Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a. fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast—because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: Your brunch cocktail routine just got a springtime facelift.
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I can’t believe I’ve barely written about rhubarb breakfasts when rhubarb is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. I wait for the rhubarb plants to pop up each spring with the tense excitement of a child waiting for Christmas morning. And it’s not because rhubarb is rare here: It grows like a weed (it even grows in the woods), and every house in Minnesota comes with a rhubarb plant (or several). It’s as if one is included in every homebuyer’s agreement—or any worth signing, in my mind. I was at a bit of a loss the first spring outside of Minnesota, when there was no rhubarb outside my backdoor. The concept of buying rhubarb at the grocery store never stopped confusing me.
Happily for my rhubarb needs, I’m back living in Minnesota. I can attend the rhubarb festival my town hosts in June, and there’s a veritable rhubarb farm growing along the edge of our garage. I’m finally one of those people I was always jealous of, one of those people who has more rhubarb than they quite know what to do with—well, almost more. When it comes down to it, I think I’ll manage.
Rhubarb makes almost any breakfast food happy, particularly baked ones where the bracingly sour stalks are tamed by sugar and softened by heat into sweet-tart jammy bits. Make rhubarb muffins, tarts, buckle, coffee cake, crumble, curd, and pop tarts—you’ll be happy you did. But also save some stalks to make rhubarb syrup so you can create this sparkly, Bellini-inspired brunch number that also moonlights as a pre-dinner treat in my house.
I blend raw rhubarb stalks with sugar and hot water to make an easy syrup that preserves the floral flavor of fresh rhubarb while still toning down its bite. Use as much or as little of the syrup as you like, top with Prosecco or any dry sparkling wine, and you’re ready for bridal showers, tea parties, picnics in the park, or any old Saturday.
8 ounces fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 1 cup sugar (this makes for a relatively non-tart syrup. If you like it tart, use 3/4 cup) 1 cup boiling water Prosecco (or another dry sparkling wine), chilled
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.