Being a member of a CSA makes meal planning fun. I never know exactly what to expect in the box, and sometimes the food I find forces me to step out my comfort zone. For example, I'd never even tasted rhubarb, let alone cooked it myself — not until I found a beautiful bunch of it in my CSA box, that is!
I can't take credit for this "recipe;" a friend who had never had rhubarb either guided this tasty experiment.
Strawberry-rhubarb is of course a typical flavor pairing, but we didn't have strawberries and my friend doesn't like them anyway so we decided to go a different route. The goal was a summer salad with fresh greens, nuts, goat cheese, and cooked rhubarb. (Spoiler: the goal was not met, but the finished product was delicious anyway.)
The oven was acting up so we couldn't bake, only broil. No problem. We decided to fully embrace the spirit of experimentation!
First my friend washed and chopped the rhubarb stalks into 1-2" pieces. Then she added about a half cup of honey, a generous splash of red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of cinnamon and cardamom, and some valencia orange peel that she had left over from another recipe. Basically she threw in things that smelled good together.
After a few minutes under the broiler we pulled out the rhubarb to give it a little stir. It became abundantly clear that the salad plan wasn't going to work out. Instead of the stalks getting crispy like we hoped they were getting quite soft. A few minutes more and they were mushy. When I tasted the softening rhubarb, though, I got an idea:
Just because we left out the strawberries didn't mean we had to abandon the idea of dessert! So we ate the salad without rhubarb and used the sweet, sticky concoction to top vanilla ice cream. That would have been enough, but we decided to go all out and add a sort of granola crumble to the top of it (the granola was an experiment from the day before).
It. Was. Delicious.
The moral of the story is this: don't be afraid to experiment and don't get set on one particular outcome. Play with your food!