Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rhubarb Chutney

I stopped by the Chicago Farmstand on Friday afternoon to buy a cookie, and ended up with over $30 worth of fresh produce and cheese. The last of the spring rhubarb was irresistible, and I bought two bunches not sure what I was going to do with them. This weekend is my dear husband's birthday, so I decided to make a rhubarb chutney to top the thick-cut pork chops we grilled for dinner. A tasty, savory way to use rhubarb.

Rhubarb Chutney

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
5 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Saute the onion in a scant amount of vegetable oil until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and ginger, and stir over the heat until just fragrant. Add the rhubarb, brown sugar, and vinegar, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb falls apart and the chutney takes on the consistency of a chunky applesauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Kumquat Vinaigrette

Nick and I recently had a wonderful afternoon in the kitchen at Custom House Tavern, part of a package I had gotten at a charity auction at the school's annual benefit. Four children (and their parents) were invited to cook lunch with the staff, which we later all enjoyed at a lovely table in the restaurant. Knowing how much Nick enjoys cooking, I thought that we would have fun, and we did.

Chef Aaron Deal, a wonderful young chef, worked with Nick on the salad course. He taught Nick how to make a deliciously piquant and citrusy kumquat vinaigrette, which they used to dress a salad composed of greens, shelled pistachios, Prairie Fruits Farm fresh chevre, and edible flowers. Easily the best dish of a fine luncheon.

Happily, there was quite a bit of leftover dressing, which the chef kindly shared with us. So Nick recreated the salad on Memorial day at a party with friends. In lieu of edible flowers, he used some chive flowers snipped fresh from our balcony garden. Delicious!

Thanks again to the wonderful staff at Custom House Tavern. Looking forward to a date night here soon!