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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

I'm a fan of strawberries and rhubarb combined. So I'm going to enjoy them throughout the year.


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Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam


Adapted from: Southern Living Little Jars, Big Flavors
Yield: 4 half pint jars

This makes a rather thin-spreading jam but it tastes wonderful.

2 c sugar, divided
3 c strawberries (if you use frozen allow them to partially thaw)
3 c sliced rhubarb (if frozen allow them to thaw partially)
1 pkg. pectin (the original called for 1.59 oz. package, but I found only 2 oz.)

Stir 1 c sugar into the strawberries and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.

Place rhubarb and remaining cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and the sugar is melted. When it begins to simmer, turn it down and stir frequently. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the strawberries and the rhubarb and pulse in a food processor 8-12 times until slightly chunky. Transfer into a glass or plastic bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. Gradually stir in the pectin. Stir constantly for 3 minutes. Let stand, again, for 30 minutes.

Ladle mixture into clean half pint jars or other freezer containers. Leave 1/2 inch head space. Freeze upright in the freezer where they can remain for up to a year. Thaw in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks.

The book recommends Ball Fruit Jell Freezer Jam Pectin. (Next time I'll try it.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rhubarb Baked French Toast

When we were last together, Betsy and I tried this recipe. This particular product was made with red rhubarb, but the rhubarb in my garden is green, which won't be as pretty. Of course, it will taste just as good. The original recipe is for breakfast or brunch, but we think it would be a delicious dessert bread pudding.

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Rhubarb Baked French Toast


Adapted from: The Washington Post
Serves: 8-10, but this can be halved and cooked in an 8X8 pan

For the filling:

8 oz. trimmed rhubarb stalks, thick stalks cut in half vertically, cut into 1/2 inc. slices
1/2 c  sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
3 T orange juice
1 T cornstarch

For the french toast:

2 teas unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c sugar, divided
12 slices quality firm bread, sandwich or challah, white, or part wheat
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c whole or low fat milk
1 teas vanilla
1 teas ground cinnamon
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

The filling can be made ahead and makes preparation faster if you are serving this for breakfast. Combine the rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the orange zest and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb becomes soft,

In a small bowl, combine the juice and the cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add it to the mixture in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from burner and cool for at least 10 minutes. Store in the refrigerator if keeping it overnight.

For the French toast:

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 pan with the butter and arrange 6 slices of bread in an even layer on the bottom. Cut the bread to fit, if needed. Sprinkle the slices with 2 T sugar. Evenly spread the filling over the bread. Place another layer of bread on top of the rhubarb. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 T sugar.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour it over the bread layers, pressing down gently to help the bread absorb the liquid. Let it sit for 5-15 minutes until the egg mixture has soaked in completely. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and move to the hot oven.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top has become puffy and firm and it has begun to brown. Sprinkle with powdered  sugar and serve immediately.

Serve with strawberries, either sweetened or unsweetened.

If you choose to serve this as a dessert,  I recommend you leave the bottom layer as is but cut the bread into cubes for the top layer.





Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chocolate Sesame Crunch Bars

A variation on a no-bake cookie, these crunch bars are another way to use the tahini languishing in your fridge after you make hummus. The most time-consuming part for me was stirring the tahini, but if you use tahini more often the less it will settle in between uses.



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Chocolate Sesame Crunch Bars


Source: The New York Times

8 oz Rice Chex, puffed rice, or another crunchy, light cereal like cornflakes
10 oz milk chocolate, though I used a mixture of milk, semi-sweet, and bittersweet because that's what I had on hand--use what chocolate you prefer
1 1/4 c tahini, well stirred

Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining with parchment or wax paper.

Break up cereal by pulsing in a food processor just until broken into bits. You don't want to turn the cereal into powder. Place cereal in a large bowl.

Chop the chocolate. Add the tahini to the chocolate and melt it in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time. Then pour the melted chocolate and tahini mixture over the cereal bits and mix quickly.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread it out in an even layer. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, until the bars are hardened. Cut into bars and eat right away, then put the remaining bars back in the fridge. These treats begin to melt quickly, so they're best eaten right out of the fridge, which unfortunately limits their portability.