Spring conjures images of idyllic deep green expanses, perhaps even the finely
manicured terraced tea gardens in Japan. Closer to home, the hills that were once
brown or even blackened by devastating fires that perennially beset our region
show hopeful signs of regenerating and green appears once more. On the food
front, spring connotes a few special ingredients that make this time of year a chef’s
paradise. Rhubarb, morel mushrooms, fresh green peas and tender pea shoots all
vie for my attention on local farmers’ market tables but it is those pinkish green
stalks that I reach for first. Their bracing grassy and earthy flavor, when cooked
with only the smallest amount of sugar, are mellowed even further by a creamy
mousse made from the greenest matcha tea I can find. Here’s my vernal
celebration in a glass. Use clear undecorated glasses for the nicest presentation,
allowing the colors of the ingredients to shine through.

Matcha Mousse with Fresh Rhubarb
4 servings

For the Mousse:

  • .15 oz or 4.5 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) unsweetened gelatin powder
  • 7 t. cold water, used to soften the gelatin powder
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1-3/4 ounces ( approximately 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 5.3 ozs (2/3 cup) milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the rhubarb:

  • 1 medium-sized stalk of fresh rhubarb, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Granulated sugar to taste

Over low heat, cook the rhubarb with the sugar until it is just beginning to soften.
(Watch carefully as it will disintegrate into mush in the blink of an eye). Cool.

Sprinkle gelatin powder over the 7 teaspoons of cold water, stir and let soften.
Combine matcha powder and sugar in a bowl. Now heat milk to boiling. Whisk
boiled milk slowly into the matcha and sugar mixture.
Heat softened gelatin in a microwave proof glass or other vessel for 5 seconds
(and again for 5 seconds more, if necessary, stirring to check that it is fully
melted), then stir into matcha, sugar, and milk mixture. Strain and let cool.
Using a whisk, beat heavy cream to soft peaks, then fold into matcha mixture.
Place some of the rhubarb in the bottom of each glass. Spoon mousse over this
layer and top with the remaining rhubarb. Serve immediately, perhaps with a
ginger cookie.