Strawberry, Rhubarb and Basil Compote

IMG_0216Our first CSA share came with a stunning batch of strawberries, red as gems, and three stalks of rhubarb. There’s really not a whole lot you can do with just three stalks of rhubarb – not quite enough for a crisp or a tart or an Upside Down Cake – but the perfect amount for a compote!

Strawberries and RhubarbRhubarb and Strawberries

Need the easiest dessert idea in the world? Well, this is it.

  • Chop up your rhubarb into about half-inch pieces.
  • Avoid and discard the greens as it’s been hammered into my noodle my whole life that they’re poisonous. I remain skeptical, although I just stumbled on a “Cooking Light” article entitled: “Healthy Foods That Can Kill You,” starring the poor, downtrodden rhubarb green. Do not fear though: I promise the stalk is harmless.
  • Take the stems off your strawberries, though I have no poisonous disclaimer about them – only a bitterness one.
  • Put your strawberries and rhubarb stalks in a saucepan with a splash of water, three well-sized teaspoons of sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla.
  • Wait for a heavenly aroma to engulf your home.
  • Then throw a few leaves of (preferably garden-fresh) chopped basil in right before serving.

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Once cooked down into a mushy-like substance, compote is divine on ice cream and a real crowd pleaser. So we pleased a crowd and showed off a little.
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Give it a whirl.

 

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Upside-Down Peach Cake

Upside Down Peach Cake (That's Right-Side Up)


One of my favorite recipes out of my mother’s kitchen is her Upside Down Peach Cake. This was one of those incredible desserts she just threw together last minute and pooh-poohed when people cooed over her. It wasn’t until very recently when she handed me the recipe and swore I could make it as well as she could, that I was convinced it’s actually a ridiculously easy – and crowd pleasing – dessert. It’s still not as good as when she makes it, but I’ve given it a whirl a few times and it’s getting there.

The nifty thing about this cake is that the batter is always the same, but you can change up the fruit depending on the season. We had a remarkable peach crop this year, so peach cake became a regular treat for dinner guests come late August. My mum does it with plums sometimes, or frozen fruit when she has unexpected dinner guests, often raspberries she has squirreled in the back of the freezer (which is awesome). I’ll definitely try it with apples over the upcoming weeks, and come December I’d like to try it with cranberries.

Donut Peaches

It is in no way vegan, but not everyone is as nitpicky as I am these days.

Ingredients:

  • 6 peaches
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon and sugar
  • lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350º. Cream sugar and butter in a food processor.

Add eggs one at a time and then stir in flour, salt, and baking powder.  Feel free to add a little lemon zest to the batter if you’re looking for a little zing.Peaches!

Baking a Cake

SpringformPut batter in an 8″ round baking pan that has been buttered (a spring form is the best) and tuck a round-cut piece of wax paper in and butter again.

Cover the batter with desired fruit – in this case peaches – and amply sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Cut the Parchment

Squeeze some lemon over the top.

Bake for about an hour to an hour and a half, until the cake is firm and a toothpick comes out clean. (It should smell God-sent by this point.)

Place the ParchmentOnce it’s cooled flip the cake upside down – hence its name.

The peaches in this particular cake were so pretty on the top that we didn’t flip it – and you’re welcome not to – but traditionally the fruit sort of sinks in and it looks very clean on top when you turn it over. However you see fit.

And presto, Upside Down Peach (or Insert Fruit Here) Cake! Thanks, Mom!

Presto! Dessert.