Tag Archives: spring

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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harvest days

Spring has truly sprung! In the last two weeks, we started harvesting the first new crops of the season. Deliciously tender and sweet asparagus! Juicy spinach! Definitely a welcome change to all of that kale we have been eating. During last Friday’s harvest I picked about 7 pounds of spinach. It is sort of crazy to think that I touched every single leaf of spinach that was sold.

On the agenda for this week: finish planting thousands(!) of onion starts and putting the plastic on the new hoophouse. The weather forecast is surprisingly wonderful so it should be a great week. Coming up: rhubarb cinnamon rolls.

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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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spring stew

a vegetable that i love but hate to prep is the artichoke.  the season for artichokes is nearing the end so i thought i should buy and cook a few before it was too late, since almost all artichokes in the us are grown in california.  i was thinking about roasting them, but didn’t want to turn the oven on for just a few artichokes.  the weekend was particularly blustery so a comforting warm bowl of soup was welcome.  a look inside of the fridge revealed all of the ingredients for a classic spring vegetable stew.  i used frozen shelled edamame and peas instead of fresh favas and fresh english peas because i am moving soon and want to eat everything in my fridge and pantry.  i, however, did use a couple lovely, sweet, new carrots with the greens still attached.  i wish i had fresh parsley and mint to toss in the end to provide a bit of lift, but even without, this was pretty tasty.  this is a really brothy stew that goes well with a crusty heel of bread.  just be sure to be aggressive when prepping the artichokes other wise their will be tough fibrous artichoke leaves floating around; nothing terrible but quite annoying to eat.

spring vegetable stew

adapted from smitten kitchen

(if you like food and pretty pictures (and if you don’t, who are you?) visit this blog)

4 medium artichokes prepped to the point that you remove the choke and sliced into eighths (please refer to here for all of the steps and dont be alarmed at the pile of trimmings for your compost bucket)

3 smallish carrots, diced

2 green garlic stalks sliced

1 small onion diced

1 cupish shelled fava beans or frozen edamame

1 cupish fresh or frozen english peas

1 large lemon

handful of chopped parsley and mint

large pinch of dried thyme or a sprig of fresh thyme, stripped

while prepping your artichokes, be sure to have a bowl of water with some lemon juice to keep the artichokes from browning too much.  when everything is prepped, heat a heavy bottomed skillet or small dutch oven over medium heat with enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  add the carrots, onion, and green garlic and saute until the onion is translucent.  add the artichokes and thyme, and season.  add enough vegetable stock to almost cover all of the vegetables and bring the heat down to simmer.  let the artichokes cook until nearly tender (maybe 20 minutes?)

if you are using favas, par boil them while the artichokes are simmering.  add these (or the edamame) to the artichokes along with the peas and simmer until just cooked.  check the seasoning and turn the heat off and add the fresh herbs.  serve with some bread and maybe a bit of goat cheese.

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spring is here!!!

you know when spring has arrived when you go to the farmers market sunday morning and pick up 2 fat bunches of asparagus for $3, 3 overflowing pints of strawberries for $5, and a dozen beautiful organic chicken eggs for $2.25.  these seasonal ingredients should be prepared simply and eaten as often as possible.  this is my favorite sort of meal:  creamy grits/polenta (which i now realize you can not see due to the asparagus deluge), roasted asparagus with lemon zest, and a fried egg on top.  i dont eat eggs by themselves very often, but i really enjoy them in applications like this.  the soft yolk, once broken, coats the asparagus and grits, creating an instant sauce.  this is also a good time to break out your finishing salt (maladon, french grey salt, pink sea salt, etc.)  the salt is pleasantly crunchy against all of the soft elements in this dish.  go to the farmers market now (if it is asparagus season where you are) and buy as many bunches you can eat, it will be gone before you know it.

simple asparagus supper

grits/polenta

here you can either make it the slow way that requires about 1/2 to 1 hour of slow simmering and stirring (which i did this weekend) or if you are pressed for time, you can use quick cooking grits or polenta.  which ever method you chose, stir in a handful of grated parmagiano at the end and/or a bit of cream or half and half.  here i cooled down the polenta and cut it into squares and broiled them for a couple minutes.

asparagus

1 bunch or as much as you can eat of asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the bias into 2 inch pieces

olive oil

lemon

garlic

preheat the oven to 400* and slide in a heavy baking sheet.  toss the asparagus with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, a bit of roughly chopped garlic, and the zest of one lemon.  roast the asparagus until tender.  maybe 15 or 20 minutes?  squeeze the juice of 1/2 a small lemon over the asparagus as soon as they come out of the oven.

fried egg

egg

butter

crunchy salt

assemble:

place the grit on the bottom of your bowl.  cover with asparagus.  top with a fried egg, make sure that the yolk is soft and runny.  sprinkle with your finishing salt and pepper.  eat immediately!


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