Monday, May 20, 2013
I didn't really plan it this way, but May is shaping up to be rhubarb month here at Apt. 2B so I hope you'll forgive me for another (few) rhubarb recipe(s). Today, I am sharing my favorite, very simple rhubarb preserve. I usually make this a few times throughout the season to enjoy stirred into my morning yogurt, but I always end up eating a lot of it straight from a spoon. The natural sweetness of vanilla is the perfect match for rhubarb's natural tartness and the heat from a bit of fresh ginger livens up the whole mess. Most rhubarb jam recipes call for equal parts rhubarb and sugar, but I really enjoy the tartness of rhubarb so I cut the sugar down to almost half of that amount. Feel free to add a bit more if you like things on the sweeter side.
Small Batch Rhubarb and Ginger Jam
yield, about 16 ounces
This recipe yields just a few small jars of jam so I don't usually go through the trouble of processing it in a water bath for shelf stability.
1lb rhubarb stalks
9 ounces sugar
2'' piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
juice of one lemon
1. Chop the rhubarb into 1/2'' pieces and place it in a bowl. Add the sugar, grated ginger, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and lemon juice. Stir to combine well, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest for 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
2. After a bit of rest the rhubarb mixture should be nice and juicy. Transfer the mixture to a non reactive pan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the jam begins to boil and the rhubarb starts to break down.
3. Raise the heat to high and boil for 10-15 minutes or until set, being careful not to let the bottom scorch. Begin checking the jam for doneness at about 10 minutes. I generally use the wrinkle test to check for doneness with this type of jam, but if you like numbers you can cook it to 220ºF.
4. Remove the vanilla pod and save it for another use.Transfer the jam to clean jars and store in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Alternately, process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for shelf stable jam.
Monday, May 13, 2013
This combination of frosty almond milk and tart, fresh rhubarb is raw, gluten free and vegan (for honey eating vegans, of course). I know to some that sounds totally boring, but for as much as I like buttery treats, I also crave a bit of lightness (especially when the weather warms up) and this dessert totally has that going on. I am usually not a fan of the classic strawberry and rhubarb combo, but the pucker of raw rhubarb (still Camille's batch!) is nicely mellowed by the addition of sweet strawberries, a bit of honey, and some fresh mint to make an utterly refreshing, cool, and crisp salad. The almond ice milk is a pretty neutral, granita base that will work well with a number of different fruits and I imagine fresh or roasted stone fruit later in the summer would be delicious here, so feel free to give this recipe your own spin. Oh, and you could certainly make this dessert richer by adding some whipped coconut cream on top (for dairy avoiders) or a bit of whipped cream (for dairy fans).
Almond Ice Milk
yield about 3 cups
I like the bit of texture that adding some almond pulp back in to the ice milk gives the mixture, but if you'd like a smoother icy-treat leave out the pulp. This would also work well with cashews. If you've ever made a granita like this, then you know that it is just about the easiest frozen treat to put together, save the "popsicles" I used to make out of orange juice poured into in ice cube trays and stuck with a stick (tell me you made those when you were a kid too).
5 1/2 ounces raw almonds
24 ounces filtered water (plus more to soak the almonds)
2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1. Add almonds to a large container and cover with filtered water. "et the almonds soak for at least 4 hours or overnight then drain the almonds and add the 24 ounces of filtered water and blend thoroughly. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag (a phrase that makes my inner teenager giggle) or through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. If desired, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the nut meat back into the strained milk for texture.
2. Add the sweetener of your choice, vanilla, almond extract and salt to the almond milk and blend to combine.
3. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. Taste the mixture and if you find it to be not sweet enough add in a bit more sweetener and stir to dissolve. Cover the dish with plastic.
3. Slide the dish into the freezer and chill for 1hr. Remove the dish from the freezer and scrape the milk with a fork to break up the crystals, cover and place back in the freezer. Scrape the milk every 30min or so until it is frozen and crystals have formed.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Salad
yield about 2 cups
This salad is sweet-tart and utterly refreshing thanks to a dose of fresh mint.
2 medium stalks rhubarb
1 pound strawberries
2 Tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup(or more to taste)
3 Tablespoons mint leaves, thinly sliced
Dice the rhubarb and strawberries into 1/4-1/2'' pieces small and even pieces are key here. Toss the chopped fruit and honey gently to combine. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes and taste. The fruit should soften slightly and release some of it's juices. Adjust sweetness if necessary then add in the sliced mint right before the salad is served.
Layer the ice milk and the rhubarb and strawberry salad in clear glasses. Top with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately. Try not to spill mint leaves all over the place like I did, what was I thinking ;)
Thursday, May 9, 2013
These simple scones are a riff on this recipe from last summer and have a similar sweet-tart vibe going on. In this variation, the rhubarb is lightly coated in sugar before being incorporated into the dough, ensuring that it bakes up into little jammy pockets. Who doesn't love a jammy pocket?
The addition of slightly sweet and nutty rye flour ups the wholesomeness of these scones, but they aren't quite health food, (considering they are loaded with butter, heavy cream and a bit of sugar) but they are a wonderful morning treat for those days when you need one. They'd also be a nice way to surprise your mom this weekend if she is a rhubarb fan, just sayin'.
Yes that is me up there, brandishing my rhubarb triumphantly like an Olympic torch. What can I say, I am crazy for the stuff.
Rhubarb Rye Scones
yield 8-12 scones
4.5 ounces rye flour
6 ounces all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
3 ounces granulated sugar (a bit less if you really like tart rhubarb flavor)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
4-6 ounces heavy cream
2 medium stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2'' pieces
2 Tablespoons crunchy sugar like turbinado or demerara (for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 400ºF
1. In a small bowl, toss the rhubarb pieces with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, remaining sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Gently stir in the rhubarb and it's juices if any have accumulated in the bowl.
3. Slowly and gently stir in the heavy cream until the mixture holds together, being careful not to overmix. The dough should be very soft. I usually end up using close to 6 ounces of cream.
4. For small scones, divide the dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface pat each piece into a round about 1'' thick and cut each round into 6-8 triangles. Alternately, pat the whole disk into a round 1'' thick and cut into desired shapes.
5. Transfer the scones to a parchment lined baking sheet about 1'' apart and brush the tops of the scones with the dregs of heavy cream leftover in the measuring cup, sprinkle the tops with crunchy sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer and warm before eating