June 1, 2015 § 3 Comments
Rhubarb time again and what haven’t I tried to make with it?
Rhubarb is one of the first things to pop out of the ground in the spring and then I’m on to making scones, muffins and all kinds of desserts and baked things. This year I wanted to do something savory with it again. I’ve made Rhubarb Chutney before, the recipe is here on my blog, and I’ve added it to a pan sauce to spoon over chicken. I’ve got so much rhubarb that it’s time to try something new again.
My rhubarb patch is turning into a monster. I might have to divide and move it this fall as it’s right in the middle of my garden. When I planted it originally the garden was very small and it sat at the edge, but now it’s really in the way. It stares at me every time I visit the garden and calls out “please use me!”
So I being one who likes homemade as much as possible decided to give Rhubarb BBQ sauce a try. The combination of the tart fruit (although it is technically a vegetable) mixed into the dark and smoky flavors of the sauce just might be delicious enough to eat with a spoon.
Besides eating it out of the jar, slather it on grilled chicken, ribs and vegetables too. Try grilling eggplant and basting with sauce. Use as a replacement for ketchup on a burger. Try it on sandwiches too, or mixed into baked beans.
So if you’ve got your own patch or even if you don’t, here’s the recipe.
6 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and trimmed and chopped
3/4 cup water
2 large shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup ( organic and without HFCS* if possible)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 TBL molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBLS mustard
1 TBL Tabasco
1 tsp Liquid Smoke (this is good stuff)
First, simmer the chopped rhubarb in the water until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat a small amount of olive oil, add the shallots and garlic and sauté a few minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil slowly. Reduce heat and continue simmering until sauce is thick and dark, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cool, then add the cooked rhubarb to it.
This sauce will be a little chunky, so if you like your BBQ sauce smooth just puree in food processor a few seconds.
Makes about 4 cups and will keep for months in the fridge.
* High Fructose Corn Syrup
June 1, 2014 § 4 Comments
You know spring is on it’s way when you see the gnarly leaves of the rhubarb plant emerge from the dirt. There’s no stopping it once it starts, the leaves getting bigger and bigger until the flower pops up in the middle.
Rhubarb, a perennial, is a very hardy plant that thrives in the cold northern regions. Every old farmstead likely has a rhubarb patch somewhere, having been made into pies and sauces for the family get togethers through the years and still going strong.
It doesn’t require much care, producing ruby red stalks for decades each spring. Every few years you can divide the plant and either start a new patch or pass it on to a gardening friend or family member. There’s only one important point you must know, in case you don’t already, and that is that the leaves are highly poisonous. I just cut the leaves off right in the garden and add them to the compost pile.
Rhubarb will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I find it easiest to just go out and pick some when I need it. You can freeze it, but not very well in my opinion, kind of turns to mush.
Here are a few recipes using rhubarb. One is for scones, one for chutney, and one for a syrup. And don’t forget the Rhubarb Clafouti!
Strawberry Rhubarb Scones
3 cups flour, I use white spelt
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease lightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the butter pieces and work into the flour mixture with your fingers or a fork until you have pea sized pieces throughout.
Add buttermilk and fruit and stir gently with a fork until combined. don’t overwork or they’ll be tough. The dough will be on the moist side.
Lightly flour the baking sheet and pat out the dough, making a circle about 10 inches wide.
Cut into even pieces, like a pizza. You can sprinkle with a little extra sugar if you like.
Bake about 18 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
Rhubarb Raisin Chutney
This chutney is great on sandwiches, like ham or roast pork. It also makes a nice glaze for pork tenderloin, chops or fish.
2 1/2 cups roughly chopped rhubarb
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup golden raisins
In a medium sized pot combine maple syrup, vinegar, onion, coriander, ginger, mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered.
Add the rhubarb and raisins and continue cooking, simmering actually, another 15 minutes or so, until rhubarb is softened. You don’t want mush here, so keep an eye on it.
Remove from the heat, then taste for sweetness, adding more maple syrup if you’d like.
Makes about 2 cups.
Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup
This is a delicious syrup you can drizzle over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. Use instead of maple syrup on pancakes or french toast. It’s also great mixed with a little sparking water and a splash of vodka. Ok, maybe more than a splash.
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 cup sugar, organic preferably organic
1 cup water
In saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes until rhubarb is soft.
Put through a fine mesh strainer to separate pulp. You can either discard it or mix it with butter or cream cheese and spread on a bagel. Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt with some nuts for breakfast. Yum.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
November 25, 2013 § 6 Comments
Rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food, don’t you think? Creamy and rich, with a hint of cinnamon and honey, it’s perfect for a night like tonight. Although It’s not officially winter yet, the wind is howling, the temp is in the single digits and we even lost power…ugh.
And with Thanksgiving on my mind for awhile now, naturally cranberries have been popping up also. So add all those things up and you have dessert!
This cranberry puree is also a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving table. Serve it on the side with the turkey. It’s delicious on those leftover turkey sandwiches too. Spoon it on pie, just a dollop on the pumpkin or pecan, or on top of ice cream.
Make some Honey Roasted Pears and serve on the side. Spread a little on top of a plain poundcake. Makes a great appetizer with some melted Cheddar on a baguette. Or make a batch for holiday gifts.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- honey for top
- Bring rice, honey, salt and milk to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is tender and pudding is creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
- When ready to serve, stir in heavy cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Serve warm.
Put the pudding into individual bowls, drizzle with honey and a spoonful or two of the cranberry puree.
Rice Pudding recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
November 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
At least I think they’re wild Concord grapes. They’re definitely Concord grapes but are they wild? They were growing in the woods near my house, maybe they ended up there somehow a long time ago after being planted elsewhere?
But I came upon them one day, tons of them, dark little orbs just hanging off the vines, high up in the trees. And of course my ‘can’t let these go to waste’ mind started thinking about jelly. That and thoughts of fresh bread slathered with this jelly and some crunchy organic peanut butter motivated me. So I picked and picked and brought home bowlfuls and the jelly making process began.
Making jelly was one of those things I didn’t always do because it seemed too labor intensive. I’ve made jam for years now but never jelly. Then I bought some red currant bushes, and you can only eat so many of those tart little things! I decided to make jelly out of them and wondered why I thought it was complicated. Now I make red currant jelly every year.
I found a simple recipe from Food and Wine and made it even simpler by skipping a step. This turned out to be some amazing jelly! I think the flavor was intensified because some of the grapes were already starting to shrivel up on the vine (I used them anyway), concentrating that grape flavor even more.
Here’s the recipe, simple as pie, simpler actually.
4 pounds ripe Concord grapes, washed and picked over, about 10 cups
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped, with seeds
1 cup organic sugar ( the recipe called for more than twice this amount but I cut it down)
Put the grapes and apple in a large pot with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Strain the juice through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. You should have 3 cups.
Put the juice back into the pot, add the sugar and bring to a boil. Continue boiling over moderate heat, stirring, until the jelly falls off a cool spoon in sheets (or registers 220° on an instant-read thermometer) about 18 minutes.
If you want to can, follow directions below, otherwise pour into clean jars and refrigerate until you eat it all!
Clean and sterilize canning jars. You can do this by running through a dishwasher, or boiling the jars for 10 minutes in large pot. Immerse the lids and rings in water (in separate pot) and bring ALMOST to a boil. Turn off heat and let them sit in the hot water until you’re ready to use them.
When ready, pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized canning jars, saving 1/4 inch of space at top. Wipe rims with moist, clean towel, then put lids and rings on to seal. Don’t over-tighten. Submerge the jars in a pot of water (you want them covered by at least 1 inch of water) boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and let cool. Check the jar lids, any unsealed ones can be processed again or refrigerate.
Concord grapes are a superfood, containing Vit C, manganese and powerful antioxidants for your skin, brain and heart. Buy organic only as conventionally grown grapes are loaded with pesticides.
August 24, 2013 § 4 Comments
In case you haven’t noticed I am really into making my own foods. Every day i read about more toxins in the form of additives, stabilizers and preservatives that are in pretty much everything we buy. And it upsets me because I think most people are not aware of what they are actually eating, they feed it to their children and then don’t make the connection when they slowly become unhealthy. You are what you eat, plain and simple.
Foods like pickles are so easy, there are only a few ingredients and you just have to measure and boil the vinegar. Why eat all those chemical extras?
Making your own simple foods is something all our ancestors did. It’s not rocket science, it just takes a little bit of time. But if you don’t think the time is worth it, then what good is all that time if you’re not feeling well?
Sorry for the ranting, I’ll get right to it now!
Easy Bread and Butter Pickles:
4 pickling cucumbers, (Kirby) sliced 1/2 in thick
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup sea salt (Kosher is fine too)
fresh dill, handful, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp yellow mustard seed
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground turmeric
Put the sliced cucumbers, garlic, onion and salt into a colander set into your sink. Toss well and let sit 15 minutes.
While it’s sitting, put the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
After the 15 minutes, rinse and drain the cucumber mixture and put into large heatproof bowl. Add the chopped dill.
Pour the vinegar mixture over and stir well. Let it cool before putting it into jars.
Keep refrigerated. Will keep 2 to 3 weeks, if they last that long!
How easy is that?
August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s beyond easy, you’ll save money (organic applesauce is expensive!) and best of all, know exactly what you’re eating. I love applesauce. If I have some in the fridge I eat it with absolutely everything. With dinner, for breakfast with chopped walnuts and cream and just by the spoonful whenever I pass by the fridge.
I was at my sister Sheila’s house this past week and she had a beautiful apple tree in her garden, loaded with apples. So of course I asked if I could pick some. I brought them home and made up a few batches, which are now gone.
The good thing about applesauce is you don’t need perfect apples. if you find an old gnarly tree somewhere chances you can make some tasty sauce out of that otherwise funky looking fruit.
It couldn’t be easier. I don’t even peel or core them. I cut out any brown or bad spots, put them in a pot with a little water in the bottom, cover, bring to boil, then simmer until tender. This usually takes about 15 minutes altogether. I have a food mill, so peels, seeds, and stems are separated from the puree (If you don’t happen to own one, just peel and core the apples, cut into chunks, then cook). I add some cinnamon and that’s it. If the apples are on the tart side I’ll stir in a little maple syrup.
Remember to add a little liquid, like water or even apple juice or cider. You can get creative here and add other fruit to this too, like peaches, or raspberries. It freezes well or you could can some to have in the winter months. And don’t forget you can bake delicious things, like muffins, applesauce cake, or this Swedish apple torte.
April 28, 2009 § 2 Comments
Today I’m making mayonnaise, something I never thought of and don’t know why as it’s so easy and kind of fun to watch. It’s best to use a food processor or blender. I know some would say NEVER use a machine, but really, it’s so much easier and you might actually DO it…also this recipe uses raw eggs, so make sure to buy organic eggs. I’ve heard there’s such a thing as pasteurized eggs, but I have no idea how they taste…. I raise my own chickens and feed them organic grain and scraps and am always looking for a way to use up all those eggs.
This makes about 1 cup
1 egg 1/2 tsp. mustard 2 Tbls fresh lemon juice 1 c olive oil salt and pepper
Put egg, mustard, lemon juice and 1/4 c olive oil into food processor. Process or blend a few seconds and then with machine running, SLOWLY, drop by drop, add the remaining 3/4 c olive oil.(this should take 4 to 5 minutes) You’ll see it emulsify and turn a golden yellow. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Put in a wide mouth jar and refrigerate, it’ll keep about a week.
As with anything, you can add to this: A few peeled garlic cloves added to the ingredients, or some snipped fresh chives or other herbs.
This makes a great topping – spread on a piece of salmon or other fish before cooking.