Monday, May 30, 2011

Gingerbread Rhubarb Pots

Once rhubarb is in the farmers market, it is the one thing that drags me from my comfy bed early on Saturdays to trek up to the park.  I tried to plant one in my garden, but it didn't take.  Sad.  Anyway, I made the trip to the market and brought home plenty of rhubarb and some zucchini planning to make something with one or the other for the barbeques this weekend.  I also wanted something that would be transportable to the beach. 
After flipping though most of the recipes I have, I decided to go with the rhubarb version of the Gingerbread pots in my 500 Cupcakes cookbook.  I had intended to follow the recipe completely, but I was out of wheat flour and I wasn't completely sure about the rhubarb prep.  They turned out well either way.  The rhubarb flavor was subtle and and the ginger was not overwhelming.  The lemon glaze was the perfect topping to balance out the gingerbread.

The cupcakes:
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp white sugar 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped candied ginger
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line small terracotta pots with parchment paper (or a cupcake tin with liners). 
  2. Mix rhubarb, white sugar, and water in small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir frequently until the rhubarb has broken down and is soft.  Set aside.
  3. Sift the flours, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.  
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix in rhubarb until combined. 
  5. Stir into dry ingredients. 
  6. Spoon batter into pots until about 3/4 full.  Place pots on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 
  7. Remove pots from oven and cool on a rack for a few minutes before removing from pots and cooling for 10 minutes.  
  8. To make glaze, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Drizzle over the tops of the cupcakes.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
Makes 18 cupcakes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zucchini & Pea Risotto

 Sunday's are excellent for spending some time cooking dinner.  I try to make something that takes more than 20 minutes once a week and Sunday is normally the only day that I have the time or patience to do so.  Yesterday started a bit slow after celebrating the end of the world not happening, but I had been wanting to make this Spring Risotto with Peas and Zucchini since before I hurt my elbow from my Great Food Fast cookbook.  
Zucchini has started to be a staple in my kitchen.  There are so many wonderful things to make with it.  This was no exception, it was so good, even tonight as a leftover. I'm sure I've said it before, but I am picky about my leftovers, so you know it was good.  I only made a few modification to the original recipe part due to what was in the kitchen. It also took more than 30 minutes to get all the broth added.
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 smallish medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped- divide in half
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup grated paramsan cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated asiago cheese


  1. Heat broth and 2 1/4 cups water; keep warm. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini and half of garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until zucchini is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer zucchini to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and remaining garlic; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Raise heat to medium. Add rice; cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  3. Cook, adding 1 cup hot broth at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender.
  4. Add zucchini and peas; cook until peas are bright green, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and cheeses. Serve, topped with more cheese.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rhubarb Catastrophe

Yesterday afternoon I had a major catastrophe. Let's start at at the beginning.  In the morning I went to the farmers market for the first time this spring.   I was very excited to see the fresh rhubarb and strawberries in various stands.  Rhubarb may be my favorite thing in spring.  It was a sure sign of summers approach when I was growing up.  Rhubarb crumble, torte and margaritas.  What could be better?  I especially love, love, love rhubarb pie.  It's so quick and easy to bake up.

I was so excited to bake to make my first pie of the season.  Then catastrophe struck.  I could not find my recipe.  I went through every single section of my card box.  It was nowhere. The crust was such a great crust that I have used for other pies and the filling was so perfect.  How could I loose this recipe?  In a panic I called my mom, but as the phone was ringing I remembered that she didn't give me the recipe.  A family friend gave it to me several years ago when I was staying with them during an internship.

In the end I used my mom's pat in the pan pie crust (which is excellent too) and a slightly modified pie filling from Betty Crocker.  I used less strawberries than I had planned, but it was still delicious.  I am hoping to find my old recipe because it was so good. 
I took this to a party too soon after baking so I know the pictures not the best, but it was still delicious.

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 4 1/4 cups rhubarb cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. For the crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt together.  Mix in Oil and water.  Press 2/3 of the mixture into a 9" round pan and set the rest aside. 
  2. Mix together the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar and flour.  Once combined, spoon into pie pan.  
  3. Cut butter into small squares and sprinkle over filling.
  4. Roll out remaining crust dough between wax paper until large enough to cover top of pie.  Place over top of filling and pinch the edges.  Using a fork poke holes into the top crust. 
  5. Sprinkle crust with sugar and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Simple Meals

Two Mondays ago I was biking my way to work and a woman decided to step out in front of me with out looking.  The result was me swerving to miss her, hitting her bag and being thrown off my bike.  It could have been much worse I realize, but it did result in me having a radial fracture in my left elbow, which is my dominate arm.  For a week my arm was in a sling making it very difficult to do much of anything.  It is now out of the sling but still has a sleeve on it and I cannot put much weight on it or do simple things like spray perfume.
Needless to say, this has put a kink in my cooking and baking ambitions.  The plans for the meals I had in mind grocery shopping the Sunday before the accident have mostly been put on hold.  My roommate has helped me with a few meals that required more work than my poor right arm could preform.  The only new creation I have tried is simple salad that I found in my Great Food Fast cookbook called Spinach Salad with Dried Cherries.
I had every intention of following this recipe to the T, except maybe buying the pumpkin seeds already roasted because I was feeling lazy.  That did not end up being the case.  First of all, I thought I had Dijon mustard already, so I did not buy anymore. Turns out I had spicy brown mustard instead.  Then at the grocery store I couldn't find any kind of pumpkin seeds or dried cherries.  I decided to use roasted sunflower seeds and cherry flavored Craisons.  This all actually worked out really well and I thought it was pretty tasty.  The sweetness of the Craisons balanced the red onion and dressing out really well. Plus the bonus of only having to toss things in a bowl made it one arm friendly.  I'm sure Martha's recipe is equally tasty or better but my messy version will be making repeat appearances in my kitchen even when I have the ability really cook something up.

Spinach, Red Onion and Cherry Craison Salad


  • 4 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon spice brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup dried cherry flavored Craisons
  • 1/8 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  1. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a medium sized bowl with a wisk and set aside. 
  2. Toss the salad ingredients together and top with dressing as desired. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Best of the Best: Lemon Recipes

Best Savory, Best Over All, Best Sweet
I apologize for keeping these recipes to myself for so long, but I have finally combined the top recipes from the Lemon Off.  They were all delicious so I highly recommend you try them all sometime. Here they are.
The winners better not get too used to having those awesome trophies because there are plenty of people already picking out recipes for the upcoming Rhubarb Off!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pear & Brie Quesadillas

 This weekend I did some major grocery shopping all excited for light & springlike meals.  I had some leftover brie from the Easter Feast, so I started with the recipe for Peach &Brie Quesadillas with Lime Honey Dipping Sauce that has been on my fridge forever.  I figured that peaches would not be available since they are out of season, so I decided to use pears instead. I love this brie & pear sandwich from 'Snice & was hoping all the other flavors would still work together.  They did wonderfully, oh so wonderfully.  I completely recommend the switch.  I will try it with peaches when they are around, but for now I will be my pear version again.

Pear & Brie Quesadillas

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • fresh squeezed juice from one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 2 thinly sliced peeled pears (I used bartlett) 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 (8-inch)flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray

  1. To prepare sauce, combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. To prepare quesadillas, combine pears, chives, and sugar, tossing gently to coat. 
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Brown on side of each tortilla. 
  4. Arrange half of the cheese and half of pear mixture on a browned side of one tortilla; top with another tortilla, browned side down. Place in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until tortillas are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadilla. 
  5. Cut each quesadilla into wedges; serve with sauce.