It’s rhubarb season! And so I’ve gone and made some rhubarb treats. They’re nothing original, but they are simple, tasty, and fresh from the garden!!!
The first was adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. It can be found here. The original recipe calls for raspberries, but I left those out. The other change I added was sprinkle the top with chopped almonds and raw sugar before baking. This was a delicious and fresh sweet treat!
The second thing I made was very, very similar. But individual, aaaaaaand gluten-free. Though I’m not gluten-free, I have attempted to begin baking at times gluten-free. I have found that gluten-free baked goods do NOT taste good raw….but once they are cooked, they are deeeee-licious!
I used a gluten-free pie crust recipe found on epicurious. And then for the compote, just boiled down some rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and citrus juice until it was thick. Then made little pies from my imagination. Let’s just call them mini, gluten-free, rustic, rhubarb tarts. For a spring-time, Montana potluck, with local vanilla bean ice cream they were quite the hit!
There’s nothing like bread and jam. Homemade. I was recently inspired by a plum preserves recipe I found in an old issue of Food Network Magazine. I’m not typically a huuuuuuge fan of this magazine, but when I travel, I seem to indulge in more entertainment-like magazines. While doing some spring cleaning I came across this recipe, and with the plethora of plums available in my town at this time, I got super excited and inspired to create my own plum jam, which in the end, I called Spiced Plum Jam, mainly because it’s quite different from this original recipe.
Aaaaaaaand, With the lack of good, whole grain breads here in Costa Rica, I have taken to making my own. I wanted something beyond the typical whole wheat sorta flatbread bread that I always fall back on. I was craaaaaaaving a rustic, crusty-on-the-outside, holy-and-light-on-the-inside kinda bread. So I went with Ciabatta. Ciabatta is often called “Italian Slipper Bread” because it is a fairly wet dough and hence why it creates a slipper-like shape. I did not realize that making ciabatta took so many steps, but it did, and in the end it was completely worth it. Crispy, artisan bread and homemade sweet, fresh spiced plum jam. Pure, simple goodness.
Spiced Plum Jam
6 cups sliced plums
1 cup sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
Juice of one lime
Place the plums, sugar, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and allspice in a large, wide saucepan. Squeeze the lime through a strainer into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, and the mixture boils, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 220˚F, about 25 minutes. (To be sure that the mixture has reached the gel point, spoon some onto a chilled plate and put in the freezer until cool. The liquid should set; if not, continue to cook and retest after a few more minutes.) Remove the pan from the heat and let cool 30 minutes.
Enjoy fresh, and store in the refrigerator up to 10 days (if it lasts that long)! Otherwise, prepare for canning procedures, which can be found here.
As for the bread recipe, I used this one, and the only difference I did was substitute the last 25 ounces of bread flour for whole wheat bread flour. The rest I followed to a T. And it turned out great.
Enjoy the bread toasted with cream cheese and jam, or butter and jam! Also sliced bananas on it tastes great also!
Who doesn’t love them?!?!
In the past few years there has been a huge influx of cupcake-only bakeries where those delectable, trendy, perfect little servings of cake with a perfect size dollop of frosting on top are the main feature behind pretty glass cases. It’s almost like they are works of art waiting to be devoured by serious gourmands and Betty Crocker mix lovers alike. Google the terms ‘cupcake bakery’ and it yields nearly 12 million results of places where cupcakes are the main feature. This place in Portland, Oregon for example serves up such flavors as malt ball, pumpkin spice, and peanut butter cookie. In Beverly Hills flavors such as chai latte, lemon coconut, cinnamon sugar, ginger lemon, mocha, and red velvet are featured at this place. Not only has the craze taken to cupcake-only bakeries, but also exist thousands of websites and blogs devoted just to those who are fanatic about cupcakes. Even SIGG has picked up on this recent craze, offering this in their new product line.
I mean, how could you not love cupcakes? They come in all flavors and different sizes, and It’s your own perfect little size piece of cake! I’m sure wherever you live, there is a cupcake bakery somewhere close. Look it up and go buy a cupcake. Right now!
These are some of my latest creations (though I do not claim to be a cupcake artist nor strive to create works of art like those in the cupcake bakeries, and my seriously gourmand sister would probably claim I have no idea how to make red velvet cupcakes).
This cake is heart-healthy! I know what you’re thinking…how can cake be heart-healthy? But hear me out…though this cake may have sugar and eggs, like any old cake, its two main ingredients – avocados and olive oil give this cake it’s heart-healthy antioxidants.
Introduce Citrus, Avocado and Olive Oil Cake.
Avocado is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and can guard against stroke. Additionally, one cup of avocado has about 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels.
I was inspired to invent this cake after attending an Avocado Festival. Everything imaginable was made with avocados there – ice cream, smoothies, ceviche, tacos, guacamole, candy, bread, etc.
So, having four avocado trees in my backyard, I have an endless bounty of this green, healthy produce, and you can only make so much guacamole.
Citrus, Avocado, and Olive Oil Cake
*1 1/3 cup flour
*1 1/2 tsp baking powder
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 1/3 c sugar
*1 tsp citrus rind
*Juice of one small lime/lemon/orange
*1/3 c olive oil
*1 medium, ripe, Haas avocado, mashed
Preheat oven to 350º, grease and flour a round 10-inch cake pan or spring form pan.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk the four eggs until frothy in another bowl. Gradually add the sugar while whisking. Add the salt, citrus rind, citrus juice, olive oil.
Add the liquid mixture to a well in the flour mixture. Stir well, but gently, almost folding the egg mixture into the flour. Finally, mix in the mashed avocado and stir until no more green pieces can be seen.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about an hour, or until light golden brown on top. Let cool in pan. Run knife around edges and invert onto wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. This cake can also be served with a simple citrus glaze, but it is fantastic on its own.