Roasted Rhubarb Basil Fool

I haven't been cooking much lately because spring is a busy time and the smell of any cooking makes my husband Mike nauseous. But today I was able to roast some rhubarb because he was laid up at the hospital. 

To make a long and gruesome story short, he contracted a charming little infection called C-diff, short for Clostridium Difficile. Aptly named. Last weekend was a scary one as we couldn't figure out why he was feeling so very, very sick. Was it the MF @#$%&! cancer, the chemo, the radiation, one of the many drugs he's taking, or the j-tube he recently had installed in his lower intestine (yeah, I know—the hits just keep on comin')? Turned out it was none of the above. It was C-diff. And did I mention it was a long holiday weekend and none of the on-call support was much help?

Deep breath. He's better now and coming home later today. We're all relieved and I made this sweet to shake off some tension that's been bunched up in my shoulders. Cooking, listening to the radio, taking pictures and not talking to anyone for a few hours is good therapy and I needed it. 

Fools are the easiest things in the world. Cream or custard and stewed fruit. I roasted the rhubarb in the oven to deepen the favor and keep it sort of intact and added a little shredded basil for a fresh note. I like a 2-1 ratio of fruit to cream with this one because the fruit is so bright. Tart, sweet, creamy and cool, you fool, you fool.

Roasted Rhubarb Basil Fool

Makes 4 individual fools

1 1/2 lbs rhubarb (about 12 stalks)
3/4 cup sugar
Juice and zest from half a lemon
1 teaspoon basil, julienned

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400ยบ

Cut rhubarb unto 1/4" diagonal pieces then toss well with sugar, lemon juice, zest and spread out on 2 sheet pans.

Roast for about 40 minutes, until tender and no crispness remains. Remove from oven and cool. Then scrape into a bowl (with juices), add basil and toss gently. Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes or chill overnight.

Put cream into a large bowl along with with scrapings from vanilla bean and sugar and whip with into soft peaks with a mixer on high speed.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop up rhubarb mixture into dish. Top with whipped cream. Can be made a few hours ahead of time, covered and kept in refrigerator.

Note: the leftover juice from the rhubarb makes a great addition to a cocktail or sparkling water!


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