HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins from Fine Cooking Magazine


        

Rhubarb season, like asparagus season, is eagerly awaited at our house.  Andrew cannot wait to get his hands on the slender red and green stalks and get into the kitchen to bake. The first rhubarb of the season is always preferable to what comes later:  The thicker the stalks, the tougher and stringier the rhubarb. This may account for the love it or hate it reputation rhubarb has.  Notoriously tart, its natural companion is sugar to compensate for the bite.  These muffins however are not overly sweet, the Sour cream added to the batter keeps them that way.  The cinnamon gives them an irresistible scent.
         Botanically rhubarb is a vegetable. But in 1947 a court in New York ruled, in a burst of judicial clarity, that since it was used as a fruit in the US, it should be counted as a fruit for “purposes of regulations and duties”.   Since tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits, the net effect of this ruling was that rhubarb was cheaper to import.  Despite having been grown in China for at least 2700 years and being brought to Europe by Marco Polo, rhubarb has only been grown in this country since about 1820. It was brought to Maine and Massachusetts by European settlers and moved westward from there.   If you do grow your own rhubarb –which is relatively easy to do as it’s a hardy perennial--note that only the stalks are edible. The leaves in fact are poisonous. Here’s the recipe for this wonderful seasonal treat, best served warm which can easily be accomplished by re-heating them at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Asparagus for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

  
         To say that I’m a fan of our local Long Island asparagus is the definition of an understatement.  I really cannot get enough of the stuff.  It’s a fixture in our refrigerator for as long as it lasts.  The asparagus I am particularly attached to is grown at Tom Falkowski’s farm which is right over the hill from our house.  This year, the ground was still frozen well into April so the asparagus was late in coming to the Falkowski’s farm stand, Country Garden.  But now that it’s there and not likely to remain nearly as long as I’d like, I’ve taken every advantage of it.  I’ve sought recipes that use it differently from the twelve other asparagus recipes I’ve blogged about before.  So if, by any chance, today’s offerings don’t please your palate, please feel free to use the Search function on the left side of the page and peruse to your hearts content.   But if you stay here, I’ll show you how to put a Spanish take on the vegetable and making it a hearty breakfast or brunch option or even a breakfast-for-dinner option, how to transform it into a dinner curry and finally I’ll show you Tyler Florence’s cooking technique that puts the stalks in a paper bag and cooks then perfectly in the oven. So here goes: