Rhubarb Bellini

rhubard-bellini-recipe

I usually drink my bubbles straight up, but sometimes it’s fun to play around with the basics. A glass of cold, cold Prosecco is soooo nice at the end of a long day, especially a very warm, humid one.

I had a few rhubarb stalks, not enough to bake with, so I made a puree with some sugar and lemon – perfect for a variation on the classic peachy Bellini.

Unless you’re having a party, you’ll most likely have some leftover rhubarb puree (it makes more than enough for a bottle’s worth of Bellini’s), but it’s delicious on scones, toast or gelato.

rhubarb-bellini-cocktail-recipe

Rhubarb Bellini

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups rhubarb, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
  2. 1/2 cup cane sugar
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. Thinly peeled zest and juice from 1 lemon
  5. Chilled Prosecco

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to a slow bubble and cook until the rhubarb softens to a mushy texture, about 15 minutes.
  2. Puree the rhubarb with an immersion blender, small food processor or by hand with a potato masher until smooth. Refrigerate until cold. Or if you're very thirsty, chill the puree in a bowl of ice water until cold.
  3. Pop open a bottle of cold Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Spoon 1 - 2 tablespoons of the puree into flutes. Pour some Prosecco over, stir to blend and top off with more Prosecco, pouring gradually ( the mixture will bubble madly for a minute).
  4. Salute!
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/rhubarb-bellini/

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Cucumber and lime. Just the thought of those two ingredients refreshes me. Plus they go together like …. bread and butter, gin and tonic, sugar and spice.

It’s hotter than an Inferno where I live, which is typical. We went straight from our schizophrenic spring weather to a sweltering heatwave within a week’s time. Ready or not, it’s time to let the season guide my menu cravings.

I turned to one of my favorite hot-weather flavor profiles – tart citrus; fresh, spicy chiles and cool-crunchy cucumbers. To me, that combination points in the direction of Asia and India.

I found the perfect recipe for what I had in mind with this Indian cucumber salad, Khamang Kakdi, in How to Cook Indian, one of my newest cookbooks. I think this book will become a definite favorite of mine. It’s huge, with a broad collection of easy and delicious-sounding recipes. There are no photos at all, but somehow that isn’t a problem since the information is so thorough and the design so appealing.

I love the utter simplicity of this salad. With just a few spices, a hit of citrus, toasty peanuts and a sweet exotic touch of coconut, cucumbers are transformed into something complex and unordinary.

Be warned, it’s a slightly addictive little salad.

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  2. 1 Serrano pepper or 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  4. 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (or olive oil)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the cucumber, chile pepper, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saute pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together. Taste to make sure it's salty-sweet enough for your taste.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe in How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor

http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cool-spicy-cucumbers-with-peanuts-lime/

Spiced Apple Quinoa Cookies

Part of my work as a personal chef requires that I help people navigate their varied dietary issues – we all have one or two, right? As one of my favorite songs goes, Everybody Got Their Something.

Along with my clients and their specific needs, I cook for family and friends with all kinds of issues: dairy sensitivities, gluten intolerances, allergies, certain lifestyle choices like veganism – among other things. It makes a girl need to be on her toes!

Doing taste research – with my mouth wide open – is fun for me. I love learning about new techniques and different ingredients, because no matter the dietary restriction the end goal is to create – and eat – something delicious.

I like quinoa as a healthy alternative to everyday grains like rice, but I hadn’t gotten around to baking with it.  I’m certain that the explosion of people suffering from gluten intolerance and celiac disease has pushed quinoa into the mainstream and onto grocery store shelves.

That’s a good thing. The tiny quinoa seeds are packed with protein, fiber and nutrients. The flour is just as nutritious and a something of a miracle for those who need to avoid wheat flour.

I had some quinoa flour in the pantry just waiting to be played with, so when I saw a recipe in Feast magazine by Linda Daniels of St. Louis gluten-free bakery Free Range Cookies I knew it was time.

My very own personal teeny, tiny food restriction is an allergy to bananas (What?? I know – they feed bananas to babies!) so I substituted applesauce for the bananas, a common replacement for eggs in vegan baking.

I liked the way the cookies turned out; softly chewy, moist, spicy and sweet…delicious.