Category Archives: fruit

sticky (rhubarb) buns

Oh, rhubarb. Often the first sign of spring, rhubarb emerges with fat, ruby-pink stalks and huge leaves. Over the past few weeks, any baking that I have done has included rhubarb. These sticky buns were a favorite among our group of Tuesday workers. Use this sweet dough recipe or your favorite sticky bun dough. I happened to use 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/4 white flour with good results, but if you want ultimate fluffiness, use all white flour. A bonus: the dough rises overnight so all you have to do is roll it out, fill it, and let it have its second rise and bake before you have a tasty breakfast, second breakfast, or morning snack.

Rhubarb should be in season now at markets in the northwest; I’m not sure how the season is going in the unseasonably mild northeast at this time. If not, you can swap out the rhubarb for whatever fruit suits your fancy. In the summer, blackberries would be super delicious!

Rhubarb Sticky Buns

Dough:

1.5 tsp instant yeast

1.25 cup warm milk (I used almond milk)

about 3 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat pastry and all purpose)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup room temp butter

2 eggs

Filling:

1 lb rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch coins

1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)

2 tsp vanilla or the pulp of 1 vanilla bean

1-2 tbsp soft butter

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

honey for drizzling on top

To assemble the dough:

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the yeast, milk, and sugar together. Whisk in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour(s) and salt. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it comes together. Gradually, add small pieces of soft butter until it is all incorporated. Turn dough out on to a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, but not really sticky. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a fridge or a cool-ish place for an overnight rise OR let dough rise in a warm area for about 2 hours (or until doubled).

Filling:

In a medium saucepan, cook the rhubarb and sugar together until soft and thickened. You may need to add a slash of water to get everything started. Stir in the vanilla bean, if using. Or, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Cool.

Assembly:

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured board. Roll dough out to a rectangle, roughly 12″x16″. Spread the dough with the softened butter and spread on the rhubarb filling, leaving a 1″ border. Sprinkle on the chopped walnuts. Roll the rectangle up and try to get the seam side down. Slice the roll with a sharp knife into 9 or 10 even rolls. Place the rolls in a well butter dish and sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. At some point, preheat your oven to 350. When the buns have risen, bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and immediately drizzle with honey to taste. Serve warm!

Photos by Taylor, the other farm intern.

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green tomato chutney

I finally pulled out the last tomato plants at one of the gardens that I work at this week. October was surprisingly lovely, weather-wise, here in Seattle. The temperature is finally dropping for good and all I am left with is one last tomato canning project for the year. With the cool and slow summer, all of the gardeners I know were left with pounds and pounds of green tomatoes. Some were carefully boxed and left in a dark place to ripen slowly over the next month and most were turned into this delicious chutney.

This is a my favorite way to use up lots of green tomatoes. Tomatoes combine quite well with warming spices, such as the ginger, mace, and cloves that I used here. Green tomato chutney is my current favorite sandwich condiment, especially on sweet potato, soft goat cheese, and arugula sandwiches. If you happen to have some roasted pork, I imagine that it would pair quite nicely. My other suggestion is to use it as part of a cheese platter, as its sweetness and acidity pair well with anything creamy and smooth. I also include golden raisins and chopped walnuts in the chutney for some bursts of sweetness and texture.

Green Tomato Chutney with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

6 cups chopped green tomatoes
1 medium-large onion, diced
1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger (or maybe up to 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1/2- 3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 – 2 tsp salt (kosher)

In a large pot or dutch oven, combine green tomatoes, onion, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low. Simmer until thick, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. About halfway through, add the raisins. Total cooking time for me was about 1 hour for a batch this big. When the chutney is almost done, add the walnuts. When it is finished, stir in the salt and remove the cinnamon stick. Taste for seasoning. If canning, ladle into hot, sterilized jars and process in water bath for 10 minutes. I am not sure how long it will keep in the fridge after you open a jar, but I am guessing maybe 2 weeks?

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apricot fig bread

Oh no! It has started to rain here. And from what I have been told, will not stop until sometime next June. In defense, may I suggest some fresh apricot fig bread and a mug of hot tea? I have made this bread a few times and, as with most quick breads, it is best the first day. This bread is easy to throw together with whatever dried fruit you have on hand, but I really liked the combination of dried figs and apricots. It is whole grain, potentially vegan, and not too sweet.

Apricot Fig Bread

adapted from fannetastic food

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanant

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup applesauce (I have used a combination of applesauce and yogurt before and it has turned out fine)

1 large mashed banana (or 1/2 cup yogurt)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with three tbsp water, set aside to thicken)

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped (I have used prunes instead and it is also delicious)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, mashed banana, and flax egg or real egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until everything is just combined. Fold in the dried fruit, and pour into a greased and floured pan. I used a 8″x 8″ pan, but you can also use a loaf pan or make muffins. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse sugar and rolled oats to make it look pretty. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. For the 8″x 8″ pan, it was about 30 minutes; a loaf pan will take 45-50 minutes.

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watermelon gazpacho

Summer melons are finally starting to come into season here in the PNW, after a cold spring and late summer. On the three days of the year where it gets somewhat uncomfortable in your third floor apartment, cold blended soups come to the rescue! I usually make a greener, veggie packed gazpacho, but last week I had a quarter of a small watermelon left and a huge, fat heirloom tomato sitting on my kitchen table. This combination of watermelon and tomato seems to be popping up in salads everywhere these days, and is justifiably delicious. Whenever I come across sun ripened tomatoes, I usually eat them simply on toast with a slathering mayonnaise and basil leaf. But! now, at this time of year, there is quite an abundance of heirloom tomatoes and I can afford to blend some farmers market seconds up into gazpacho.

This version of gazpacho is sweeter than the traditional soup and does not use stale bread to thicken. I usually use a cup of cooked white beans to thicken the soup and add some protein. In this case, I did not have any cooked beans on hand and just used some xanthan gum. This is a powder that is used a lot in both molecular gastronomy and in gluten free baking. Just be sure not to use too much or your soup will become really, really thick and gummy. Avocado can be blended into the soup or simply diced and scattered on top and provides both something creamy and something to chew to the soup.

Watermelon and tomato gazpacho

adapted from herbivoracious

2 cups cubed red, seedless watermelon

2-3  cups cubed, very ripe (and most likely, expensive) heirloom tomato

1 small sweet white onion, roughly chopped. (I used a fresh walla walla onion)

1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup of cooked white beans (optional) OR

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

small handful of basil or cilantro

juice of one lime

1-2 tbsp good olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

garnishes: diced avocado, tossed in lime juice, or plain yogurt, more herbs to garnish

 

In a blender, combine watermelon, tomato. pepper, onion, beans or xanthan gum, herbs, lime juice, olive oil, and seasoning. If you are using the gum, let the gum hydrate for a bit and reblend. Taste and adjust seasoning; I usually have to add more salt and acid. Chill and let the flavors meld. Serve in small bowls or cups and garnish with avocado or plain yogurt and scatter some herbs on top.

 

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Filed under drink, fruit, quick, soups, summer, tomato

apricot blackberry jam

Summer after summer, I have wanted to start canning. I didn’t want to can in our small kitchen here in Seattle, afraid that it would be too messy or there would not be enough room to work. However, all of these worries were uncalled for and I have been making lots of jam and pickles this summer. One of my favorites so far is this apricot blackberry jam, which, I think is better than apricot or blackberry jam. I used half apricots and half black diamond blackberries with a split vanilla bean and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. I also prefer to make a low sugar jam and, as a result, need to use a commercial pectin to thicken it up a bit. There are some rules that you need to follow if you want to actually can, be sure to read some general guidelines from the ball canning site or book.

I have been baking the jars to process them, instead of using the traditional water bath because my biggest pot is not quite big enough to accommodate standing pint jars with an inch of water on top. This method definitely is much easier and less intimidating, but I found the results a bit less reliable than the traditional water bath. Whichever  you chose, you will hear little “pings!” as the jars cool and the lids get vacuum sealed.

Preserving is much easier and less intimidating than most people think it will be. You don’t need to can 20 pounds of fruit in order to can. All you need is a couple pounds of apricots and berries to stretch the August into winter.

Apricot Blackberry Jam

2 cups mashed apricots (about 1 pound)

2 cups mashed blackberries (about 1 pound)

2/3 cup apple juice or white grape juice

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar

1/2 large lemon, juiced and zested

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

low sugar commercial pectin (i used the ball low sugar pectin, 3 tbsp)

Prepare the fruit. Pit and slice the apricots, no need to peel. Rinse and mash berries and apricots together. In a wide mouthed pot, like a dutch oven, Combine the apple juice, mashed fruit, lemon juice and zest, and the split vanilla bean and bring to a boil, constantly stirring. I usually cook this down until the juices are a reduced. Stir in the pectin and bring the jam back up to a boil. Stir in the sugar and boil hard for about a minute. If you wish to process and can this jam, follow the standard process. If not, spoon into clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator (eat soon) or freezer.

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gluten-free strawberry cupcakes

i wanted to make something for a gluten-free friend for her birthday many, many weeks ago. unfortunately with charrette and finals, i didn’t get a chance until this past week. continuing with the strawberries from this past week, here are gluten-free strawberry cupcakes!  gluten-free baking is certainly another beast. there are so many flours and starches to chose from! but here, coconut flour seems like a good idea and i like that these are sweetened with honey or agave nectar. i liked the dense crumb and the fluffy cream cheese frosting. but in the end,  i liked that i could make something (successfully!) for a friend to enjoy, most of all.

gluten-free strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

from joy the baker

after eating one two, i thought that next time i could lighten this up a bit if i beat the egg whites separately and folded them in at the end, like an angel food cake. if anyone does this, let me know how it turns out. also, these baked up pretty dark in my oven, so keep an eye on them. or use cupcake liners. also, these really do only need 1/2 cup of coconut flour!

1/2 c coconut flour

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 lrg eggs (room temp)

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 c finely diced strawberries, plus more for garnishing

preheat oven to 350. line or grease 8-9 cupcake molds.

whisk together the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda. make sure to whisk out any lumps in the coconut flour. in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, and vanilla. add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir well. the batter will get thicker as you stir. fold in the diced berries. scoop out to the prepared pan and bake about 20 minutes or until cakes are done. cool on a rack and frost.

cream cheese frosting

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp honey

beat the cream to stiff peaks. in another bowl, beat the cream cheese to lighten and beat in the vanilla and honey. fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and frost your cupcakes!

photo taken at pondicheri, houston, texas

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strawberry oat bars

somehow it is now the beginning of may, the end of architecture school(!), and the middle of strawberry season. i made these over charrette week for some studio mates in need of some quick energy but wanted something a little more wholesome. these bars reminded everyone of granola, but in a good way. i made some quick strawberry-cranberry jam-like filling for these (based on the ingredients i had on hand) but i imagine that the fruit filling can change based on the season. an all cranberry and orange version would be a welcome change from all of the usual holiday cookies. a blackberry with lime filled cookie with good vanilla ice cream could be a great ending for a july evening supper. the original version of these bars come from the ever popular Baked cookbook and were titles “raspberry breakfast bars.” not sure if these would make a the most healthy breakfast, but they do contain fruit and oatmeal, at least.

thinking about berries always reminds me of those pacific northwest summers and buying half flats of delicious mixed berries (boysenberries, marionberries, and loganberries, oh my!) from my favorite farmers market stand and eating them while sitting on the curb until my fingers are stained bright purple. while i can’t wait to move and settle in seattle, houston will always hold a place in my heart. a tribute to the city of live oaks, expansive freeways, and all the tex-mex, viet, and indian food  you could want coming soon.

ps- these would be easy to make vegan by swapping out the butter for either earth balance or coconut oil.

strawberry oat bars

adapted from the baked cookbook, via smitten kitchen with some influences from oh she glows

crust and topping:

1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)

1 1/2 c oatmeal (old fashion rolled oats or quick oats)

1/2 c sucanant or dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

light grating of nutmeg

1/4 c maple syrup (grade b if you can find it)

1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter, chilled and cubed

fruit filling

1 pound strawberries, hulled if fresh. i used frozen strawberries and they worked well.(i also used a handful of frozen cranberries because i was sort on strawberries)

3 tbsp to 1/4 c brown sugar, depending on sweetness of berries

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

1 tbsp of cornstarch or arrowroot starch

preheat the oven to 350. grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

for the crust and topping:

combine flour, oatmeal, sucanant or brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. cut in the cold butter until loose crumbs form. stir in the maple syrup.* i may have also stirred in a tiny splash of milk at this stage also, but dont quite remember. if the dough looks too dry, add it. if not ignore this.

reserve about 1.5 cups of this mixture. press the rest of it into the greased pan. bake about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

meanwhile, make the filling:

in a small saucepan, heat together the berries, zest, and sugar. cook until the berries begin to break down. stir together the cornstarch or arrowroot starch and the lemon juice and stir it into the berry mixture. bring to a boil and stir until thick. remov from heat and cool. you could also stir in a tbsp of butter here if you want a richer filling.

once the crust is baked, pour on the filling. sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle with some sesame seeds or crushed nuts, if desired. bake 35-40 minutes, rotating every 15 minutes until the filling is bubbly on the edges. cool and slice into bars.

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