Category Archives: in the kitchen

recipes I like and my “science experiments”

Simple Recipe for Rhubarb Soda

 

rhubarb plants

My rhubarb plants must really like living here, because they reward me with an abundance of juicy red rhubarb stalks. 

Even though it’s a vegetable, I think most of us equate the tangy flavour with that of fruit.  And it’s that tangy taste that makes it so thirst quenching.  I have a batch of rhubarb wine on the go at the moment, and here is my simple recipe for rhubarb soda.  This recipe makes 2 liters.

Chop 4 cups of rhubarb into about 1/2 inch chunks.  If you’ve got some of last year’s in the freezer, it’s fine to use that.

Dump into a medium saucepan, cover with water and boil until it’s mushy.  Let it cool.

straining pulp

Strain the pulp out of the juice, add 1 heaping cup of white sugar, then top up with water to just under the 2 liter mark.

rhubarb juice amount

Pour the liquid into a large glass jar, add 1/4 cup of whey, ginger-bug juice or sauerkraut juice.  (It’s very important that the whey or sauerkraut juice is natural and unprocessed.)   Cover with a clean cloth held securely with an elastic band and leave at room temperature for about 3 days.  Stir it each morning and evening, then taste the juice on the spoon.  When most of the sweetness is gone it’s ready to bottle. It’s almost Rhubarb Soda!   (During the summer this takes less time than it does in the winter.)

rhubarb soda

To  finish your Rhubarb Soda, use a funnel and pour into a large plastic 2 liter soda bottle.  Leave about 1 1/2 inches of head space.  Tighten the lid and leave out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.  You’ll know it’s ready when you can’t squeeze the bottle because it’s so firm.  Refrigerate then open carefully.  It will continue to ferment in the fridge, so don’t leave it much longer than a few days.

You can also bottle your rhubarb soda into smaller plastic soda bottles.  I don’t use glass after one exploded.  The plastic bottles make it easy to tell when it’s ready.

glass of rhubarb soda

 Here are links to my other rhubarb recipes:

Loving Lovage

In my garden, lovage is the first edible green to appear.lovage lovage

Well, not counting the dandelions and stinging nettles.

What is Lovage?

Lovage belongs to the parsley family, and its seeds, leaves, and roots are commonly used in Europe for flavoring foods and beverages and for their medicinal properties. The Romans, who introduced lovage to Europe, used it widely in their cooking as well as to reduce fevers and treat stomach ailments. Germans called it maggikraut because its aroma reminded them of maggi cubes (meaty yeast extracts). Today it is popular in South and Central European cuisines. Learn more about Lovage by clicking here.

It’s a perennial that grows to well over 6 feet tall in my garden.  The only care I give it is water and weeding.lovage

While the leaves are still young and tender I make a fermented pesto using the same recipe as my cilantro pesto.

I just substitute the lovage for the cilantro.  It’s delicious spooned over tomato halves grilled on the BBQ.

cilantro pesto

 Yesterday I made Lovage and Potato soup, and it’s delicious!

lovage and potato soup

It’s a simple combination of onions, garlic, potatoes, lovage and chicken stock along with a bit of seasoning.  I searched the internet for recipe ideas, and many of them required a “bunch” of lovage. 

lovage

My “bunch” is 6 leafy stems about 12 inches long.

Lovage Potato Soup
Serves 8
A delicious and simple to make soup
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  4. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut up into 1/8ths
  5. 2 quarts or liters of chicken stock or broth
  6. 1 "bunch" of lovage, coarsely chopped (save a few leaves to garnish)
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. 2 teaspoons salt (my broth is unsalted) adjust if needed
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 cup yogurt, greek yogurt or sour cream
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter. Use your soup pot, why wash a fry-pan? When they're soft, add the potatoes and chicken broth, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
  2. Boil gently until the potatoes are almost done, then add the chopped lovage.
  3. Continue to cook until the potatoes are cooked.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and add the yogurt.
  5. Blend carefully until smooth using an immersion blender or a counter top blender.
  6. Serve with chopped lovage leaves as a garnish.
Notes
  1. I had a few bits of cooked chicken remaining from the broth I made, so I added it after blending.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

Banana, Pear, Clementine Blender Muffins

What do you bake when you have hungry guys around, and a basket of fast ripening fruit?

Muffins! And a loaf!

Into the blender went 2 peeled ripe bananas, 2 cored, washed, but not peeled pears, and 4 washed clementines, peel and all.  I did cut them in half in case they had seeds, most do not, but I wanted to be sure.

IMG_3283

Whir, whir, whir, made 2 1/2 cups.  Add more fruit if needed, the 2 1/2 cups is important.  Add the oil, a couple of eggs, then the sugar.

All the other ingredients are mixed in a large bowl, then the contents of the blender dumped in.

Stir, stir, stir, just enough to mix the ingredients, no dry spots, but lumps are fine.

I half filled 12 muffin cups and 1 loaf pan, baked at 375 .

IMG_3288

Yum, yum, yum.

Banana Pear Clementine Blender Muffins
Serves 24
Tender moist muffins made with pureed fresh fruit
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe bananas, peeled
  2. 2 ripe pears, washed, cored and quartered
  3. 4 clementines, washed and halved. Remove any seeds
  4. 1/2 cup veg oil (I used avocado)
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 cup sugar (I used white)
  7. 3 1/2 cups flour (I used white all purpose)
  8. 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  10. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  11. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  12. 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Puree the fruit in the blender, you need 2 1/2 cups. Add more or less fruit to get that quantity.
  3. Add the oil, eggs and sugar, and blend some more. The blender will be pretty full.
  4. In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour the contents of the blender into the dry ingredients and stir only until there are no dry spots. Lumps are fine.
  6. 1/2 fill paper lined or silicone muffin pan. I used 12 large muffin cups and used the remaining batter in a greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake around 30 minutes for muffins and 45 minutes for loaf. They're done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

Organic Black Rice Salad, gluten, soy and dairy free

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday, Merry Christmas.

I went to a pot-luck lunch last week, and knew a friend of mine was going too.  She has food allergies, so I wanted to bring something she could eat.  I made a rice salad using organic black rice, and it was soooooooooo good! 

Black rice has a long history, here’s a link if you’d like to read about it.

black organic rice
black organic rice

I have no pictures of the salad, sorry.  The next time I make it, and I will, I’ll add some pictures.  I got my rice at our local Bulk Barn, but I’m going to check to see if Natural Sequence here in Trenton carries it.

Here’s my recipe:

Black Rice Salad
Serves 6
A tasty rice salad that's gluten, soy and dairy free
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup black organic rice
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/4 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  5. 1/2 small onion, finely shopped
  6. 2 tablespoons honey, the real stuff
Instructions
  1. Bring the rice to a boil and cook until soft. It will turn a beautiful purple colour as it cooks. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  2. Add the vinegar, onion and honey while the rice is still warm, stir well, then refrigerate until it's time to serve.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

 

Velvety Carrot Ginger Soup (lactose free option)

I love making soup! 

Most of my soups, though, have come about by a need to use up wilted vegetables from the fridge.  Then, anything within reason goes into the soup pot, along with my homemade bone broth.

Yesterday was different.

I wanted carrot soup.  Creamy carrot soup.  And ginger.

Velvety Carrot Ginger Soup

So, I started by melting a lump of butter in my large pot.  (You could use bacon fat or olive oil instead.)  I added 8 small onions, peeled and quartered, as well as 8 cloves of garlic, halved.  I stirred them around until they were soft, but not browned, then added 3 large peeled and chopped carrots, a large peeled and chopped sweet potato, and a couple of heaping tablespoons of grated ginger.  A liter of water, some salt and pepper, simmered for about 45 minutes until everything was tender.  After cooling a bit, I used my immersion blender (which I despise) to puree everything in the pot.  (You could use a blender or food processor.)

Heat back up to serve, and add a dollop of butter, sour cream or yogurt to garnish, unless you avoid dairy.

It turned out really good!

here’s the recipe:

Velvety Carrot Ginger Soup (lactose free option)
Serves 6
A velvety smooth carrot ginger soup easily adapted to lactose free.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter, or bacon fat or olive oil
  2. 8 small, 4 medium or 2 large onions
  3. 8 cloves of garlic
  4. 3 large carrots
  5. 1 large sweet potato
  6. 2 heaping tablespoons of grated fresh ginger root
  7. 1 liter of water
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. butter, sour cream or yogurt for garnish (omit for lactose free)
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions and garlic, then cook until slightly soft, but not browned.
  3. Add the peeled and chopped carrots and sweet potato, grated ginger and the water.
  4. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the vegies are soft.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool a bit.
  6. Blend using an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Reheat and dish out, garnishing each bowl with a dollop of butter, sour cream or yogurt.
Notes
  1. I didn't bother to peel the ginger. This soup freezes really well, so make lots while the carrots are abundant.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

Zucchini Orange Blender Loaves

Here’s another blender inspired loaf recipe for you to try. 

It was started by my friend Suzanne who has a garden.  And an overdose of zucchini.  zucchini

I got my trusty blender out, (thanks again Oster) and started chopping zucchini.  With the blender running, I dropped a quartered orange, then chunks of zucchini at room temperature through the hole in the lid until I had 2 cups.

Why room temperature you ask?  Because mine were cold from the fridge, and when I added the melted lard to the cold zucchini it hardened in the blender and wouldn’t blend.  Drat!

So then I added the lard, egg, vanilla and sugar and mixed it all together well.  The blender was pretty full.

All the other ingredients got measured into a bowl, then the contents of the blender were poured in and mixed. 

Divided into 2 loaf pans, into the oven, and yummmmmy.

orange zucchini blender loafOne for now and the other went into the freezer.

here’s the recipe:

Zucchini Orange Blender Loaves
Yields 2
Easy way to use up extra zucchini
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 washed orange, including the peel, but no seeds, at room temperature.
  2. chopped zucchini
  3. 1 cup vegetable oil (I used melted lard)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla
  6. 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  11. 3 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
Instructions
  1. Put the quartered orange then enough chopped zucchini to equal 2 cups when blended. Use the measure lines on your blender. Add oil and blend to mix.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla and brown sugar to the blender and mix slowly. Your blender will probably be full.
  3. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon to the flour in a large bowl. Pour in the blender mix and mix well. Divide between 2 foil lined loaf pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees, 50 to 55 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a rack.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

Banana Carrot Nutmeg Blender Loaf

So what do you make with a couple of ripe bananas and a carrot?   Cake of course! Or a loaf.banana carrot nutmeg blender loaf slice

Get out your trusty blender. 

(By the way, mine is part of an Oster Kitchen Center gifted to me more than 35 years ago, used often, and it’s still going strong.) Oster can you hear me?

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, soda, salt and nutmeg.

Peel the bananas and the carrot, chop a bit and toss into the blender.  Add the eggs, oil, sour cream and sugar.  Blend until smooth, it might look a bit curdled.

Pour over the dry ingredients, stir, and bake.

Banana Carrot Nutmeg Blender Loaf
Serves 16
Moist, tasty, and easy
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional if using salted butter)
  4. 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg (or 3 if you love nutmeg, too)
  5. 2 ripe bananas
  6. 1 large or 2 medium, or a handful of baby carrots
  7. 1 cup sour cream, yogurt, or dairy kefir (I used kefir)
  8. 1/2 cup melted butter, lard, liquid vegetable oil or coconut oil (I used lard)
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 cup granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, soda and nutmeg.
  3. Blend the peeled bananas, carrot(s), eggs, sour cream and oil until it's liquid.
  4. Add the sugar and blend some more.
  5. Pour into the dry ingredients, mix just until combined, and pour into a greased loaf pan. (Mine is 12" x 4")
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top bounces back when touched lightly and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a rack, then slice to serve.
Adapted from my other blender cakes
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

 

Fermented Cilantro Pesto

 

IMG_2854

  Got cilantro? 

I leave enough in the garden each year and it self-seeds.  So yes, I have cilantro!

Then, if you leave it too long it becomes coriander.So, while it’s still leafy, I make a fermented cilantro pesto.  Bring out the food processor, and put in:

7-8  cups of loosely chopped cilantro, leaves, stems and all.

3 garlic cloves, peeled.

1 jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds if you want it mild.

1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1  1/2  teaspoons sea salt

 IMG_2858

In a food processor, finely chop cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, pumpkin seeds and salt. Add brine as needed for consistency. Keep at it until you have a smooth paste.

IMG_2859

2% brine, as needed (note on brine; 1 tablespoon of fine, pure sea salt in 1 liter of water makes a 2% brine.  I keep a jar of this in my fridge)

Pack this into a jar, and top with just enough brine to cover, then top with a plastic bag partly filled with water to hold the pesto under the liquid.  Check daily and push the pesto down with a clean spoon (or your fingers) to push out the bubbles that form. 

IMG_2860

 

Top with a bit of brine and the washed off plastic bag with water in it. I taste my ferments every day, and in the warm temps of this week, it was ready in 4 days. 

Store in the fridge.

What do I do with it?  Last night I grilled tomatoes cut in half along the equator and spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the pesto on the top of each before putting them on the BBQ.  mmmmmmmmmm

 

Blender Strawberry Tube Cake

It had to happen.  My Blender Orange Rhubarb Cake was a hit.   So, what’s next?   A Strawberry Social at the Trenton Garden Club, and “please bring a dessert”.

strawberry cake

It probably should have strawberries in it.  And I wanted to make another blender cake.

So here’s what happened;

I searched out a tube cake recipe with lots of pureed fruit as my base, and changed a lot of the flavours to suit my needs.

1 pound of strawberries, blended, makes 2 cups.  Perfect. 

blended liquids

A bit of lemon zest to accent the berries, eggs, oil, vanilla, zoom zoom, add the sugar and dump into the already mixed dry ingredients.

liquid and dryDump, stir, spoon into a greased tube pan and bake. It smells and tastes heavenly, and is nice and moist.   Does it get any easier?  AND, it’s a “scratch cake”.

finished strawberry cake 2

Would you like to make it, too?  Here’s my recipe:

Blender Strawberry Tube Cake
Serves 12
An easy "scratch cake" flavoured with fresh strawberries.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 cups pureed strawberries (about 1 pound)(could substitute frozen, undrained)
  6. Zest of 1 lemon
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  9. 1 cup granulated sugar
  10. 1 cup lard or veg shortening, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Hull the strawberries and puree in the blender.
  5. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, blending well.
  6. Add the sugar, blend, then the lard/vegetable shortening.
  7. It will look a bit curdled, that’s ok.
  8. When all is blended, pour into the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Lumpy is fine.
  9. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly.
  10. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove cake from pan by inverting it onto a wire rack.
  13. Cool cake completely.
  14. Dust cake with confectioners sugar if desired.
Notes
  1. This is another super easy cake that's easy on clean-up.
SewWhatYvette? http://www.sewwhatyvette.com/

Fermented Greens

We went out of town for 3 days, and came home to a garden full of “greens”.  Swiss Chard, Rapini, Radish tops and Lambs Quarters. 

I picked a basket full!  The sink was full!  And that’s not counting the cilantro.  More about that tomorrow.

I chopped off the stems of the chard, and set the rapini and radish tops aside for tonight’s dinner.  The remaining leaves were washed well and dumped into this large bowl.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of pickling salt over the top and then used my hands to massage the salt into the greens, bruising them as I worked.  they quickly shrunk.

IMG_2841Then I “match-sticked” an inch of ginger-root and added it, as well as a teaspoon of ground chili peppers.

IMG_2843Can you see the liquid coming out of the greens?

IMG_2844Mix that all together and stuff into an appropriately sized jar.

IMG_2847 (My sink-full shrunk down to a 500 ml jar)

IMG_2849Use another jar to hold the greens under the brine, and let it sit in a comfortably warm spot for a few days.  Mine generally  go for 3 days.  Watch out for fruit flies, I have no idea where they came from, but they found it.  Yuk!!!!!

I taste my ferments every day, and can always tell when they’re ready by the taste.   Full, salty, mmmmmmmm.

Do you ferment?