Food Discoveries

I’ve found a new favorite–rhubarb.

Aside from a few pleasant encounters with strawberry-rhubarb pie at Thanksgiving, this strange pink celery-look-a-like was just another acquaintance.  My mother had occasionally remarked that she ate it raw as a child, sprinkled with sugar.  Otherwise, it was listed rather far down on my “Try This Someday” list, not for any particular dislike, but simple disinterest.

It was on a whim that I picked up a bit when I saw it in the grocery, thinking maybe my mother might like a taste of nostalgia.  While she was appreciative, the thick stalks sat in the vegetable bin for a week.  I was reading over Shauna’s latest posts and she mentioned having rhubarb compote over yogurt and added a parenthesized, far-from-a-recipe, list of ingredients.  Rhubarb. Lemon zest.  Sugar (I used a drizzle of honey instead.  I’m on a honey kick). Nutmeg.  White wine.  Chop, grate, mix, simmer.  It seemed simple enough.  I dug out the rhubarb and sliced off a bit.  Raw and dipped in sugar, this vegetable amazed me.  Mom had it right.  I’ll remind you: this makes me think of pink celery on sight, so the tangy-tart apple-like taste was entirely unexpected.  And delicious!  I chopped and grated and mixed away, and set in all simmering to some chardonnay (all we had in the fridge), nibbling on a few reserved slices along the way.

At the stove, with the dusky sunlight slipping through the windows, hardly betraying the muggy mid-90s  weather, the smell of simmering wine took me right back to London in January, where every pub had big vats of mulled wine ready and waiting to soothe our freezing fingertips.  It was a lovely reminder of that amazing trip, but the end result was as far away from winter as your can get.  Even still warm, the compote was wonderfully crisp, hinting lightly at the tart start, but ultimately mellowed by the honey and wine.  I can’t wait for it to chill, and, thanks to Shauna, I know exactly what breakfast will be tomorrow: yogurt and rhubarb compote, with a Honey Walnut Banana Chip muffin (also whipped up today, but that’s for another time).  I can’t wait to wake up.

And my next trip to the store, I’m certain, will end with more rhubarb in my basket!

Five Ingredients or Less…Desserts

Today I came to the delightful realization that I’ve now discovered delicious easy recipes for brownies, cookies, and cake.  More specifically: 3-ingredient nutella brownies, 4-ingredient chocolate cake, and 5-ingredient peanut butter cookies.  Best of all, the cookies and cake are flourless, quite helpful for my gluten-intolerence, and the gooey nutella base of the brownies balances out my cheapest toss-away GF flour mix.  All three seem to work well with a variety of add-ins (though I can’t imagine ever wishing to add anything to this amazing cake).  All in all, I’m rather tickled that I now have three super-easy, go-to recipes, and delighted that they align in proper order. Haha.  I’ve found all of these on various food-blogs around the web, so I can take no credit, except to pass along the wonder:


3-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

  • 1/2 c Nutella spread
  • 1 lg Egg’
  • 5 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour (GF AP flour, in my case)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together nutella and egg until well blended.  Stir in flour until combined. Line a mini-muffin tin with paper or foil liners (I suppose you could simply grease the muffin cups, but these are pretty soft, gooey brownie bites.  I, who battle with my family for the corner brownies’ crunchy goodness, recommend the added structure of the liners).  Bake for 11-12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (again, gooey, fudgy galore…a few crumbs on the pick are a-okay).  Allow brownies to cool and remove from muffin tin.

Makes 12 perfect, tiny brownie bites.

4-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake(Also known as Chocolate Idiot Cake, Chocolate Orbit Cake, the list goes on…)

  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (or in my case, an 11 oz Ghirardelli bag with a small handful eaten away)
  • 7 oz unsalted butter (or 1 3/4 regular-sized sticks)
  • 5 lg eggs at room temperature
  • 1 c granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a spring-form pan and dust with cocoa powder.  Make sure it is water-tight.  (I would guess this recipe could be made in a parchment paper-lined regular pan as well, which I’ll certainly try at school, where I do not have access to my mother’s spring-form round.  I’d suggest the parchment to make it easier to lift out, which seems to be the only potential issue.)

Melt butter and chocolate over double boiler (or in microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Remove from heat.  In large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until combined, then slowly add in chocolate mixture.  Allow time for tempering, so the warm chocolate doesn’t cook your eggs.  Pour into prepared pan and cover top tightly with aluminum foil.  Place pan into a larger pan.  Fill the larger pan with water, until about halfway up the side of the cake pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove pan from water and allow to cool completely.

This cake is dense and fudgy, enough to be mistaken for the candy if chilled and cut into small enough pieces. Keep leftovers tight wrapped in the refrigerator.

5-Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth, your preference. But all-natural kinds tend to hold up better in this recipe)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

…Alright, so they could be 4-ingredient cookies, if you leave out the cinnamon.  But the number order was fantastically perfect, and in my mind, cinnamon is not an option.  The spice-PB combo is absolutely delicious, lending a sense of warmth to the cookies, rather than the specific taste of cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  If not using a nonstick cookies sheet, grease the sheet.  Mix together peanut butter and sugar until well-combined (about 2 minutes).  Add egg, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix thoroughly.  Roll into walnut-sized balls, roll in loose granulated sugar and press to baking sheet with criss-crossing fork tongs.  Bake for about ten-minutes or just beginning to brown.  Allow cookies to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.