Posts tagged homestead

Four Rhubarb Jams with a Twist

Making your own jam enables you to move beyond the expected, like mixing rhubarb with ginger, lavender, or even balsamic vinegar. Here are four simple rhubarb preserves recipes interspersed with scenes from the heather garden in Fort Tryon Park.

Lavender Rhubarb
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of local honey
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoons of lavender flowers, placed in tea infuser

Place all ingredients in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Discard lavender. Spoon jam into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Place lavender flowers in tea infuser.
(Does it look like there’s a baby in this flower?)

Ginger Rhubarb

(Slight variation from Lavender Rhubarb)
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of local honey
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoons of finely ground ginger

Place all ingredients in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Balsamic Vanilla Rhubarb
Inspired by Delectable Musings
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
Dash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients except for balsamic vinegar in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Add balsamic and return to boil for five minutes more. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Rhubarb Orange
Slightly adapted from Ball Home Preserving
2 oranges (nope, not local)
5 cups of finely chopped rhubarb
1 package of natural fruit pectin
3-4 cups of sugar

Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from one orange and cut into very thin slivers. Squeeze juice from both orange and add water until filling one cup. Combine orange juice, orange peel, juice, and pectin and whisk until dissolved. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar and return to boil, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from one orange.

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Roasted Asparagus with Rhubarb Sauce

There comes a moment in late April when the earth seems to rustle from a cold, white winter. A pair of my favorite spring signals—asparagus and rhubarb—recently appeared at the farmers market. Here is one way to marry them in a dish, served with warm cornbread.
Roasted Asparagus with Rhubarb Sauce

Inspired by a handful of sources
Serves 4 and costs about $6

1 pound or so of asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
4-5 stalks of rhubarb, diced
1 tablespoon of local honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus in an even layer in tin foil and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the foil around the asparagus, creating a tent with a small opening in the top if you’d like. Roast on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

As asparagus roasts, melt butter in skillet over medium heat until it caramelizes. Add garlic, ginger, and rhubarb, cover pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in honey and lower heat.

Remove asparagus from oven and divide stalks on plates. Spoon rhubarb sauce over asparagus, and add a dash of salt or pepper, if you’d like.
Rhubarb stalks may be red or green, and frequently somewhere in between.
Skillet Corn Bread
Adapted from Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook
Makes one skillet and costs about $5

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon local honey
2 eggs
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven while preparing the batter. (Do this step first if making with asparagus recipe.) Whisk together all dry ingredients in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients (including honey) in a small bowl.

Remove skillet from oven and add butter. Add sizzling butter to wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the batter into the hot skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Oven mates: roasted asparagus and skillet cornbread.
I’ve read that asparagus is costly because it must be harvested by hand. Conjures a handsome image of farmers stepping lightly near hedgerows. After you’ve purchased your bundle of asparagus, eat it quickly, as its flavor begins to flatten immediately.

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Simple Granola

Good morning. My standpoint on mornings falls somewhere between these two quotes:

“Mine was the twilight and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs.” ―Roman Payne

“The morning always has a way of creeping up on me and peeking in my bedroom windows. The sunrise is such a pervert.”
―Jarod Kintz

Wherever you may land, enjoy this simple granola.
Simple Granola
Adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 9 cups and costs about $8

1/3 cup local maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
Few dashes of salt
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped (use an apple corer)
2-3 cups of dried fruit, like cranberries

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk syrup or honey, brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Add oats and almonds and mix well.

Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into thin layer, and compress with back of spatula. Bake 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, cool, and break into pieces. Stir in dried fruit.
Use apple corer to crush almonds.


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Halloween Blizzard Apple Pancake

As you may have heard, the Northeast endured a freak Nor’easter last Saturday. The view from my apartment window briskly convinced me to cancel all plans for the afternoon.

View out apartment window
Instead, I brewed a pot of coffee, fired up the iPod, and spent the late morning in the kitchen. The best dish for an autumn brunch is an Apple Pancake. I’ve tried a few variations of this in the past, but this time (inspired by The Kitchn) takes the…pancake.

Apple Pancake
Serves four and costs about $8

3 large or 4 medium apples of your choice
4 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of milk
5 medium eggs
Just under 3/4 cup of flour
1/4 salt
Dash of nutmeg
About a teaspoon of cinnamon
Dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Core and chop apples, leaving skin on. Melt butter in an oven-safe skillet, add brown sugar and apples, and gently stir. Sprinkle with three tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Place the skillet in the oven:
Step one of Apple Pancake
Whisk flour, one tablespoon of sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly add milk and vanilla. When combined, add eggs to batter:
Step two of Apple Pancake
Remove skillet from oven and take in a deep smell of goodness. Pour batter over the apple mixture and return to oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.
Step three of Apple Pancake
After the swirling scents of nutmeg and sugar dissipate, here’s a quick and simple option for a light lunch:  roasted butternut squash soup with a side of roasted cauliflower.

Peel and chop one butternut squash and place in a 8x12 baking dish. Peel away greens, wash and chop one head of cauliflower and add to the baking dish. Top with 1/2 chopped onion and drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil and seasonings to taste (be sure to include cayenne pepper). Roast at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove butternut squash from dish and transfer to a food processor. Add a few chunks of Parmesan cheese to the cauliflower and return to oven. Pour about 1/2 cup of milk to the butternut squash and carefully puree. Pour the butternut puree into a saucepan and heat through. Remove cauliflower from oven and serve.

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Apples to Apples

Apple treeOn a recent rainy Saturday, I squeezed into a cozy zipcar with four other Manhattanites, and headed to the Hudson Valley. Destination: Masker Orchards for an afternoon of apple picking. I’m always surprised by how quickly the towering gray skyscrapers of the city are overthrown by soaring tress of green. Add to the mix just a blush of autumn orange, and you have yourself a lovely afternoon.

In the orchardsWe pulled off the interstate and surged up a bucolic/muddy path and parked the rental. After long, wonderstruck gazes in every direction and a few “you’ve gotta be kidding me” proclamations to the Hudson Valley, we filled our lungs with fresh, cool air and headed for the trees. There is something incredibly simple, yet thrilling, about trafficking an orchard. The act of snatching a Macintosh from its bulky branch or smacking on a McCowen dripping in dew is surprisingly amusing.

Bag of applesWith our bags bursting with our bounty, we headed back to a drizzly city and parted ways.

Now, what to do with all of the apples?

Answer:  Apple pie. Apple rings. Apply chutney. Apple sauce. Apple butter.

I spent a large portion of the next afternoon improvising in my New York kitchen. I can’t remember if I’ve ever made apple pie, so I took a good look at couple of recipes (including this one) that looked easy enough to produce. Turned out pretty well. Here’s a taste:

Apple pie

Apple ringsThe apple rings were the easiest…if you have a food dehydrator. Slice four apples and toss in a bowl of water with a few splashes of lemon or lime juice. After 10-15 minutes, layer them on the dehydrator trays, sprinkle cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and process at 135 degrees for about 4 hours.

You can even make them in your oven, but it takes much longer.

Apple chutneyApple Chutney

2 pounds of apples
1 pound of onion
Seasonings as desired (get creative here)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white vinegar

Wash, peel (if you’d like), core, and chop apples. Toss in a saucepan with chopped onion and seasonings and bring to gentle boil. After a few minutes, add brown sugar and vinegar and continuing gently boiling to taste.

Refrigerate or freeze for later. Chutney is great cold or warm, and is a good accompaniment to meats or potatoes.

Apple sauceApple Sauce

16 apples
4 pears
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon of butter
Cinnamon, nutmeg to taste

Wash, core, and cut apples into quarters, leaving the peel on some or all of the apples. Wash, peel, and chop pears. Throw apples and pears in a large sauce pan or soup kettle and fill it just below halfway with water. Cook over medium heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and add brown sugar, honey, butter, and seasonings. Cook for 15-30 minutes more until you reach desired consistency. Discard larger peels if desired. Spoon sauce into jars and refrigerate or freeze.

Middle Lane

Apple Butter

15-20 apples
4 cups of sugar
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste

Wash, peel, core, and cut apples into quarters. Throw apples in a large sauce pan and add 2 cups of water. Cook over medium-low heat until apples soften. If you’d like, transfer apples to food processor and gently pulse. Carry apple pulp back to pan and add remaining ingredients, cooking over low heat until you reach desired consistency.

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