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I had about a cup of the rhubarb puree leftover from making rhubarb margaritas a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely hate to throw away leftovers.  So, I decided to dry it.  You could really do this with any fruit puree – be creative!  If you don’t have a fruit dryer, this does take some time (about 5-7 hours), so plan accordingly.  I had a day of house cleaning planned this past weekend though, so I was going to be home for most of the day.  Dried fruit that you buy at the store is often VERY sweet.  Making your own lets you cut down on the sugar a bit, and make the flavor more to your liking.  This would be a great snack for the kids too instead of those scary fruit roll-ups you buy at the store!

Fruit Leather, adapted from jam it, pickle it, cure it, by Karen Solomon

1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

1/4 cup of water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes.  Puree mixture into a food processor or blender.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees, or if your oven can’t get below 170 degrees, set it to its lowest temperature and lodge a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree into a large rectangle of even thickness, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

Place the pan in the center of the oven for 5 to 7 hours, checking after 5 hours.  The fruit should be sticky but not wet, throughout; the center is usually the last to dry.

Once sticky all over, remove the pan from the oven and gently peel the fruit from the parchment paper, releasing it from all 4 edges first, then peeling up the middle.  Flip it over, and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Tear off a clean piece of parchment or waxed paper larger than the sheet of fruit leather.  Roll 2 inches of the paper over the fruit, then from the long side roll the whole thing up like a jelly roll.  With a sharp knife, slice the rolled-up log into 1-inch pieces.

Solomen’s recipe uses apple butter to make the fruit leather, but she also suggests 1 1/2 cups of pureed bananas or 1 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries.

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Okay, these are delicious.  Honestly, the perfect drink for after work on that first warm weather day of spring.  You know what day I’m talking about:  when everybody seems to be in a good mood, you can crack your sunroof a little bit and take the dog for a longer walk than usual.  Also the perfect day to use some seasonal ingredients to make yourself a cocktail!  In keeping with this month’s potluck theme, I of course used rhubarb.  Instead of making a puree like I did for the rhubarb margaritas, I made a rhubarb syrup for this drink.  You could omit the vodka if you would prefer something non-alcoholic.  I chose vodka this time…

Rhubarb Vodka Spritzers

For the syrup:

1 pound rhubarb, sliced thin (this is about 4 cups of raw rhubarb)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups water

  1. In a medium, heavy pot, combine the rhubarb, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and water. Bring to a brief boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rhubarb is soft.
  2. Strain the fruit and set aside for another use*.  You should be left with a runny, not-yet-syrupy liquid.
  3. Wipe out the pot with some paper towels and add the strained liquid. Boil over medium high heat until reduced to a thick syrup. Cool completely. 

*This recipe could be doubled or tripled, depending on how many drinks you’d like to make.  The amounts listed above yield about 1 cup of rhubarb syrup.  Syrup recipe adapted from Brooklyn Farmhouse.

*Note:  The cooked rhubarb that you’ll set aside can be used as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, or even pancakes or waffles.  It is too good to throw away – I promise!

For the spritzers:

1 ounce vodka
3 tablespoons rhubarb syrup

club soda or sparkling wine to top off

In an ice-filled glass, combine vodka and rhubarb syrup, top with club soda.  Squeeze a few lime wedges into the drink.  Enjoy!

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It’s here!  Thank you so much for your interest in our Seasonal Potluck.  You can find the rules on our intro post HERE.  We are very excited to see and share your recipes.  Please use the link below to post your recipes to share. 

And just a reminder – April’s Potluck ingredient is RHUBARB!

May – TBD



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This coffee cake is both sweet and tart, and in my opinion, has the perfect crumble on top.  Big, buttery, cinnamon-sugargy crumbs.   I think I might actually use this crumb topping for every crumb cake or crisp I make going forward.  Keeping in theme with me and  Betsy‘s seasonal potluck, I decided to make this coffee cake, which is actually a recipe I have already made several times.   Given that I generally don’t like a lot of sweets laying around the house, I made this the night before I was going into the office for a meeting.  Gave me a good opportunity to give it away, as well as a good opportunity to get some feedback!  Just in case you were wondering – the feedback was good. 🙂

Rhubarb Coffee Cake, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I’ve used all purpose before and it still worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream (I substituted plain non-fat yogurt)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (again, all-purpose works just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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Kicking off the seasonal potluck with a happy hour drink – rhubarb margaritas!  We’ll call this a spring margarita, since the traditional kind typically remind me of summer.  These drinks turned out very citrusy, almost a grapefruit-like flavor according to my husband.  It was something different though, and they turned out pretty good.  I used meyer lemons because they are sweeter than regular lemons.  Since rhubarb is so tart already, I thought traditional lemons might be a little too much.

Rhubarb Margarita, makes 2 drinks

3 ounces silver tequila

1 ounce triple sec or cointreau

4 ounces meyer lemon juice

3 ounce rhubarb puree (recipe follows)

ice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice.  Garnish with a slice of meyer lemon if desired.

Rhubarb Puree

1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup sugar

zest of one meyer lemon

splash of water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes.  Puree mixture into a food processor or blender.

*You will have much more puree than necessary for two margaritas.  However, this can be used as a topping for ice cream, oatmeal, or as an ingredient in other drinks!

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