Monday, May 17, 2010

Rhubarb-a-Ritas!!!

We have a Rhubarb plant...
Every spring, we get at least three large harvests from our wonderful pie-plant!
This year, i thought we could do something beyond pies or crisps or stewed toppings for ice-cream.

  So I chopped up about 8 stalks and simmered it in a simple syrup concoction (1 part sugar to 2 parts water - this batch used 4 cups of sugar and 8 cups water). Simmer this until the rhubarb seems to have fallen apart and is just a globby bit of green. 
Strain the syrup from the rhubarb bits and bottle. 
.
We got about 3 liters (see the discombobulated rhubarb remains behind the bottles?)

Jon made "Rubarb-A-Ritas"
2 double shots of tequila, a cup of the rhubarb syrup, and enough ice to cover the liquid in the blender. 
WHIRRRRRRR
Pour into a martini glass, rimmed with sea salt and garnish with a lemon slice. 

Kids will like their rhubarb syrup mixed with some soda water (Rhubarb Soda Pop!) or in their lemonade :-)



Sunday, May 9, 2010

greens and grains and good things to read!

First, the camera I have known and loved for 4 years decided to come down with photographic-parkinsons, and then we were incredibly deluged with Missoula Community Chorus responsibilities : Hiring a new Chorus Manager (Andy Morris - he's great!), then interviewing, auditioning, and hiring a new Conductor (Tod Trimble - he is going to take us far!!) and then it was time for our Spring Concert - and whew! So, Dear Jon helped me get a new camera - "just like" the old one, but with up-grades. It is going to take a while before I figure it out.... the whole back is a touch screen - so about every other picture, I  inadvertently change settings....

I also recently acquired a lovely pair of GREEN Shoes  and a Kindle (note the extraordinarily beautiful green embossed leather cover!) that I just had to show off. Naturally, the shoes required a new pair of socks, and Spring Spirals came to mind....


For Gluten-free people, Injera is a great substitute for wrap breads that I used to use frequently for convenience....it is made with a sourdough-like starter, and of Teff flour. Teff is an amazing grain that looks like a tiny seed - from the lovegrass family - so, it's related to "Love-lies-Bleeding" that Victorian garden beauty, and Amaranth! With that lineage, who wouldn't want to eat it?!
My F-I-L gave me the starter- he has always been generous with his kitchen experiments - so rather than wait for 3-5 days, I was able to go forth and cook!
 Here's how to make Injera:
  • In a bowl, place 1/2 c. starter + about 1 1/2 c. teff flour + 2 c. water.  Stir it all nicely - it will look like thin pancake batter. Set aside , covered with a towel, and let it ferment for 2-4 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook, to the batter, add a pinch of salt if you like, and a crackle of pepper - or not :-)  Heat a flat bottomed griddle (the trusty 12" cast-iron seen here) over medium heat and add a drop or two of oil. 
  • Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet- lift it, and twirl so that the batter covers the whole bottom... it's not as thin as a crepe, so no worries.
  • Cook until holes (bubbles) form in the injera, the top is dried, and the edges brown. Do not flip it over- Injera is only cooked on one side (this is what gives it that spongy-soaks-up-flavors-of -everything texture!)
  • Remove, and cool.
My first one was so deformed, that I tossed it right out - again, sort of like cooking crepes! And Jon, being the international type that he is, decided to eat them with (home made) yoghert and applesauce and declared them "quite fine"
I cooked the remaining batter, setting aside 1/2 cup of batter to start my next batch (refrigerate, in a covered jar, and feed with 1/2 c teff flour + 1 c water every week or so) and simply separated the injeras with parchment paper and froze.

And here is how to create an Injera Starter:
  • Mix 1 1/2 c. teff flour + 2 c. water and let stand, in a bowl covered with a clean cloth, at room temperature until it bubbles and turns sour. About 3 days.