Tag Archives: rhubarb

Rhubarb Lemonade

 

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

Lemonade is one of the most common of summer drinks.  Served cold, it’s very refreshing on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes, I like to flavour my lemonades as I am doing today with rhubarb in the form of rhubarb lemonade.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb Patch

We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb so I make good use of it in many ways.  I will often cook up some excess rhubarb near the end of rhubarb season, strain it, and freeze the juice for later use or, sometimes, I will make up an entire batch or two of rhubarb lemonade and freeze that to have at the ready for sipping on those sweltering hot summer days.

Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

To make the rhubarb lemonade, I start with making a simple syrup of super-fine sugar (which you may know as caster sugar or instant-dissolving sugar) and water.  The typical ratio for simple syrup is traditionally 1:1 sugar to water.  However, with the super-fine sugar, I find that ratio is a bit too sweet so I back up the sugar content to 3/4 cup.  Using the super-fine sugar (as opposed to granulated sugar) results in a lovely, silky smooth syrup.  If I was to simply try and mix sugar with cold water, it would not dissolve properly and would leave a gritty, unpleasant texture to the drink.  In a previous post for Blueberry Lemonade, I give more details on this process and you can access that post by clicking here.

Once the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature, simply add the freshly-squeezed lemon juice and some lemon rind to the syrup and let it sit a bit for the flavour to develop, then strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lemon pulp, seeds, and the rind.

To make the rhubarb juice, cook rhubarb with water until the rhubarb is super soft and mushy.  This will take about 8-10 minutes of cooking.  It’s always hard to judge exactly how much rhubarb will be needed to generate the 4 cups of juice needed for this rhubarb lemonade but, generally speaking, 3 pounds of rhubarb and 3 cups of water should yield the 4 cups of juice.  If it falls short by  one-half cup or less, simply add up to one-half cup of water.  If it is more than a half cup short, you will need to cook some more rhubarb in order to keep the rhubarb flavour sufficiently strong enough.  Rhubarb juiciness varies depending on the variety and growing conditions, as well as its age, so that’s why it’s not an exact science as to exactly how much rhubarb to cook. Also, if the rhubarb is cooked too fast, too much water will evaporate and it will result in less juice.

To extract the juice from the cooked rhubarb, fit a fine mesh sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth and place over a deep heat-proof bowl.  Transfer the rhubarb to the sieve and let the juice drip through on its own.  Near the end of the dripping, if the amount does not quite equal 4 cups, you may gently – very gently- press the back of a large spoon against the rhubarb mash to squeeze a bit more juice.  Don’t press the mash too hard because some impurities from the mash will slip through the loose weave cheesecloth and the lemonade will not be clear.

The color in the rhubarb lemonade photos is natural.  There is no food coloring used.

Rhubarb Juice
Rhubarb Juice

The glorious deep coral-red color comes from using the extracted juice from bright red rhubarb stalks so use the deepest red stalks you can find.

Rhubarb Stalks
Rhubarb Stalks

To make the lemonade, simply combine the strained lemon syrup with the rhubarb juice. Mix and chill then serve over ice in pretty glasses.

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

This lemonade freezes well but it can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you wish, you can also add some clear soda, such as grapefruit and lemon, to this lemonade for a fizzy drink. This rhubarb lemonade is a great crowd pleaser and is a lovely addition to summer picnics and gatherings.

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

 

 [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Rhubarb Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 cup water
¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar)

¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind

3 lbs rhubarb, chopped into 1” chunks
3 cups water

Method:

For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind.  Discard the pulp and rind.

For the rhubarb juice:  Combine the rhubarb and water in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is completely  softened.  Place a large sieve over a big heatproof bowl.  Line the sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.  Remove the rhubarb from the heat and pour into the sieve, letting the juice drip through.  It may be necessary to use the back of a large spoon to very gently press the rhubarb pulp in order to extract all the juice out of the rhubarb.  This should yield about 4 cups, depending on the age and juiciness of the rhubarb.  If it is slightly less than 4 cups, up to ½ cup water may be added to bring the amount to 4 cups.

To assemble:  In large jug or bottle, combine 4 cups rhubarb juice with the simple syrup and lemon juice mixture. Stir well.  Chill.

To serve:  Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade.  Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well.

Yield:  Approximately 6 cups

Rhubarb Lemonade

With a perfect blend of sweet and tart notes, rhubarb and lemon combine to form Rhubarb Lemonade, a refreshing and thirst-quenching summertime sipper.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup super-fine sugar aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind
  • 3 lbs rhubarb chopped into 1” chunks
  • 3 cups water

Instructions

For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind. Discard the pulp and rind.

    For the rhubarb juice: Combine the rhubarb and water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is completely softened. Place a large sieve over a big heatproof bowl. Line the sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth. Remove the rhubarb from the heat and pour into the sieve, letting the juice drip through. It may be necessary to use the back of a large spoon to very gently press the rhubarb pulp in order to extract all the juice out of the rhubarb. This should yield about 4 cups, depending on the age and juiciness of the rhubarb. If it is slightly less than 4 cups, up to ½ cup water may be added to bring the amount to 4 cups.

      To assemble: In large jug or bottle, combine 4 cups rhubarb juice with the simple syrup and lemon juice mixture. Stir well. Chill.

        To serve: Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade. Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

          Recipe Notes

          Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well.

           

          For other great lemonade recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

          Lemonade
          Blueberry Lemonade

          Pin Me To Pinterest!

           

          Rhubarb Lemonade

          Rhubarb Lemonade

          Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          Rhubarb Pudding Cake
          Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          Today, I am sharing my recipe for a real old-fashioned type of dessert – Rhubarb Pudding Cake. The cake is “self-saucing” which means that the delectable sauce forms underneath the simple cake batter as the cake bakes. It’s an “all-in-one” pudding and cake! It may not be the most extravagant looking dessert but it sure is mighty tasty! If you are a rhubarb lover, you will love this dessert.

          Pudding Cake
          Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          This pudding is easy to make and can be made with either fresh or frozen rhubarb.  In fact, I often freeze the amount of rhubarb needed for the pudding in ziploc freezer bags labeled “For Rhubarb Pudding Cake” and it’s a real treat in the middle of winter! This is an old, old family favorite of ours! For those on a gluten-free diet, this pudding is easy to make gluten free – simply replace the quantity of flour called for in the recipe with an equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour.  In fact, the photos in this post are of the gluten-free version of this pudding cake.

          Rhubarb Pudding Cake
          Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          Rhubarb chunks are spread in the bottom of the baking dish then covered with a simple cake batter that is lightly spiced and then topped with a sauce made with either orange or pineapple juice. The juice trickles down through the batter and meets up with the rhubarb and the two form a heck of a tasty sauce. As the pudding bakes, a soft golden crust forms on top of the cake.  Lots of texture happening in this pudding cake!

          Pudding Cake
          Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          This pudding cake is best served after it has been allowed to stand for 15-20 minutes after it has baked and been removed from the oven.  I sometimes serve it plain and, other times, I’ll add either a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

          Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake
          Rhubarb Pudding Cake
          [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

          Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          Ingredients:

          2¾ cups rhubarb, cut into ¾“ chunks
          3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
          1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

          ¾ cup all-purpose flour (or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
          1 1/8 tsp baking powder
          1/8 tsp salt
          ½ tsp cinnamon
          ¼ tsp nutmeg
          smidgeon cloves

          ½ cup milk
          1 tsp vanilla

          ½ cup granulated sugar
          1 tbsp cornstarch
          1¼ tsp finely grated orange rind
          ½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
          ¼ tsp almond flavouring

          Method:

          Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish.  Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish.  Set aside.

          In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.

          In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

          In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.

          In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together.  Mix in the grated orange rind.  Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring.  Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.

          Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish.  Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares.  Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

          Yield:  6-8 servings

          Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          This easy-to-make dessert features rhubarb with an orange or pineapple-flavoured sauce that forms underneath a gently spiced cake layer as it bakes. True comfort food!
          Course Dessert
          Cuisine American
          Servings 6

          Ingredients

          • cups rhubarb cut into ¾“ chunks
          • 3 tbsp butter softened at room temperature
          • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
          • ¾ cup all-purpose flour or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
          • 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
          • 1/8 tsp salt
          • ½ tsp cinnamon
          • ¼ tsp nutmeg
          • smidgeon cloves
          • ½ cup milk
          • 1 tsp vanilla
          • ½ cup granulated sugar
          • 1 tbsp cornstarch
          • tsp finely grated orange rind
          • ½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
          • ¼ tsp almond flavouring

          Instructions

          1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish. Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish. Set aside.
          2. In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.
          3. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
          4. In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.
          5. In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together. Mix in the grated orange rind. Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring. Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.
          6. Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish. Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares. Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

           

          Pin me to Pinterest!

          Pudding Cake
          Rhubarb Pudding Cake
          Pudding Cake
          Rhubarb Pudding Cake

          Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          I love the produce our garden generates and its earliest treat is rhubarb.  It is so versatile and I make lots of recipes using rhubarb.  Today, a treat for my gluten-free diet followers — a new recipe for deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins.

          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          There are many recipes for rhubarb muffins but many of them call for chopped rhubarb.  Rhubarb has a lot of water content and cooks fast when used in chopped form in baking goods. This extra water content can cause some baked goods to turn out soggy, particularly in the areas where the rhubarb chunks land.  To combat this problem, for this recipe, I cook the rhubarb then mash, or purée, it with a hand-held immersion blender. I then use the mashed/puréed rhubarb as part of the liquid content in the muffin batter.  So, I still get rhubarb muffins but without the wet soggy spots.

          When I make muffins, I like them to be deli- or café-style which is to say I’m looking for muffins that are a reasonable size, are hearty,  have a lovely texture with a coarse crumb (not cake-like), and are filled with flavour.

          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Muffins are, for lack of a better way of putting it, little individual quick breads. We all know that, appearance-wise, the perfect muffin should bear a slightly domed top that has a bit of firmness to it.  There are a combination of factors that will contribute to that desired result — the right amount of leavening, the consistency of the batter, and the oven temperature.

          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Rhubarb is, by nature, tart.  However, it is important not to over-do the sugar content in the muffins because too much sugar will create a cake-like texture and the moist, open tender crumb, which is a hallmark feature of muffins, will be lost and you will end up with a product that more closely resembles a cupcake. A batter that is too runny will pose the risk of muffins that will rise to form stiff mountain peaks.  Adding some Greek yogurt to the batter is one way to thicken it up and reduce this risk.  Of course, the addition of the right proportions of leavening (baking powder and baking soda) are key.  Having the muffins go into a really hot oven to start them baking is also key to getting a lovely gentle dome on the muffin tops. Using the high temperature allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.

          Since I have been developing gluten-free muffins, one thing I have discovered is that I end up with better quality, deli-style muffins when I use a blend of gluten-free flours versus, say, one all-purpose flour or only the one-to-one gluten free flour.  Each gluten-free flour has its own unique qualities and properties and the right blend will provide structure, texture, and flavour to the muffins. The addition of granola to these muffins adds texture, flavour, and bulk to the muffins, making them more hearty and filling.

          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

          Gluten Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Ingredients:

          3½ oz rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch pieces
          1½ tbsp orange juice

          1 cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
          2 tbsp potato starch
          ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
          ¼ cup almond flour
          ¼ cup coconut flour
          ¾ tsp zanthan gum
          ¼ cup gluten-free quick oats
          5½ tsp baking powder
          ½ tsp baking soda
          ½ tsp salt
          1½ tbsp ground chia seeds
          1¾ tsp cinnamon
          ¼ tsp cloves
          ½ tsp nutmeg
          1/8 tsp ginger
          ¼ tsp allspice
          2 tsp finely grated orange rind
          2/3 cup granola

          2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
          2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
          ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
          1½ tsp vanilla
          1½ tbsp orange juice
          ½ cup whole milk
          2 tbsp pure maple syrup
          1/3 cup cooled rhubarb purée
          2 tbsp Greek style coconut yogurt or sour cream
          1½ tsp rose water (optional)

          Method:

          In small sauce pan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice.  Cook over medium-low heat until rhubarb is softened.  Cool slightly then, using the back of a large spoon, mash up the rhubarb or, alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender to purée the rhubarb.  Set aside to cool completely.

          Preheat oven to 450°F.

          Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.

          Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl.  Whisk ingredients well to combine. Stir in granola. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

          In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, orange juice, milk, maple syrup, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and rose water (if using). Whisk ingredients well. Stir in cooled rhubarb purée.

          Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients.  With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.

          Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup.  Transfer to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.  Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Muffins freeze well.

          Yield: 12 muffins

          Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Tangy rhubarb purée joins granola, spices, orange juice, and Greek yogurt to make these deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Course Snack
          Cuisine American
          Servings 12
          Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

          Ingredients

          • oz rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch pieces
          • tbsp orange juice
          • 1 cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
          • 2 tbsp potato starch
          • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
          • ¼ cup almond flour
          • ¼ cup coconut flour
          • ¾ tsp zanthan gum
          • ¼ cup gluten-free quick oats
          • tsp baking powder
          • ½ tsp baking soda
          • ½ tsp salt
          • tbsp ground chia seeds
          • tsp cinnamon
          • ¼ tsp cloves
          • ½ tsp nutmeg
          • 1/8 tsp ginger
          • ¼ tsp allspice
          • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
          • 2/3 cup granola (recipe link below)
          • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
          • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
          • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
          • tsp vanilla
          • tbsp orange juice
          • ½ cup whole milk
          • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
          • 1/3 cup cooled rhubarb purée
          • 2 tbsp Greek style coconut yogurt or sour cream
          • tsp rose water optional

          Instructions

          1. In small sauce pan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Cook over medium-low heat until rhubarb is softened. Cool slightly then, using the back of a large spoon, mash up the rhubarb or, alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender to purée the rhubarb. Set aside to cool completely.
          2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
          3. Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.
          4. Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl. Whisk ingredients well to combine. Stir in granola. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
          5. In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, orange juice, milk, maple syrup, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and rose water (if using). Whisk ingredients well. Stir in cooled rhubarb purée.
          6. Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients. With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
          7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup. Transfer to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Muffins freeze well.

          Recipe Notes

          Link to granola recipe: http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/03/08/the-bistros-great-nut-free-granola/

           

          For other gluten-free muffin recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

          The Ultimate Gluten-free Zucchini Date Muffins
          Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Mincemeat Muffins
          Deli-Style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins
          Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

          Pin Me to Pinterest!

          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
          Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

          Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          Homemade Ice Cream
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          Summer just would not be summer without ice cream and what better way to enjoy it than to combine two of the season’s best flavors – strawberry and rhubarb – into homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream!

          I have been making ice cream for a long time. I have an electric churn that has been in the family for probably close to 50 years.  I keep thinking that, one of these days, I will have the custard made and the motor will give out on the churn.  But, amazingly, it always works!  It’s not fancy but it does the job. There are various types and styles of ice cream makers on the market today but I like my old faithful electric churn. It may look rusty on the outside from all the contact it has had over many years with rock salt that sloshes around with ice in the bucket but the canister is in perfect condition and the churn still makes great smooth ice cream!

          Ice Cream Maker
          Electric Ice Cream Maker

          It usually takes about 20-25 minutes for the ice cream to churn.  The ice cream will come out of the canister quite soft textured but placing it in the deep freeze for about 3 hours will result in it firming up very well.

          Homemade Ice Cream
          Homemade Churned Ice Cream

          I use the traditional custard method for making ice cream. It’s amazing how such basic, simple ingredients can turn out such a delectable treat.  Milk/cream, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla form the standard base for the custard and then other flavorings may be added.

          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          The trick to making homemade ice cream is to use the good stuff! Yes, the real cream, whipping cream, and whole milk.  This will give the custard the rich base and the ice cream its smooth texture. While granulated sugar can be used, my preference is to use the super-fine caster sugar as there is no grit at all to it. I always make my custard the night before I churn the ice cream and place it in the refrigerator overnight as it gives the flavors time to develop as they “mix and mingle” and the custard needs to be very cold to start the churning. In fact, I put the churn canister and beaters in the freezer for an hour or so before churning so they are cold as well.

          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          One ingredient I add to this particular ice cream recipe is strawberry balsamic vinegar – yes, vinegar goes in this recipe but not just any vinegar and not a lot of it. One tablespoon of high quality strawberry balsamic will deepen and enhance the strawberry flavor and, no, it will not leave a lingering vinegar taste in the ice cream. If you have rose water, the addition of just 1 1/2 teaspoons will give a hint of floral flavor. Don’t over-do the rose water or it will start to taste like perfume.  All this small addition is doing is adding a subtle layer of flavoring.

          Use the freshest ingredients you can – i.e., make this ice cream when the local rhubarb and strawberries are available as they have the best flavor.

          Strawberries
          Fresh From the Field PEI Strawberries

          Choose the reddest stalks of rhubarb you can find. This recipe does not call for any artificial food coloring (and I don’t use any) so the pink color comes naturally from the red rhubarb and strawberries.  Each batch I make has a slightly different tint of pink to it depending on the quality of the strawberries and rhubarb.

          Rhubarb
          Rhubarb

          I recommend reading through the recipe a couple of times before starting to make the ice cream to organize the prep work and to be sure you have all the required ingredients and understand the method and the sequence for preparing the ingredients.

          I have made this Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream both rippled (shown in the photo at the beginning of this posting) using some of the strawberry-rhubarb purée to weave through the ice cream and plain (shown in the ice cream cones in the photo below) where I incorporate all of the purée into the custard.  The ice cream is good either way. This homemade ice cream freezes rock solid hard so I recommend removing it from the freezer 7-10 minutes before using as, otherwise, it will be difficult to scoop.

          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Plain (no rippling/marbling)

          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream makes a great sundae, especially if you drizzle it with crushed strawberries or strawberry-rhubarb sauce.

          Ice Cream Sundae
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sundae

          And, it makes dandy milkshakes.  Simply combine 3 scoops of the strawberry rhubarb ice cream in a blender with 1/4 cup milk per serving.  Blend until smooth and serve in fancy tall glasses with colorful straws and a strawberry garnish.

          Milkshake
          Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake

          Oh, this is a special treat on a hot summer day!

          Milkshake
          Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake

          Homemade ice cream sandwiches are also a wonderful summer treat. I use my gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies for these sandwiches because they are a lovely soft-textured cookie.

          Ice Cream Sandwiches
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches

          For these sandwiches, freeze the ice cream in a 9×13 baking pan lined with tin foil. Fill the pan with the ice cream to a depth of 3/4″ to 1″ thick.  Place in freezer for a couple of hours then remove the ice cream from the pan and cut round circles of the ice cream with a cookie cutter that is slightly smaller than the cookie size.

          Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches

          [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

          Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          Ingredients:

          10 oz strawberries, chopped
          1 tbsp strawberry balsamic vinegar (optional but recommended)
          3 tbsp caster sugar
          1½ tsp rose water (optional)

          1 lb rhubarb, chopped
          2 tbsp orange juice
          2 tbsp water
          3 tbsp caster sugar

          1 cup whipping cream (36%)
          1 cup half-and-half or coffee cream (at least 18%)
          1 cup whole milk
          Scant ¾ cup caster sugar
          4 extra-large egg yolks
          1/8 tsp fine sea salt
          2 tsp vanilla

          Method:

          Place chopped strawberries in small bowl and sprinkle with 3 tbsp caster sugar, balsamic vinegar, and rose water. Set aside.

          Place chopped rhubarb in small saucepan and add the 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp water and 3 tbsp caster sugar.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until rhubarb is softened. Remove from heat and strain through medium mesh wire sieve.  Reserve the rhubarb pulp and transfer to heat-proof bowl.

          Return the strained rhubarb juice to saucepan and cook over medium heat until juice is reduced to about 1/3 cup.  Pour the syrup over the reserved rhubarb pulp. Let cool to room temperature.

          Transfer the strawberries and cooled rhubarb mixture to a blender and purée until very smooth.  Strain mixture through medium mesh sieve, squeezing as much juice as possible out of the rhubarb by gently pressing it down with the back of a spoon. This should yield approximately 2⅔ – 3 cups purée. Discard any remaining pulp. Cool strained mixture in refrigerator.

          In heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring whipping cream, half-and-half, and whole milk to the scalding point (small bubbles should start to appear around the edges of the mixture) – 180°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Do not boil. Transfer mixture to top of double boiler.

          In bottom of double boiler, bring about 2” of water to the simmer point (around 200°F). Maintain the water at this simmer point over medium-low heat. Place top of double boiler containing the milk over the simmering water.

          In bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together until pale and creamy.  Gradually add about ¾ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to blend well.  Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture in top of double boiler, whisking continuously.  Cook over the simmering water, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a wood spoon or reaches a temperature of 175°F on a candy thermometer.  Do not allow mixture to boil.

          Set large clean bowl in a sink of cold water filled to about half the depth of the bowl.  Pour the custard mixture through a wire sieve into the bowl to remove any bits of egg that may have coagulated.  Stir in the vanilla.

          Set aside about ½ cup of the puréed strawberry-rhubarb mixture and whisk the remaining puréed fruit mixture into the custard until it is well blended.  Chill, covered, in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or more (can be chilled overnight and up to 24 hours).

          Churn custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer about a third of the ice cream to an airtight freezer container. Drizzle half of the reserved purée over the ice cream.  Repeat the process with another layer of ice cream and purée and ending with a layer of the ice cream.  With the thin blade of a knife, or using a wooden skewer, swirl the purée through the ice cream to incorporate it in a marble effect. Do not overmix or the ripple/marble effect will be lost. Cover container tightly and allow ice cream to freeze for at least 3 hours, or until very firm, before serving.

          Yield: Apx. 1 quart

          Note 1: This ice cream will freeze rock solid hard. Recommend removing ice cream from freezer 7-10 minutes before serving.
          Note 2: This ice cream may be made without the rippling effect. Simply incorporate all of the strawberry-rhubarb purée into the custard instead of reserving ½ cup for the rippling/marbling.

          Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream

          Yield: Apx. 1 qt

          Delectable old-fashioned homemade ice cream combines two of summer's best flavors - strawberry and rhubarb.

          Ingredients

          • 10 oz strawberries, chopped
          • 1 tbsp strawberry balsamic vinegar (optional but recommended)
          • 3 tbsp caster sugar
          • 1½ tsp rose water (optional)
          • 1 lb rhubarb, chopped
          • 2 tbsp orange juice
          • 2 tbsp water
          • 3 tbsp caster sugar
          • 1 cup whipping cream (36%)
          • 1 cup half-and-half or coffee cream (at least 18%)
          • 1 cup whole milk
          • Scant ¾ cup caster sugar
          • 4 extra-large egg yolks
          • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
          • 2 tsp vanilla

          Instructions

          1. Place chopped strawberries in small bowl and sprinkle with 3 tbsp caster sugar, balsamic vinegar, and rose water. Set aside.
          2. Place chopped rhubarb in small saucepan and add the 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp water and 3 tbsp caster sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until rhubarb is softened. Remove from heat and strain through medium mesh wire sieve. Reserve the rhubarb pulp and transfer to heat-proof bowl.
          3. Return the strained rhubarb juice to saucepan and cook over medium heat until juice is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Pour the syrup over the reserved rhubarb pulp. Let cool to room temperature.
          4. Transfer the strawberries and cooled rhubarb mixture to a blender and purée until very smooth. Strain mixture through medium mesh sieve, squeezing as much juice as possible out of the rhubarb by gently pressing it down with the back of a spoon. This should yield approximately 2 2/3 – 3 cups purée. Discard any remaining pulp. Cool strained mixture in refrigerator.
          5. In heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring whipping cream, half-and-half, and whole milk to the scalding point (small bubbles should start to appear around the edges of the mixture) - 180°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Do not boil. Transfer mixture to top of double boiler.
          6. In bottom of double boiler, bring about 2” of water to the simmer point (around 200°F). Maintain the water at this simmer point over medium-low heat. Place top of double boiler containing the milk over the simmering water.
          7. In bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together until pale and creamy. Gradually add about ¾ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to blend well. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture in top of double boiler, whisking continuously. Cook over the simmering water, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a wood spoon or reaches a temperature of 175°F on a candy thermometer. Do not allow mixture to boil.
          8. Set large clean bowl in a sink of cold water filled to about half the depth of the bowl. Pour the custard mixture through a wire sieve into the bowl to remove any bits of egg that may have coagulated. Stir in the vanilla.
          9. Set aside about ½ cup of the puréed strawberry-rhubarb mixture and whisk the remaining puréed fruit mixture into the custard until it is well blended. Chill, covered, in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or more (can be chilled overnight and up to 24 hours).
          10. Churn custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer about a third of the ice cream to an airtight freezer container. Drizzle half of the reserved purée over the ice cream. Repeat the process with another layer of ice cream and purée and ending with a layer of the ice cream. With the thin blade of a knife, or using a wooden skewer, swirl the purée through the ice cream to incorporate it in a marble effect. Do not overmix or the ripple/marble effect will be lost. Cover container tightly and allow ice cream to freeze for at least 3 hours, or until very firm, before serving.

          Notes

          Note 1: This ice cream will freeze rock solid hard. Recommend removing ice cream from freezer 7-10 minutes before serving.

          Note 2: This ice cream may be made without the rippling effect. Simply incorporate all of the strawberry-rhubarb purée into the custard instead of reserving ½ cup for the rippling/marbling.

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          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sundae
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sundae
          Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

           

          Rhubarb Curd Recipe

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd

          I love rhubarb and use it in a multitude of ways.  Being a lover of lemon curd, I figured I would also like rhubarb curd so I set about developing and testing a recipe for it.  This delightful creamy curd can be used in the same ways as lemon curd  – sandwiching cakes together, spreading on scones, filling cookies, eclairs, macarons, and tarts, stirring into (or topping on) Greek yogurt for quick parfaits, and, well, its uses are only limited by your imagination!

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd and Coconut Yogurt Parfait

          Rhubarb curd is made with only five (5) ingredients – rhubarb, orange (juice and zest), sugar, eggs, and butter. The recipe I am including with this posting is the result of several testings. Here are my tips for successfully making rhubarb curd.

          Rhubarb

          Rhubarb
          Rhubarb Patch

          Either fresh or frozen rhubarb can be used for this recipe; however, I always advocate for fresh.  Try to select the reddest stalks you can find and ones that are blemish free.

          Rhubarb
          Rhubarb

          Orange Juice and Zest

          Wash the orange really well in hot, soapy water and scrub it with a vegetable brush. Rinse the orange well and dry it before zesting.

          Use a citrus fruit zester to zest the orange. This should yield about 2 teaspoons of zest. This zesting process will release the aromatic oils from the orange that will enhance the flavor of the curd. When zesting the orange, take care only to remove the thin outside orange skin of the fruit and not the underlying white pith which is bitter.

          Cut the orange in half and squeeze it to extract the juice. Alternatively, bottled orange juice may also be used.

          Eggs

          I have tested this curd using various amounts and combinations of eggs -i.e., different sized eggs, egg yolks only, and combining egg yolks with some egg white.

          Eggs
          Eggs

          While all combinations I tried were acceptable, I found that my preference is to use 3 extra-large egg yolks combined with one medium-sized whole egg.  I always keep three sizes of eggs in my refrigerator – extra-large, large, and medium – because I use different sizes in different recipes and various combinations of egg sizes in recipes.  I find adding a bit of egg white to the curd gives a bit more fluidity and makes it more silky smooth.  Making the curd with only egg yolks tends to result in slightly thicker textured curd that has a more gelatin-like consistency which is not quite as satiny smooth as can be achieved by adding a bit of egg white.  It’s still tasty but just not as creamy. The photo below is of a curd made with egg yolks only.

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd

          Adding a whole extra-large egg adds too much liquid to the curd but I found that the addition of a medium-sized egg is perfect as there is just enough white in the medium egg to give the curd that little bit of fluidity without making it overly runny. The photo below is of a curd made with 3 extra-large egg yolks and 1 whole medium-sized egg.

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd

          I like the rhubarb curd to be soft but not overly runny or too thick – it should more or less stay in place when a dollop of it is added to the top of yogurt or dropped on to a scone or biscuit, for example.

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd

          The problem that often occurs with adding an egg white to a curd is that the white, or parts of it, can coagulate before being fully incorporated into the curd meaning the white goes from liquid form to a solid. Egg whites cook faster than the yolks so, no matter how much stirring, there can still be little bits of the coagulated egg white in the curd because, once the white has turned into solid mass, it can’t be liquified again. This is easily remedied, however, by straining the cooked curd through a fine wire mesh sieve to remove any little bits of egg white remaining. You would think the thickened curd would not drip through the sieve but, amazingly, it does! Don’t skip this step.

          Sugar

          This curd is best made with caster sugar which you may know by any of the following names: Fruit sugar, instant dissolving sugar, berry sugar, or super fine sugar. This sugar is extra fine. It dissolves much faster than granulated sugar and is commonly used in making simple syrups used in cocktails because it leaves no “gritty” texture. Regular granulated sugar may be used but, if a pure silky smooth curd is the goal, I recommend using the caster sugar.

          Method

          Making rhubarb curd takes time. I do not recommend making the rhubarb curd in a pot directly over the heat source because it is very easy to scorch the curd with the amount of sugar in it. My preference is to use a double boiler. If you don’t have one of these sets of pots, simply set a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.

          It’s very important that the top pot/bowl in the double boiler not touch the water in the bottom pot. The curd cooks from the steam heating the top saucepan of the boiler, not by contact with water. About 2” of water in the bottom of the pot is all that is required. Heat this water to the simmering point (around 200°F) and do not let it boil as this will cook the eggs in the curd too fast. This is when curdling can occur and the mixture will become lumpy and lose its smooth texture. The water should be kept at this 200°F temperature throughout the cooking process.  (Note that temperatures for the simmering water may need to be adjusted according to altitude.  The important thing is that the water not boil.)

          I add the orange zest at the beginning of the cooking process because that’s when I think the zest can do the most to enhance the flavor of the curd. Simply stir the orange zest into the sugar in the top of the double boiler then whisk in the rhubarb juice.  Mix the egg yolks and the whole egg together in a small bowl, using a fork to lightly break them up. Whisk the eggs and softened butter into the sugar-juice mixture. Place this pot/heatproof bowl on top of the pot of simmering water.

          The mixture needs to be stirred regularly as it cooks.  A whisk or a wooden spoon can be used to stir the curd. Be patient. This cooking process can easily take 20-25 minutes for the curd to thicken. Resist the urge to increase the heat to hurry the cooking process along. The curd, when cooked, will coat the back of a wooden spoon. However, the most accurate test is to use a candy thermometer – the curd is cooked when the temperature reaches 170°F.

          The curd needs to be strained through a very fine wire mesh sieve to remove any bits of the coagulated egg white along with the orange zest. The zest has done its duty by releasing flavor into the curd. There is no harm in leaving the zest in the curd; however, if the goal is to have a perfect silky finish to the curd, strain out the zest.

          Color and Texture

          The color of the cooked curd will not be a vibrant red as was the rhubarb juice to start. The color becomes a paler salmon pink/soft orange color because of the addition of the eggs which dilutes the ruby red color of the rhubarb juice. The texture of the perfectly cooked curd should be silky smooth and very creamy, and the curd should bear a slightly glossy sheen.  The rhubarb curd will thicken slightly more as it cools. A true curd does not have any thickening agent (e.g., flour or cornstarch) added to it. The egg yolks are what naturally thickens the curd.

          Rhubarb Curd
          Rhubarb Curd

          Storage

          Transfer the strained curd to a hot sterilized jar.  Immediately place a piece of plastic wrap on the exposed surface of the curd in the jar, pressing it gently to ensure it is in direct contact with the entire surface of the curd. This will prevent a skin from forming on the curd as it cools.  Let the curd cool to room temperature then remove the plastic wrap, cover tightly with jar lid, and store in the refrigerate for up to a week.

          Rhubarb Curd Spread on Muffins
          Rhubarb Curd Spread on Muffins

          [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

          Rhubarb Curd

          Ingredients:

          10 oz rhubarb, chopped into ½” chunks
          2 tbsp orange juice

          2/3 cup caster sugar
          2 tsp orange zest
          3 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
          1 whole medium egg, room temperature
          3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

          Method:

          Place chopped rhubarb and orange juice in medium-sized saucepan.  Cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft and mushy (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and strain through fine wire mesh sieve to extract the rhubarb juice, squeezing as much juice as possible out of the rhubarb by gently pressing it down with the back of a spoon. This should yield approximately ½ cup rhubarb juice. Cool. Discard the strained pulp.

          In bottom of double boiler, bring about 2” of water to the simmer point (around 200°F). Maintain the water at this simmer point over medium-low heat.  Place sugar in top of double boiler or heat-proof bowl.  Mix in the orange zest.  Whisk the ½ cup rhubarb juice into sugar.

          In small bowl, lightly beat the 3 egg yolks and the whole egg together with a fork, just enough to break up the yolks and blend with the whole egg.  Whisk the eggs into the sugar and rhubarb juice mixture. Add the soft butter.  Place this pot or bowl over the simmering water. Stir the mixture continuously as it cooks until it is thickened and the temperature of the mixture registers 170°F on a candy thermometer.  Be patient as this may take 20-25 minutes. Make sure the water in the bottom of the boiler does not boil and stays only at the simmer point.

          Remove curd from heat and strain through a mesh strainer to remove any of the egg white that may have coagulated as well as the orange zest.  Pour strained curd into a sterilized jar.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin on top. Cool at room temperature. Remove plastic wrap. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

          Yield: Apx. 1 cup

          *caster sugar may also be known as fruit sugar, berry sugar, super fine sugar, or instant dissolving sugar.
          Note:  Altitude may affect the temperature at which the water reaches the simmering point. The important thing is that the water in the bottom of the double boiler does not boil or touch the top of the double boiler/heatproof bowl during the cooking of the curd.

          Rhubarb Curd Recipe

          Yield: Apx. 1 cup

          A delightful creamy smooth rhubarb curd that is perfect for spreading on muffins, scones, or biscuit or adding to yogurt parfaits

          Ingredients

          • 10 oz rhubarb, chopped into ½” chunks
          • 2 tbsp orange juice
          • 2/3 cup caster sugar*
          • 2 tsp orange zest
          • 3 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
          • 1 whole medium egg, room temperature
          • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
          • *caster sugar may also be known as fruit sugar, berry sugar, super fine sugar, or instant dissolving sugar

          Instructions

          1. Place chopped rhubarb and orange juice in medium-sized saucepan. Cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft and mushy (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and strain through fine wire mesh sieve to extract the rhubarb juice, squeezing as much juice as possible out of the rhubarb by gently pressing it down with the back of a spoon. This should yield approximately ½ cup rhubarb juice. Cool. Discard the strained pulp.
          2. In bottom of double boiler, bring about 2” of water to the simmer point (around 200°F). Maintain the water at this simmer point over medium-low heat. Place sugar in top of double boiler or heat-proof bowl. Mix in the orange zest. Whisk the ½ cup rhubarb juice into sugar.
          3. In small bowl, lightly beat the 3 egg yolks and the whole egg together with a fork, just enough to break up the yolks and blend with the whole egg. Whisk the eggs into the sugar and rhubarb juice mixture. Add the soft butter. Place this pot or bowl over the simmering water. Stir the mixture continuously as it cooks until it is thickened and the temperature of the mixture registers 170°F on a candy thermometer. Be patient as this may take 20-25 minutes. Make sure the water in the bottom of the boiler does not boil and stays only at the simmer point.
          4. Remove curd from heat and strain through a mesh strainer to remove any of the egg white that may have coagulated as well as the orange zest. Pour strained curd into a sterilized jar. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin on top. Cool at room temperature. Remove plastic wrap. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

          Notes

          Note: Altitude may affect the temperature at which the water reaches the simmering point. The important thing is that the water in the bottom of the double boiler does not boil or touch the top of the double boiler/heatproof bowl during the cooking of the curd.

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          Rhubarb Curd

          Rhubarb Curd

          Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea

           

          Lily of the Valley
          Lily of the Valley

          The sweet little Lily of the Valley, with its dainty bell-shaped flowers, has long been a favorite flower of mine. Close to 40 years ago, a very dear friend of mine had a cottage on the shores of Rosebank (now Stratford), PEI.  Every spring, I’d make the trek to the cottage to pick a couple of bouquets of these fragrant flowers and there would be a posy on the dining room table and another on my desk at work.  I was thrilled when the offer came for me to dig up a clump of the Lily of the Valley roots from the prolific crop by the cottage front step.  I transplanted them at our family home. A cottage and two house builds later and transplants of the lilies have occurred at each property, all derived from the same clump of lilies that came from the Rosebank cottage. When I see the lilies bloom each spring, particularly by the cottage front step, I am reminded of sweet memories of another cottage long ago and its owner who is no longer with us.

          The birth flower of May, Lily of the Valley has various meanings and significance. Said to signify traits of humility, trustworthiness, chastity, sweetness, and purity, it is also believed to bring luck in love and mean the return of happiness. This, undoubtedly may be the reason why it is often used in wedding decorations and bridal bouquets. There have been some very famous brides who have incorporated Lily of the Valley into the composition of their bouquets. Kate Middleton, in her 2011 wedding to Prince William, included Lily of the Valley in her bouquet as did her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, when she wed Prince Charles in 1981.

          Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea
          Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea

          I often feature different favorite flowers on my tea tables but I have never featured Lily of the Valley, primarily because it is a short season flower and it is always in bloom during a very busy time of the year for me. This, despite the fact that I have cups and saucers and plates that have Lily of the Valley designs.  So, this year, I decided I would make time for an afternoon tea that features Lily of the Valley and my themed cups and saucers.

          Valley China Cup and Saucer
          Valley China Cup and Saucer

          It’s not necessary to have matching cups and saucers on a tea table. In fact, I think it’s much more interesting to have a variety of China cups and saucers.

          Adderley (England) Lily of the Valley Cup and Saucer
          Adderley (England) Lily of the Valley Cup and Saucer

          Not all afternoon teas have to have three distinct courses – scones, sandwiches, and sweets.  Today, my tea table has only two courses – sandwiches and a single dessert.  In keeping with the freshness of early summer on PEI, I have opted to go with open-faced sandwiches, providing three varieties — Island lobster, egg salad, and ham.

          There are two different trays of sandwiches on the table – the ones with a white bread base (shown in the photo below) are gluten-free.

          Gluten-free Open-faced Tea Sandwiches
          Gluten-free Open-faced Tea Sandwiches

          And, of course, for tea sandwiches, the crusts must always be removed.

          Open-faced Tea Sandwiches
          Open-faced Tea Sandwiches

          The little purple pansy adds a burst of color to the ham sandwich and dresses it up for the table.

          Open-faced Ham Tea Sandwich
          Open-faced Ham Tea Sandwich

          Lobster is very common on PEI and lends itself well for presentation on an open-faced tea sandwich. Can’t you just taste that succulent lobster!

          Open-faced Lobster Tea Sandwich
          Open-faced Lobster Tea Sandwich

          Egg salad makes a wonderful topping for open-faced tea sandwiches.  A burst of purple color from the pansy and the green alfalfa sprouts make these sandwiches stand out on the tray.  I picked up the fresh alfalfa sprouts at the Summerside Farmer’s Market. They were grown locally in Pleasant Valley at “Our Old Island Market Farm”. I frequent both the Charlottetown and Summerside Farmers Markets and I love to make new discoveries of products being produced by our Island farmers.

          Open-faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwich
          Open-faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

          Curious as to what’s in the little white teapots? One of my favorite teas is Assam Banaspaty which I buy at David’s Tea in Charlottetown. That’s the blend in the individual teapots on today’s tea table.

          Individual Tea Pots
          Individual Tea Pots

          Assam Banaspaty is a lovely rich, smooth tea from India. It has some honey notes with malty undertones. It boasts a lovely amber color. I like a spot of milk in my tea and Assam Banaspaty has enough tannins that it can take a splash of milk without the tea’s flavor being smothered. I’d class this as a robust tea yet it is suitable for all courses of an afternoon tea. I am, therefore, serving just one blend of tea at my afternoon tea today.

          Assam Banaspaty Tea
          Assam Banaspaty Tea

          I like tea cups that carry the design to the inside of the cups. It makes them just a bit more interesting.

          Assam Banaspaty Tea
          Assam Banaspaty Tea

          Rhubarb is in season in PEI around the same time as the Lily of the Valley bloom and, of course, one of my all-time favorite desserts is Rhubarb Custard Torte which graces my table for the dessert course today. Sometimes, it is nice to have a variety of dainty tea squares and cookies and, other times, a signature dessert like this torte make a splashy and ever-so-tasty statement.

          Rhubarb Custard Torte
          Rhubarb Custard Torte

          I hope you have enjoyed a little look into the offerings on my tea table today. Can’t you just smell the intoxicating scent of this bouquet of Lily of the Valley!

          Lily of the Valley Bouquet
          Lily of the Valley Bouquet
          Lily of the Valley Themed Afternoon Tea

          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          Beer Barbeque Sauce
          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb and, every year, I develop one or more new recipes using it.  I recently paid a visit to Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown in preparation for a story on this brewery and, lo and behold, they have a strawberry-rhubarb beer. This got me to thinking that I could combine the rhubarb with this beer to make a tasty barbeque sauce which is just what I did!

          Beer Barbeque Sauce
          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          Now, this barbeque sauce takes a little time to make but the end result is so worth it.  Just like making a traditional fine tomato sauce, the key is in letting the sauce simmer to allow the flavors to mix and mingle and get to know each other – very social just like Upstreet’s Rhuby Social beer! The sauce is a mix of savory, tart, and sweet, especially with the addition of crushed pineapple that goes well with rhubarb.

          Beer Barbeque Sauce
          Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          This barbeque sauce is particularly good on pork and chicken but also pairs well with burgers. This is my signature barbeque sauce for this summer.  I use my immersion blender in the sauce but, if you like it more thick and chunky, leave it just as it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

          Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce
          Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          (Printable recipe follows at end of posting)

          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          Ingredients:

          ½ lb rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
          2 tbsp water
          1½ tsp lemon juice
          2-3 tbsp. oil
          ½ cup onion, finely chopped
          3-4 cloves garlic, minced
          ½ cup ketchup
          2 tbsp tomato paste
          2 tbsp Dijon mustard
          ¼ cup maple syrup
          ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
          ¼ tsp cinnamon
          2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
          ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
          ½ tsp salt
          Pinch cayenne
          ¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice
          ½ cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” beer

          Method:

          In medium-sized saucepan, combine rhubarb, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and mushy.

          In separate medium-sized saucepan, heat oil and, over medium heat, sauté onions until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one additional minute, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. Add the cooked rhubarb, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly.

          Add the crushed pineapple and beer.  Cook for apx. 30 minutes longer, stirring regularly to prevent scorching.  Cool.  Purée in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

          Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use on chicken, pork, or burgers.

          Yield: 
          Apx. 2½ cups

          Pin Me to Pinterest!

          Beer Barbeque Sauce
          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

          Yield: Apx. 2 1/2 cups

          Savory and sweet barbeque sauce combines rhubarb, crushed pineapple, and beer to make a tasty sauce for pork, chicken, and burgers.

          Ingredients

          • ½ lb rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
          • 2 tbsp water
          • 1½ tsp lemon juice
          • 2-3 tbsp. oil
          • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
          • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
          • ½ cup ketchup
          • 2 tbsp tomato paste
          • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
          • ¼ cup maple syrup
          • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
          • ¼ tsp cinnamon
          • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
          • ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
          • ½ tsp salt
          • Pinch cayenne
          • ¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice
          • ½ cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” beer

          Instructions

          1. In medium-sized saucepan, combine rhubarb, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and mushy.
          2. In separate medium-sized saucepan, heat oil and, over medium heat, sauté onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. Add the cooked rhubarb, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly. Add the crushed pineapple and beer. Cook for apx. 30 minutes longer, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Cool. Purée in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use on chicken, pork, or burgers.
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          Rhubarb Salsa

          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          I am always developing ideas for ways I can make use of rhubarb. We have a long-established rhubarb patch at the end of the garden that always produces large beautiful red stalks. It was planted circa 1993-94 and is the German Wine variety. Because of its rich red color, it lends itself to colorful dishes. While we freeze lots of rhubarb for winter usage, I try to make good use of it while it is fresh. There’s just something so satisfying in being able to go to the garden to pick a few stalks of rhubarb just as I need them for a dish I am making.

          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          Today, I am sharing the recipe I developed for rhubarb salsa. As you know, there has to be some kind of base for the salsa – something that gives it its bulk, if you will. For example, in many salsas, that tends to be a tomato base. In my recipe, which is a sweet salsa, I am using rhubarb as the base. Use young, thin rhubarb stalks for this recipe.

          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          Rhubarb cooks quickly and can fast become sauce in which case in loses its shape. For this recipe, cook the rhubarb for only about 1 minute (or even less) and then quickly rinse it with cold water to immediately stop the cooking process. The rhubarb should be fork tender and still able to hold its diced shape and not be mushy. Because rhubarb does lose some of its bright color when cooked, I have added some highly colourful fruits and vegetables to make the salsa attractive – i.e., chopped mango, crushed pineapple, red pepper, and red onion.

          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          For sweetener, I have used maple syrup and you can use either plain syrup or a flavoured or infused version.  Any flavour of salsa seasoning available can be used. I don’t personally care for really spicy salsa so I have used the Epicure Brand, “Pico” salsa seasoning, which is a mild flavoring. Likewise, any flavour of balsamic vinegar can be used, even a traditional white balsamic. I have used a honey ginger balsamic vinegar which is available from our local Liquid Gold and All Things Olive store here in Charlottetown as this vinegar flavour works quite well with the other ingredients in this salsa.

          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          This salsa can be used on nachos or as a topping for fish, pork, or chicken. It adds color and flavour to many dishes.

          Rhubarb Salsa on Salmon
          Rhubarb Salsa on Salmon
          Rhubarb Salsa

          Ingredients:

          2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
          ⅔ cup canned crushed pineapple (with juice)
          ⅓ cup red onion, diced
          ¾ cup mango, diced
          ¼ cup red pepper, diced
          Juice of ½ lime
          1 tbsp maple syrup
          1 tbsp honey ginger balsamic vinegar
          Zest of ½ lime
          2 tbsp. Epicure “Pico” salsa mix
          Salt and pepper, to taste
          1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm or cilantro leaves, to taste (optional)

          Method:

          Assemble ingredients.

          Bring 1 cup of water to boil in pot. Add diced rhubarb and cook over medium heat for apx. 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse rhubarb under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and gently pat rhubarb dry with paper towel.

          Combine crushed pineapple, onion, mango, and red pepper in bowl. Add the cooled rhubarb. Stir gently, trying not to break up the rhubarb.

          In small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper.

          Stir in the “Pico” salsa mix.

          Pour over fruit and vegetables and stir gently.

          If desired, add chopped lemon balm or cilantro leaves.

          Refrigerate salsa at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.

          Serve with nachos or as a topping on fish, pork, or chicken.

          Rhubarb Salsa over Salmon
          Rhubarb Salsa over Salmon

          Rhubarb Salsa

          Ingredients

          • 2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
          • 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple (with juice)
          • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
          • ¾ cup mango, diced
          • ¼ cup red pepper, diced
          • Juice of ½ lime
          • 1 tbsp maple syrup
          • 1 tbsp honey ginger balsamic vinegar
          • Zest of ½ lime
          • 2 tbsp. Epicure “Pico” salsa mix
          • Salt and pepper, to taste
          • 1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm or cilantro leaves, to taste (optional)

          Instructions

          1. Bring 1 cup of water to boil in pot. Add diced rhubarb and cook over medium heat for apx. 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse rhubarb under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and gently pat rhubarb dry with paper towel.
          2. Combine crushed pineapple, onion, mango, and red pepper in bowl. Add the cooled rhubarb. Stir gently, trying not to break up the rhubarb.
          3. In small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper. Stir in the “Pico” salsa mix. Pour over fruit and vegetables and stir gently. If desired, add chopped lemon balm or cilantro leaves.
          4. Refrigerate salsa at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.
          5. Serve with nachos or as a topping on fish, pork, or chicken.
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          Rhubarb Salsa
          Rhubarb Salsa

          Rhubarb Relish

          Rhubarb Relish
          Rhubarb Relish

          There is nothing like homemade relish, all natural and no preservatives.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb Relish.  My grandmother made a similar relish every year and, while she served it with many dishes, you could always count on it being on the table with either cold or hot roast pork.

          This is a very versatile relish as it can be used as a spread on sandwiches as it compliments many meats well.  It can also be served over chicken breasts, grilled pork chops, or even fish.  Having this on hand makes meal preparation easy as you don’t have to prepare a sauce from scratch and you don’t need to open a store-bought version that will not have the same taste and is probably full of some kind of preservatives.

          This recipe does not take any unusual ingredients and there are very few steps in the processing.

          My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb Relish

          Ingredients:

          2 cups rhubarb, cut in about 1/2″ pieces
          2 cups onion, chopped
          2 cups brown sugar
          1/2 tsp salt
          1/4 tsp ground cloves
          1/2 tsp cinnamon
          1/4 tsp allspice
          dash cayenne
          1/8 tsp pepper
          1/2 tbsp grated orange rind
          1/2 cup cider vinegar

          Method:

          Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.

          Assemble ingredients.

          In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients.

          Stir.

          Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until mixture reduces and thickens.  Stir occasionally.  Be patient.  This will take at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

          Remove from heat.

          Sterilize jars.  Bottle while relish is still hot.  Seal.  Finger-tip tighten jar lids. Process in hot water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.

          Yield:  Apx. 3 cups

          Rhubarb Relish
          Rhubarb Relish

          Serving Suggestion:

          Grill pork chops.  Plate.  Top pork chop with 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp rhubarb relish.

          Serve with baked potato and favorite vegetable.

          Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots
          Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots

           

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          Rhubarb Relish
          Rhubarb Relish

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          Rhubarb Vinaigrette

          Summertime means lots of fresh salads.  I like to make my own vinaigrettes because they are not full of preservatives and they are easy to make.

          Regular followers of my blog will know that I love the quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils I get from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown, PEI.  I jokingly say I have almost as many varieties in my cupboard as they have in the store!  There are so many combinations of vinegars and oils that each salad dressing is a new adventure and a new flavor.

          This evening I decided to make a Rhubarb Vinaigrette because I have a rhubarb patch in my back yard.  Rhubarb pairs well with citrus and I have a bottle of grapefruit balsamic vinegar and one of mandarin orange infused olive oil.  These three ingredients along with some orange juice are the basis for my salad dressing.

          Rhubarb Vinaigrette

          1 cup rhubarb, sliced
          ¼ cup orange juice
          2 tbsp maple syrup
          2 tsp grapefruit balsamic vinegar
          ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
          1 small green onion, minced
          1 tsp J.J. Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard Sauce
          ¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil
          Pinch of fine sea salt
          ½ tsp minced or puréed garlic (optional)

          Assemble ingredients.

          In small saucepan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Heat over medium heat and cook until rhubarb has completely softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Let cool.  When cool, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture.

          Add the maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice, green onion, mustard, olive oil, sea salt, and garlic (if using). Stir well to combine.

          Serve over your favourite salad. Keep refrigerated in covered bottle for up to 1 week.

          Yield: 1 cup

          For this salad, I used a simple bed of fresh mixed salad greens, slices of pink grapefruit, blueberries, raspberries, red onion, and goats cheese.  I have been growing sprouts this spring so added a handful to add texture, flavor, and appearance to the salad.  A drizzle of the  coral-red colored Rhubarb Vinaigrette added the finishing touch.

          The Rhubarb Vinaigrette is very versatile as it can be used on either a fruit- or vegetable-based salad.

          Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

          There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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          Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
          Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

           

          Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

          Our rhubarb is in full swing on PEI. The photo below is of two crowns of rhubarb I started several years ago so it is quite a mature patch now. It has very deep ruby-red stalks.

          Mature Rhubarb Patch
          Mature Rhubarb Patch

          Rhubarb is so versatile as it can be used in pies, puddings, marmalades, jams, tortes, baked goods, sauces, drinks, and so much more.  And, it freezes well for year-round use.

          Rhubarb and Orange Muffins
          Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

          Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb and Orange Muffins.  I am always looking for uses for rhubarb and, because we have our own patch, it gives me great incentive to be creative.

          For these muffins, I have used grated orange rind and a small amount of orange juice to give a little zest and enhanced flavor to them.  

          Rhubarb pairs very well with citrus fruits.

          The key to using rhubarb in muffins and sweet breads is not to add too much rhubarb as it contains a lot of water and, if too much is used, can make the baked goods somewhat soggy.  I have tested this recipe several times and have concluded that 7 1/4 ounces ( or between 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cups) of diced rhubarb is a good amount to use.

          The other factor to keep in mind is that the rhubarb stalks should be quite thin (about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide) for dicing as opposed to some larger and wider stalks (some of ours grow to be almost 2″ wide).

          Rhubarb Stalks
          Rhubarb Stalks

          While you can split a large rhubarb stalk in half, lengthwise, it does tend to make the rhubarb bleed and the chunks don’t seem to hold their shape as well when baked in the muffins.  You can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb in this recipe.  In fact, I freeze the measured out amount of diced rhubarb in labeled freezer bags so they are ready to be used for muffins throughout the year.

          The streusal topping for these muffins is optional but it does add both flavor and crunchiness to the muffins along with an attractive appearance.

          Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin
          Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin

          To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F.  

          To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. 

          To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. In my rhubarb muffin recipe, I use a preheated 400F oven.  Using the high temperature allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.  This also gives that nice, soft muffin top crust.  We have all seen those flat-topped muffins and they don’t look as appealing as a nicely domed muffin does.

          Rhubarb and Orange Muffin
          Rhubarb and Orange Muffin

          The texture of a good muffin should be somewhat “open” as you don’t want a finely-textured cake batter for muffins.  A good muffin will have a loose, coarse interior crumb.  When mixing the batter, do not overmix as this will cause the muffins to be tough, rubbery, and somewhat heavy.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are barely incorporated.  In fact, in muffins in which I am adding fruit (which gets added last, using the “folding” technique), I don’t completely incorporate all the dry ingredients to the wet because, when the fruit is folded in, the dry ingredients will get further incorporated then.  The batter should be lumpy, not smooth.

          Open, loose crumb texture of muffin
          Open, loose crumb texture of muffin

          The other thing to keep in mind is not to overbake the muffins.  I have found, in my oven, that 18 minutes bakes these rhubarb muffins perfectly but, as you know, every oven is a bit different.  I suggest checking the muffins at about the 15-16 minute mark and, just as soon as they spring back to a light finger touch, remove them from the oven.  Overbaking will result in a dry, unappealing muffin and it only takes a couple of minutes for muffins to be overbaked so keep a close watch on them as they bake.  To double-check doneness, you can also use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.  Let the baked muffins rest in the baking tin for 5-7 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

          My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

          1 cup all-purpose flour
          1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
          ¼ cup rolled oats
          ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
          2 tsp. baking powder
          ½ tsp baking soda
          ½ tsp salt
          ½ tsp cinnamon
          1 tbsp grated orange rind
          1 egg, lightly beaten
          1½ tsp vanilla
          ⅔ cup sour milk
          ¼ cup orange juice
          ¼ cup cooking oil
          7¼ oz finely chopped rhubarb, cut into ¼-inch chunks (about 1½ – 1⅔ cups)

          Method:
          Assemble ingredients.

          Preheat oven to 400°. Grease 12 muffin cups.

          In large bowl, combine first nine (9) ingredients. Mix well. Make a well in the center.

          In separate bowl, combine the egg, vanilla, sour milk, orange juice, and cooking oil. Mix well. Pour into well in dry ingredients. Mix only to barely combine dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

          Gently fold in rhubarb.

          Mix streusal (recipe and instructions follow)

          Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Top with streusel mixture.

          Bake for about 18 minutes, or until muffins spring back to a light touch or a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

          Let muffins stand in baking tin for 5-7 minutes then carefully remove them and transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

          Streusal Topping
          ¼ cup + 2 tbsp flour
          3 tbsp brown sugar
          2 tbsp chopped pecans
          ½ tsp cinnamon
          3 tbsp butter

          Method:
          Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter to make a crumb mixture.

          Spoon over tops of muffins. Bake as described above.


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          Rhubarb and Orange Muffins
          Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

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          Rhubarb Custard Torte

          Rhubarb Custard Torte
          Rhubarb Custard Torte

          The rhubarb in my garden is ready for using.  I am fascinated by how fast it grows.  While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe.

          I have my usual, regular recipes that I make every year with rhubarb and generally try one or two new ones.  One of my all-time favorites is Rhubarb Custard Torte.  We’ve been making this recipe in our family for as long as I can remember.  It’s not overly difficult to make but it does take time since there are three stages to it:  1) the shortbread base; 2) the rhubarb custard filling; and 3) the meringue.

          The most tricky part is making the rhubarb custard and ensuring it doesn’t scorch while it is cooking and thickening.  To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook it at medium-low temperature and stir it constantly.  A couple of other tips when making this recipe are, first, don’t overbake the base as it will become hard and somewhat tough.  Second, when making the meringue, make sure the egg whites, the bowl, and beater are all cold and add the sugar slowly.

          I love the rich, ruby red color of the rhubarb!  Use the brightest red rhubarb you can find as it will give great color to your recipe.

          Rhubarb Custard Torte

          Shortbread Base:
          ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
          1 cup flour
          Pinch salt
          2 tbsp sugar

          Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.

          Lightly spray cooking oil into 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan.

          Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

          Custard Filling:
          1¼ cups sugar
          3½ tbsp flour
          ½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
          3 large egg yolks (reserve whites in refrigerator for the meringue)
          2¼ cups chopped rhubarb

          In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens.

          Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, spread rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.

          Preheat oven to 425°F.

          Meringue:
          3 cold egg whites
          ¼ cup sugar

          In chilled bowl of stand mixer, beat the three egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

          Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered.

          Bake for 7-10 minutes, just until meringue starts to brown.

          Cool completely before serving.

          Yield: 9 servings

          Enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.

          Blood Orange and Rhubarb Sauce for Halibut Steaks

          Blood Orange and Rhubarb Sauce over Halibut Steak served with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Steamed Root Vegetables
          Blood Orange and Rhubarb Sauce over Halibut Steak served with Herb-Roasted Miniature Potatoes and Steamed Root Vegetables

          Every Spring, I freeze bags and bags of rhubarb for recipes to be made through the remainder of the year.  I am always looking for new ways to serve this versatile vegetable.  Living on an island on the East Coast of Canada, fish is readily available.  Sometimes, I like to eat the fish plain, just pan-seared or oven-baked but, other times, I like it dressed up a bit.  Rhubarb and citrus make a nice combination and citrus sauces go well with seafood so my creation includes both rhubarb and citrus fruit.

          It will be another couple of months before we have fresh rhubarb from our garden so I thought it was time to use up some of the remaining frozen rhubarb (or maybe I just needed to have a Spring food because our Winter is getting very tiresome with 2 major snow storms within 3 days this past week).  So, today, I am going to share with you a sauce that I created especially for white fish.  You can use any kind of white fish with this sauce – my choice was the halibut steak because it had enough thickness to it that it would hold together to plate well for presentation and not break into pieces.

          I will tell you, though, that this sauce has a number of steps so it is probably not suitable for weeknights for most of us as it is does take some time to make.  It dresses up fish so would certainly be suitable for a special weekend dinner or for company.  I love the rich red-colored sauce as a contrast to the white fish.  I hope you enjoy.

          Blood Orange and Rhubarb Sauce for Halibut Steaks

          (created by Barbara of My Island Bistro Kitchen)

          1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen

          2 tbsp sugar

          ¼ cup water

           

          Juice of 2 blood oranges (about 2/3 cup juice)

           

          1 tbsp butter

          1 shallot, finely minced (about ¼ cup)

          1 clove garlic, finely minced

          1 tbsp. Liquid Gold Pomegranate Quince balsamic vinegar

          1 tbsp. Pomegranate molasses

          2 tsp. liquid chicken bouillon concentrate mixed in ½ cup hot water

          1 1/2 tsp. blood orange zest

          ¼ tsp. sage

          ¼ tsp. ginger

          1 ½ – 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed in 1 tbsp. cold water to make thickening paste

          Method:

          In saucepan, place the rhubarb, sugar, and ¼ cup water.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until rhubarb has softened.  Push the rhubarb through a sieve to release the juice.  You should have about 1/3 cup of rhubarb juice.  Discard rhubarb pulp.  Set juice aside.

          Making the Rhubarb Juice

          Meanwhile, grate 1 1/2 tsp zest from one blood orange.  Squeeze juice from 2 medium-sized blood oranges and strain through sieve to remove any pith and stones.  In small saucepan, over medium-low heat, reduce the orange juice to about half.  You should have about 1/3 cup of juice after this process.

          Preparing the Blood Orange Juice

          In clean saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the shallot and minced garlic for 3-4 minutes until shallot is translucent.

          Sauté Shallots and Garlic

          Add the rhubarb and orange juices, Pomegranate Quince balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses, chicken stock, orange zest, sage, and ginger.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.

          Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve into clean saucepan to remove any pieces of garlic and onion.  This will make a clean, smooth sauce.  Return mixture to low heat.

          Mix cornstarch with water to make a paste.  Add about 1 tbsp of the hot liquid from the sauce to temper the paste so it will not go lumpy when added to the hot mixture.  Add to saucepan mixture and stir or whisk until thickened to consistency desired.

          Makes enough sauce for 3-4 servings.

          To serve:

          Pan-sear or oven-bake halibut steaks till fish flakes easily.  Plate the fish and pour 1-2 tbsp sauce over each steak.  Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, if desired, and blood orange slices.

          I served the fish with a medley of yellow, red, and blue herb-roasted miniature potatoes, steamed carrots and turnip, and paired this meal with Beringer’s Chardonnay (CA).

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