Freezer Fruit, Quick Tip and some Aloha

13 05 2012

Well another season of growing has sprung. We’ve done our spring cleaning, prepped the garden and planted a few cool weather crops like radish and lettuce. A new home for the composter means new possibilities in the garden and space which we needed badly. The rhubarb is over a foot tall already, in its new home in the fresh tilled garden (we added our favourite sea soil again this year + our home made compost). The sorrel is a few inches tall and also has a new home in a sunnier location.

Frozen fruit ready for oven

In all this prepatory garden work, I realized I hadn’t eaten half of what I froze last year! I’ll have fresh rhubarb in weeks and bags of it in the freezer still. The past couple of months I’ve been baking fruit to make room in the freezer. Crumbles are such an easy and healthful dessert, they are a common write up here. The last one I made was a delicious mix of Okanagan peaches and blueberries and rhubarb from the garden. Just take the fruit out of the freezer, let it defrost for 30 min or so. Remember to freeze cut fruit and berries on cookie sheets first, easy to pull apart later. Here are some recipes: Rhubarb Crumble with Walnuts, Rhubarb Peach Apricot Cobbler and Blueberry Peach Cobbler.

Travel has limited my kitchen time. I have been sticking to old favourites and well buying lunch quite often, which I don’t love doing. I have discovered a place to get veggie chilli, and that got me through an entire week once. Last week I pulled a fast one – put together a quick version of my quinoa salad for lunch.

  • Bought a large container of quinoa salad from Planet Organic.
  • Added chopped and deseeded cucumber, diced yellow pepper, diced carrot and celery from my favourite market KFM and a can of chickpeas.
  • There was enough dressing and flavour in the salad from Planet – so I mixed it together and enjoyed for a few days.
  • Nice! Lunch for days in 5 min.

I hinted at Aloha last blog…here is a short food tour through Maui…I cry when I leave Maui, I love it there. From the moment we land we seek out the best fish tacos. My pescatarian diet flourishes near the ocean, fresh seafood everywhere. We have a favourite, Paia Fish Market. I think T loves those tacos more than me for brief moments ;-).

I also had the best veggie tacos filled with grilled Portobello mushrooms at Fred’s (thanks Joanne for the tip).

Each morning on the way to practice with Nancy Gilgoff, you’d drive past the sugar cane fields. They burn them to harvest, eek. We visited the museum last time, lots to consider. Sugar has taken over other less profitable and natural crops and has huge historical impact.

On the road to Hana, you gotta stop and pick up toasted coconut ‘candy’. 4 bags for $20, leave your money in a box and take the flavours you like, it’s an honour system. I grabbed vanilla, regular and candied ginger as well, which you may need if you get car sick on the way to Hana. 

Mmm and the Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, so good. We ate at a new place in Kihei a couple of times, Three’s, we highly recommend it.

Mmm fish tacos (and a beer) on the beach.

Eat well, Be Well and Aloha

Nat

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Spring Rhubarb

1 06 2010

Even though it snowed all weekend, I was able to harvest a bunch of rhubarb from the garden. Picking rhubarb this time of year is a move in the right direction, SUMMER. I have green rhubarb, which is the same as the red, but not as pretty. Oh well.

So, what to do with all that rhubarb? So much, where do I start. I have been experimenting with it the last few years, favourites are compote and crumbles. The ultimate favourite is grandmas’s strawberry rhubarb pie. This bowl of rhubarb is a lot, it yielded 9 cups of chopped rhubarb (about 1 cm or more size pieces). I used three cups in a cobbler, three cups in a compote and I froze three cups. That’s the nice thing about rhubarb, you can freeze it.

Prepping rhubarb: I don’t even rinse it off, unless it is really dirty, but the snow and rain took care of that. I use scissors to cut the stalks off the plant and the leaf off the top (don’t eat the leaves, toxic). I use a pairing knife and peel the very outer layer of skin off the stalk, it is really easy. Chop up into the required size, use right away or freeze.

It is tough to find recipes for rhubarb that don’t include a bucket of sugar. Rhubarb is tart, cooking it brings out the sugar, but most recipes add sugar to sweeten the pot. My goal (challenge) is to find ways not to use cane sugar and only natural sweeteners. So Sunday was rhubarb sans sugar experimentation day. I made a Rhubarb Ginger Jam, which I plan on using in my Thumbprint Cookies, and a Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler with Walnuts, yum. Here are the recipes:

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

3 cups of chopped Rhubarb, 1 cm pieces

1 tbsp of grated Ginger

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 cup of filtered water

2-3 tbsp Agave Nectar (based on your taste)

1 tbsp Kuzu (a Japanese starchy plant used as a thickener) or Cornstarch (optional)

Add the rhubarb and ginger to a sauce pot, saute for a couple of minutes, add the water, lemon juice and agave. Bring to boil, turn the heat down to a low boil/simmer for 20 minutes or until it softens and thickens. Stirring often. You may need more liquid, just add a bit of water, depends on the water content of your rhubarb. Use kuzu or cornstarch to thicken (mix with a small amount of water, don’t dump the thickener into the pot, or globs will form). Making jam is personal, you need to adjust to your thickness/sweetness. I ended up using 3 tbsp of Agave.

Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler with Walnuts

Filling:

3 cups of chopped Rhubarb, 1 cm pieces

3 cups of quartered Strawberries

Juice of 1 Orange + 2 tsp chopped Orange Zest

2 tbsp of Kuzu or Cornstarch, dissolved in the orange juice

Mix everything together, pour into a buttered pan, I used a smaller casserole dish, like 9″x5″.

Topping:

1 c Rolled Oats (not instant)

1/4 c Oat Bran

1 1/2 tbsp Flax Meal

1/2 c Almond Meal or Flour

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2/3 c chopped Walnuts

1/4 c liquid honey

Mix all the dry topping ingredients together first, then add the honey, blend. Spread on the top of the fruit. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the fruit is bubbling and the top is browned, I think I baked mine for 50 min. Let sit and cool a bit, serve with ice cream, frozen yogurt (what we had with it, Chapman’s makes a good, low sugar one) or plain yogurt or almond milk (which I did yesterday, even better). If you don’t have oat bran or almond meal/flour, use spelt flour instead, just use less, using almond meal/flour creates a grainier texture as it has no gluten. Using wheat or spelt will make it more glutenous.

Eat well, Be well, Nat

(oh, look, the sun!)