Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Crisp

With it’s deep red stalks and giant green leaves, it calls to us that have it growing in our gardens. It has a way of calling out even to those who have no garden’s ~ it is now in season. It calls out to be eaten, mixed with sweeter fruits that are also coming into season like strawberries. It is tender and sweeter right now, later in the season the leaves will get bigger, large enough to use as a pattern for a bird bath in fact (that as they say is another story). The stalks themselves will become thicker, tougher need more sugar, honey or juice to cut the sour bitter taste.

What is it Rhubarb? Botanically speaking, it is a vegetable, relative of buckwheat, it has an earthy, sour flavor, rarely eaten raw; we most often treat it as a fruit. Nicknamed the “pie plant”. Please take note that the leaves are not to be eaten raw or cooked they can be poisonous.

Aside from making a wonderful pie or crisp it’s also got a few health benefits, high on the list is the fact that Rhubarb is high in fiber. It is believed to have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure, along with aiding in indigestion, restoring a balance to an acid stomach. It has been found to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy properties, and anti-cancer properties. Rhubarb extract can also be helpful in diminishing the problem of hot flashes

So enough already….you say bring on the Rhubarb, oh, yes indeed I have seen it in the Farmer’s Market, long thin juicy red stalks calling to me….I am blessed today is Wednesday, I get to walk down to visit the grower’s at our local Farmer’s Market . Now where did I see them…

Rhubarb Crisp

About 4 cups of ½ inch pieces of Rhubarb
¼ - ½ cups of sugar (this is a matter of preference, not sure go with the ½ cup)
zest of one lemon
juice from said lemon or about 2 –3 Tablespoon
a pinch of salt

Mix together and put in a buttered pie plate or and 8 x 8 square.

¼ –1 cup of brown sugar
1 ½ cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal
¼ cup butter or oil
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Mix together and sprinkle/spread over Rhubarb mixture.
Bake at 350 for about 35- 40 minutes
If possible serve warm, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Yummy –

Change orders or things you could do differently right off the top

Use the smaller amount of sugar decrease rhubarb by a cup, adding 1 ½ cups strawberries chopped, or apples
If you’re not an oatmeal eater, ( though this adds to the heart healthiness of a dessert) change the oatmeal to 1 cup flour, gluten free use buckwheat flour

Roll out a pie crust and make it a pie instead.

photo taken about an hour after I dropped off a crisp to my tasters at Coffee By Design on India street - wheat-free and vegan :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Intimate Sacred Sensuous

Ah, what was your first sensation, first thought upon reading those three words. And in her kitchen? YES! Chili and Chocolate. Dark sweet, oh so sensuous with hot tingling chilies to gather the energy deep in the belly, deep into the heart of the Soul.
I have been asked the question, “Might I share a Recipe” Not just any recipe, mind you ~ a truffle recipe. They are sacred, sensuous, oh and indeed intimate. I have never been one to hold out on the sharing of something like food, if I personally don’t get to create food for your plate, then let someone I know do it. Passing my love, my feelings of the Sacred for food and community; (2 makes community you and me, it only takes one savoring the taste, feel, the wonder of food to make it intimate.) Food by it’s very nature is Sacred, Life giving.

Chocolate has a history ( more to the point her-story) as being a food of and from the Gods and Goddess. Chocolate’s story began about 4,000 years ago, symbolizing life and fertility. For the Mayan’s, (or for any of us) what could be more important? At different times in it’s life it has been used as a health elixir, the cocoa beans as currency, then of course in religious rituals, least we forget that scientists have even proven it aphrodisiacal qualities, along with it ability to lower blood pressure when eaten in moderation. Chocolate has lived a long and diverse existence, lived in many cultures, from it’s beginnings in Mesoamerica.

Add chilies, upping the ante, bringing on the fire so to speak. Passion is kindled, as any one who has seen the movies Like Water for Chocolate and/or Chocolat, will surely remember. Chilies also have their own health benefits, helping to prevent congestion, fighting inflammation, soothing intestinal diseases, burning fat, protecting the heart by reducing cholesterol. It has also been shown to help fight some cancers.
So back to the original request , “Would looove your chocolate truffle recipe!” I love to share food, to ask for a recipe is akin to… (well, I’ll let your imagination run), for me there is an intimacy in the sharing of something that I hold to be life giving. To share how to make that item when I can not be there, it is the same, one invokes the person that the original recipe comes from every time they make said creation. Memories, the body re-members, the senses of taste, smell, perhaps even stories told.
Enjoy, I will think of you, as you think of me. To the fullness of our senses, we will met Intimately, Sacred, and Sensually ~ To your Health, Life and Love ~

Rho's Chili Chocolate Pate/Truffles

16 oz good dark chocolate ( if you’re a milk chocolate person use milk – just use good quality – this is not a place to skimp)
1 1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream ( no light, no fat stuff here either)
1 Tablespoon sweet butter
1 7 ounce can chipotle peppers or
1/16-1/4 cup crushed red chilie peppers, the amount will depend on you, smaller is better
*note the mixture gets hotter as it sets up

Heat ½ cup of the heavy cream throw in a crushed red chilies (know your chilies- how hot are they?), let sit for ½ hour and strain.

Now melt chocolate in a double boiler, do not over heat, when melted leave in double boiler or bowl over hot water add the butter then:

Add strained cream to rest of ingredients in a double boiler, mix well, mixture will get glassy or shiny looking and feel thicker . If using the chipotle peppers, mince - put in with the cream together. Taste – if there is not a little bit of a bite and you want it hotter now is the time to add a bit more chilies in powered form, go lightly till you know what works best for you.

Making Pate
–pour into a mold and let sit until cool and formed. Tip – put Saran Wrap in mold – it makes it easier to get it out of the mold later.

Making Truffles – leave in the top part of the double boiler or bowl set in fridge let set up about an hour. Form mixture into balls (using a melon baler helps make them the same size plus it’s easier. Roll balls in hands ( I put on gloves, the heat from your hands melts the chocolate and leaves your hands sticky otherwise) to make smooth, then in bowl with coca, crushed nuts or Confectioner’s sugar to coat. Put in mini cups or not. May also be dipped in more melted chocolate.
I have also been know to put this mixture on Spoons, let almost set up like for the truffles, use a knife to make a clean cut across the spoon, serve them on a plate with fresh whipped cream. For large mingling groups I put the spoons all on one plate, handles facing out, whipped cream with chocolate shavings in the middle.

photo of chocolate heart from Chocolate History Time Line @chocolatemonthclub