Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I had a mad craving for some New York style crumb cake last week.  I obsessed over the idea for like, five days.  Which is weird since that’s about as much time as I’ve ever actually spent in NYC.  And whilst there I didn’t even have any crumb cake.  Hmmm.

Anyway… so this post is about the crumb cake, but more than that, it’s about this.

Rhubarb.  My most beloved vegetable-that-we-eat-like-a-fruit.  It grows well here in NWPA so we have several plants in our garden.  They come back every year and need very little care (my favorite kind of plant).

Have you ever gone to buy fresh rhubarb in the spring at the grocery store?  I don’t know how much it is where you are but around here it costs $6/pound.  (!!!) And it’s only available once in a while.  I don’t get why everyone doesn’t just grow their own.

Unless you are one of those people who’ve never had it or think you don’t like it.  I’ve come across you folk before.  I know.  It looks like celery.  And yes, the leaves are poisonous.  But it is a thing of beauty, a true sign of spring and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will follow in it’s wake.  Made into a crisp, a pie, a cobbler, a coffee cake, it is sweet and tart and with a flavor all it’s own.  It goes delightfully with strawberries, raspberries, even apples.  I love it best on it’s own though.  Rhubarb pie is actually my favorite “fruit” pie.

My rhubarb in my garden often doesn’t get red.  Contrary to what you may read, there is nothing wrong with green rhubarb.  It just looks dreadful when baked into a pie with nothing else to redden it up.  Very soon, I’ll be putting up my strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.  But anyway, today, as you can see, I had some beautiful red rhubarb to pull out of my garden so I did.

First, mix up your dry ingredients.  To 140 grams of our gluten free flour blend we’re going to add 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Whisk that all up and set it aside.

Next, in your mixer, combine 1/4 cup of oil with 1/2 cup of sugar.  Add an egg…

…1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  (Blue nails!  Yikes!)

Turn the mixer down to low and add in the dry ingredients slowly.  Your batter will look like this when you’re done.

Spread the batter into a greased 8″x8″ pan.

Next, we’re going to chop up 2 cups of rhubarb and add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sugar (you really don’t need more in this case since we’re going to cover the whole thing in sugary crumbs in a second here), and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.  I had no idea until recently how well ginger suits rhubarb!  Cinnamon is wonderful too if you’re averse to ginger.

Toss that around until it’s all nice and coated and sprinkle it over the top of the batter.

Finally, let’s make the crumb topping.  Melt a stick of butter in a bowl and add 1/3 cup brown sugar (this is dark brown but you can use light if that’s what you have on hand), 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Once this is combined, you can start working in 250 grams of flour (whatever kind you use!).

It makes a fairly solid dough.  Now, the fun part.  Grab roughly equal size hunks of your ball of dough and put them all over the top of your beautiful rhubarb.  You can go as big or small as you like with the crumbs.  Your choice!

I left mine kinda big as you can see.  This is straight out of the (325 degree) oven about 45 minutes later.  The house smells AMAZING.

We totally didn’t wait until it was cool to cut into it.  Nom.  Sweet and tart and buttery.  This cake is soft and fragrant – such a wonderful early summer treat.  We ate it for dessert one night and then again for breakfast the next morning.  It’s versatile like that 😀

You know it’s going to come to this.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

(cake adapted from Ina Garten, crumb topping adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For the cake:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 extra large egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

140 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 cup of regular wheat flour)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp salt

For the rhubarb filling:

2 cups sliced rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

a stick of butter, melted

250 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 3/4 cups regular wheat flour)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan.

For the cake – in a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer or a whisk – whatever you’ve got), mix the oil and sugar on medium speed.  Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.

Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides to make sure it’s all incorporated.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth.

Combine sliced rhubarb, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger.  Toss to coat and spread in an even layer over the batter.

For the crumbs – combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with melted butter until homogenous.  Mix in flour until you have a fairly solid dough.  Tear off roughly equal size nuggets (you can really go as small or big as you like with the crumbs) to cover the rhubarb.

Bake about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool before cutting into.

Serves 9-12.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cakes, Desserts

Mango Salsa

I don’t think I ever had a mango until about five years ago.  And if you would have asked me then I would have said something to the effect of, “Mangoes are a love it or hate it kind of food.”  Wegmans says on their signs that mangoes taste like a cross between a peach and a pineapple.  I remember thinking, “Yep.  That pretty much says it all.”

I wasn’t a fan.

But over the years I kept coming across recipes calling for mangoes.  They’re actually the most popular fruit in the world.  Did you know that?  Not here in the U.S., certainly.  But there are a whole lotta people around the globe that love these peculiar, sweet, large-pitted fruits.

I first fell in love with them when I had some Mango Sticky Rice at a block party downtown a few years ago.  A very simple Thai dish of sweetened coconutty rice with slices of mango served on top – it’s one of my favorite side dishes to bring to a party for it’s ease of prep and “wow” factor.

I had actually planned on doing a whole bunch of recipes with mango since I bought a crate of beautiful Champagne Mangoes at Sam’s Club last week.  Also known as Atualfo Mangoes, they are smaller and have a softer, less fibrous texture than the regular ones.

(I just wiktionaried the plural of “mango”.  Apparently both “mangos” and “mangoes” are correct but I have always intuitively spelled it the British English way.  I was so tickled by this mundane bit of info I had to share :p)

So anyway, here is my new favorite thing to do with them.  Great for parties, healthy, easy to prepare, and impressive to folks used to eating boring old tomato salsa out of a jar.

Here are the elements – 3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 of the bigger ones), pitted and chopped (we’re just going to pretend that my mangoes are not on the verge of going bad…), some finely chopped red onion (about 1/3 cup – not a whole onion), a handful of fresh cilantro, half of a jalapeno pepper (or a whole one if you like things really hot), seeded and finely minced, 1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of one fresh lime), and a good size pinch of salt.

Here is a video showing one method for cutting a mango.  Also – remember to handle jalapenos with great care.  Wear gloves if you have them.  Just a little bit of juice in the eye will burn for hours.

Chop and mix it all up and you have a fresh, wonderfully flavorful salsa.  It’s sweet, spicy, refreshing, and goes magnificently with salty tortilla chips.  It may just make a mango convert out of you.

Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 regular ones), pitted, skinned, and chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced

a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 fresh lime if you have it on hand)

a pinch of salt

Instructions:

Mix and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 cups of salsa

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Filed under Party Fare, Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc.