscious recipe, but it wasn’t meant to be. An old-fashioned recipe was aimed at pleasing your husband after a long day at the office, not calorie-counting on an app. I pretend I am in the 50’s often. This turned out heavenly, and bubbled to perfection.
One churn later, it was ready to pint. One got strictly ice cream while the other got layers of crisp. Looked pretty delicious to me!
The taste of this flavor did not disappoint. It was not what I was originally expecting however. This is by no means a sweet recipe. The rhubarb has a tendency to suck the sweetness and add a serious punch of tartness. But I did not mind. It is creamy and smooth, which is pretty surprising for an eggless recipe.
The crisp is also to die for, and the inclusions of it in the pint really elevate it to the next level. I picture the ideal use of this flavor to be scooped on top of the warm crisp. Strawberry rhubarb crisp a la mode. I don’t think you could go wrong with that.
This flavor is called Wisconsin Native because of the local ingredients used, but also because I am kind of like a Wisconsin “native” myself. I can say Neenah the right way now, which is not “Nee-naw”. I can scoot around roundabouts with ease and blend in with my accent if needed. The top of a house is a “ruf” not a roof, fyi. No one really even notices that I am some city slicker from the east coast if I don’t bring it up. So yeah, I am flying under the radar and assimilating as a Wisconsin girl.
Soft serve machine update: my baby is getting picked up this Friday and heading home to wait for me until August. I can’t wait until I can make giant batches for my family and friends and get the name Scoop² out there more.
The more time I spend here, I become more and more excited for my future scoop shop. My dream is to be the next Jeni, but in my own way.
This week contains my very favorite holiday, Independence Day!!! For me, this holiday is synonymous with lounging on the beach with my family, eating corn on the cob on the deck, and going to the Lighthouse for the sunset. This week, the homesickness is reaching an all time high. What I wouldn’t do to be there right about now. Mom, I know you are reading this, please stop crying.
This fourth, I hope you spend some great quality time with your folks and watch some fireworks. And by folks, I mean anybody. If you find yourself in a city where you know nobody, make some friends, grab a cat in a flag shirt and have fun. That’s what I can recommend at least.
Fun fact that I am most excited for: My sister is coming! Look out Wisconsin, the Bushek sisters are coming for you! It will never be the same once we leave our mark. She is going to get a once in a lifetime tour of my work by yours truly. Seriously, I have bought squeaky cheese curds just for this occasion. Yes, they really do squeak!
Next week, I’ll be bringing another great flavor to you and I promise it is not pink. Until next time, scoop ya later!