May 29, 2013

Rhubarb Redux!


There's a lot to love about rhubarb. It grows like a weed, needs little attention, and it's bright tasting and tangy, terrific served both savory and sweet. It's nick name is "the pie plant" because my grandmother was a pie genius. All June we'd feast on rhubarb pies, crumbles and pandowdy that came piping hot and topped with plenty of freshly whipped cream. 

But rhubarb is terrific as a stand in for lemon in a quick vinaigrette. Also, try it stewed with a few chiles or rosemary for a simple sauce to top chicken or pork.

Serve it sweet, tart and tangy and give rhubarb some love.

Roasted Rhubarb Sauce
Makes about 3 cups

Roasting rhubarb instead of stewing it helps it maintain it's lovely pink color and keeps it from turning soft and stringy.

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 3 cups
1/2 pound sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the rhubarb with the sugar and arrange it into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Put the dish into the oven and roast until the rhubarb is just tender, but not falling apart, bout 20 to 25 minutes. Let the rhubarb cool, and then scrape it, along with its juices, into a bowl and cover. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Rhubarb Snack Cake
Serves 8 to 10

Serve the roasted rhubarb sauce over this and top with whipped cream!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/4 cps sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 cup finely chopped rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter an flour a 9-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; then beat in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beginning and ending with the flour, mixture, alternate folding portions of the flour mix and the yogurt into the butter mixutre. Fold in the rhubarb. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread it evenly, and then tap the pan to release the air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes up clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Dust it with confectioners sugar if desired.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6

This vinaigrette is terrific served over cold roast chicken on a bed of greens and topped with toasted pecans; or toss it with strawberries and spinach; or drizzle it over pork chops as they come off the grill!

1/2 cup rhubarb, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the rhubarb and water into a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer and cook the rhubarb until it is tender but not soggy, about 5 minutes. Add just enough sugar to sweeten the rhubarb. Turn the rhubarb into a small bowl and allow it to cool to luke warm. Whisk in the shallots, vinegar, and oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

May 15, 2013

Star Tribune Taste! Minnesota's Bounty!


photo by Rick Nelson

Please Join me and Photographer Mette Nielsen
in Celebrating

Minneapolis Farmers Market, Sat. 5/18 10:30
Cooks of Crocus Hill (Edina), Sat 5/18  2 - 4
Cooks of Crocus Hill (Stillwater), Sun. 5/19 11:00 - 12:30
Cooks of Crocus Hill (St. Paul), Sun. 5/19 2 - 4:00

Please read the terrific article by Rick Nelson in Thursday's Star Tribune Taste!  

May 13, 2013

HUNGRY FOR SUMMER? Taste the Apostles!

Come Explore the Flavors of Summer!

Fresh Bayfield Raspberries 
in a salad, on top of artisan chevre from
Sassy Nanny Goat farm!

Aug. 1 - 4 and Aug. 8 - 11
Spots are going Fast!  Sign on Now!

If you're as hungry for summer as I am, why not plan to pay in the sun and on the Big Lake, NOW?
Join me in to paddle Lake Superior's Apostles Islands and enjoy local food and drink from morning through evening. We'll start off in the Wilderness Inquiry's Little Sand Bay Campsite, paddle to the pristine beaches and through hidden sloughs. We'll feast on fresh white fish, smoked trout, artisan goat, sheep and cow's cheeses, farm eggs and free range pork and sausages ... pick your own blueberries, raspberries and cherries! Sip local craft beer, mead, and wine.  It's a fun physical challenge and a feast for the senses!

May 9, 2013

MINNESOTA'S BOUNTY ... many mushrooms!

Hit the Farmers Markets on Saturday!



It's a good month for oysters, mushrooms that is. They grow up the sides of dead trees, like small shelves. 
Well named, they are bivalve shaped, pearly white and nicely ruffled.  You may find them when wondering through the woods up north or in town, at our farmers markets. They are far more delicate than the distinct morel, but still taste like mushrooms. Delicious pan roasted with asparagus and or ramps and fiddlehead ferns and spring onions and anything else you can toss into the pan. Use enough oil and some salt, and sear them until they're slightly browned and tender.

If you happen to have a friend with a pizza oven, and the moon is full, be sure to open several bottles of champagne,  pull out a seasoned iron skillet and roast these mushrooms to top off that pizza. It is spring. Let the croakers strike up a chorus, kick back and sing along.

Pan Roasted Mushrooms
Serves 2 to 4

1 pound mushrooms - use a mix of oyster, chantrelle, shiitake, and crimini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Toss the mushrooms with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Heat a cast iron skillet over hot flame, on a grill or in a pizza oven, then toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are nicely browned and tender. Serve right away

May 2, 2013



Time to Shop! Eat and Cook ... listen in to this terrific piece on the wonderful show with Tom Crann -- Appetites on  MPR

The books are in the stores -- come find Mette and me at the Mill City Market next Sat. May 11!