Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Rhubarb, lovely rhubarb

I always try to experiment with my rhubarb crop every spring. Last year I gave rhubarb scones a go, which was a success except they weren’t rhubarby (??) enough. This year I did them again, but put in more rhubarb and cut the pieces much larger. It was definitely an improvement and rhubarb scones will surely be part of my spring baking in the future.

rhubarb2014

This year’s new offerings included a coffee-cake like treat with large crumbly topping that, although good, wasn’t enough of a rhubarb whollop for me, and rhubarb muffins. The latter are still warm on the counter and were very nice muffins with a surprise of rhubarb every so often. These might go the way of the scones: they were good but need more rhubarb and I’ll probably try them again next year. I also made a rhubarb pie for the first time, which was delicious but pretty runny.  Since it was so wonderful except for the extra liquid, I’ll be researching how to correct that.  The final entry was a rhubarb-oatmeal upside-down cake which was a disaster. Five minutes into the baking, we lost power in our neighborhood.  It had just begun to rise a bit.  A couple of hours later when we regained the juice, I put it back in the oven but it came out a gooey, gunky mess that could charitably be described as an oatmeal rhubarb pudding.  It was edible, but not cake.  It was pretty sweet for my taste, and with the shadow of disaster hanging over it, I’ll probably not give it another go.

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First Freeze

It was 28° when I awoke today. This is the first real freeze of the season. We’ve had a few brushes with 32° but this is serious frost. Any annuals hanging around from summer are done for it, and most perennials have packed it in as well.

With this weather, I drink a lot of hot tea. I just got a new “Tea Quilt”, an insulated tea cozy to keep my tea hot on cold days. They come in so many beautiful patterns it was nearly impossible to choose, but I knew I wanted birds in there, so my choices were narrowed but still difficult. Many designs had winter scenes with cardinals, one of everyone’s favorites, but I decided when I’m drinking a hot potion to keep me warm I’d rather be reminded of warmer days, so I went with fruit and birds. This photo doesn’t do it justice. The colors are so much richer in person, they almost glow. Underneath is a pot of piping hot tea that was made almost 2 hours ago. It’s still so hot I need a pot holder to pick it up. Yay! It works. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll get one of the wintery patterns with cardinals, just for the holidays….

Hand made in Little Canada, MN USA

Hand made in Little Canada, MN USA

 

Tomatoes Galore

 

Herbs & Tomatoes

I’ve been wishing for fresh herbs lately, but the weather’s been so cool and rainy I haven’t gotten anything going. I finally made it to the farmer’s market and got some herbs and tomato plants. Now if it would stop raining long enough to get them planted, and warm up enough to encourage them to grow, I’ll have my herb garden back and tomatoes for caprese salad. I’m starting with basil, thyme, chives, mint and parsley. I’ll most certainly succumb to more later, but this is a good start. I keep my rosemary going over the winter; it’s been outside for a couple of weeks.

I’m giving lavender another try. I’m told this one will be hardy and provide me with relaxing fragrance for years. Here’s hoping. I’ve tried them before and haven’t had much success, but this one looks different and is very fragrant already even in it’s tiny infancy.

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Rhubarb Bonanza

The cool weather has been great for the rhubarb, which is producing lots of lovely stalks that are calling me to bake.  We’ve had rhubarb scones and ginger-rhubarb buckle.  The picture below shows how loaded with rhubarb the buckle was.  The candy-like crumble on the top is laced with crystallized ginger which is delightful with the sour rhubarb.  Yum.

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