Monday, May 30, 2011

Rhubarb- Finally

Here's the link to my recent appearance:

I appeared on KARE11 Today on Friday and we talked about rhubarb. It's late this year in Minnesota but is now arriving at the farmer's markets. In Scandinavian Classic Baking iI've included three recipes with rhubarb.

Scandinavian Classic Baking includes three rhubarb recipes

Blueberry Rhubarb Muffins

Rhubarb Cake with Lemon Butter Sauce

Rhubarb Tarts

Here's the recipe I demonstrated on TV.

Rhubarb Cake with Lemon Butter Sauce

Tender bright red stalks of rhubarb are available in the spring and early summer. During the rest of the year, you can purchase frozen rhubarb but the stalks are usually thick. Chop frozen stalks so the sharp tangy fruit flavor is evenly distributed. For a rich buttery sauce like this, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Makes 9 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar +1 tablespoon, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and butter and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rhubarb. Pour into the prepared pan.

Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon in a small dish. Sprinkle over the batter.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly on a wire cooling rack.

Make the sauce. Combine the sugar, butter and whipping cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve the sauce warm or refrigerate until needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Typical Tuscan Dinner

Our first night in "our" Tuscan villa near San Casciano in Val de Pesa, Judy Witts Francini catered our dinner. We started with cheese, crackers, a plate of salami and marinated olives out on the terrace. The view was just what you think Tuscan looks like, vineyards running across the hill, San Casciano perched on top of the closest ridge and an ancient tower highlighted in the setting sun. We had all spent a few days in different parts of Italy before meeting at the villa so we had lots of catching up to do.

The dinner exceeded our expectations. Our first course was Crespelle filled with spinach and ricotta. Crespelle are crepes that are traditionally served around Easter. Bright red cherry tomatoes, wild arugula and shave Parmesan was the perfect salad that followed. Judy drizzled local olive oil and balsamic vinegar (the thick syrupy kind) for a dressing.

We liked the balsamic, Judy suggested we go to the CO-OP where it is sold. We emptied the shelves- it was such a good buy.

By the time for the secondi, we decide to keep it for another meal and skipped to dessert. The panna cotta was made with heavy cream and served with fresh local berries. The berries everywhere in Italy tasted like the local berries that appear so briefly in Minnesota.

The perfect start to an extraordinary week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Italian Adventure

I've just returned home from 2 weeks in Italy, having eaten pasta at almost every dinner. Of course it was freshly made and cooked perfectly.

Our first stop was Venice and after arriving overnight from the U.S. we we're looking for much dinner, but wanted to reset our internal time clocks so a light meal seemed in order.

After walking along the calles and canals, we stopped at a Venician osteria or wine bar. Because it was a sunny and warm day we decided to eat canal side. Venetian wine bars serve wine by the glass and small appetizers called cichetti. Our plastic glasses of house wines were 2 Euros each (less than $ 3.) Cicchetti were 1 Euro each.

We selected cicchetti by pointing to what we wanted in a bakery case. Our favorite was the smoked salmon with horseradish cream and fresh dill. We also tried a baccala puree (salt cod), sily gorgonzola with a walnut garnish, a slice of cheese and liver pate. All of the choices were served on crostini. We set our plate on the wall along the canal and sipped our wine watching the busy osteria and finding in hard to believe we were in Venice.