Easter (Bread) Coffee Cake 2014

 

rhubarbcoffeecake

I know, I know I haven’t blogged for months but it is Easter bread day and it feels like a tradition and I was able to go outside and take a photo with lovely lighting.  It was also very delicious,…but is not really bread. It is strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake (this recipe is basically the same one I used).

This breaks some of my rules; luckily they are my rules so I can break them. I don’t really buy strawberries or rhubarb off-season and I also don’t buy them from the supermarket. To me they are the bounty of early spring/summer to be anticipated, eaten to exhaustion while found each week fresh and delicious from the farmers market, then forgotten about until the following year. But I wanted this coffee cake today! It just tastes like spring to me and we all need a little spring around here. I found some fresh, although really really large, rhubarb and then used a combo of fresh and frozen strawberries, all from the store.

Even with the inferior fruit, it was still very delicious (btw coffee cake is all butter)… still not really bread. I ate a lot of it. Rob and Ron ate some but I really ate the lion’s share. I just can’t say no to strawberries and rhubarb! To be extra spring-tacular it was so nice outside we ate our Easter brunch on the porch. Happy.

easter bread 2013

easter-bread

This was not my favorite Easter bread to date. Of course it wasn’t only bread but also candied oranges….and then Rob accidentally stuck his finger in the risen loaf before I baked it.

To be fair the kitchen was a disaster because of course I was also trying to simultaneously compile a southern feast, complete with, from scratch, sweet potato pie.   Yes, marathon cooking on Easter Sunday. Rob did make some excellent pie dough and it was his first attempt ever: gold star.

…and we ate well, we ate very well.

easterdinner

I said there would be pudding…and there was

IMG_1597

…IS! I mean there is! I didn’t eat it all. yet.  It is kind of super delicious and I can’t find a recipe the comes very close so here is my sad rendition of a recipe for you.

1. Heat 2/3 cup of Edel-Kirsch (the BH&G recipe called for regular Kirsch(wasser) but I couldn’t find it. Edel-Kirsch is cherry liqueur. So it is red and a little sweeter, less almondy) just to a simmer.

2. Remove from heat, add 1 1/2 cups of dried sour/tart cherries, cover and let steep for the hour. (While you wait try mixing edel-kirsh with every beverage in you refrigerator)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (that is Fahrenheit)

4. Cut up your 11 cups of bread into 1.5 inch pieces. Mine was leftover homemade brioche that was starting to get a little stale (I didn’t really have 11; it was more like 8 cups) Melt 1/4 cup of butter and drizzle it over the bread cubes. You read that correctly 1/4 cup.

5. Put your buttery bread cubes in a 3 qt baking dish. They suggest layers; 1/2 then chocolate and cherries, then more bread….I didn’t really do that.

6. Sprinkle 8 oz of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate. They suggest saving half to sprinkle on after. I didn’t do that either.

7. Drizzle the cherries and liqueur over it. Again they suggest saving half to add after it cooks. I didn’t do that.

8. Whisk together 6 eggs, 3 cups of whole milk, 2 cups of half and half, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Mine was more like 5 eggs and some random concoction of leftover heavy cream and whole milk that equaled about 4 cups.

9. Press down lightly to soak up the custard, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

10. Remove the foil and bake for 20-30 minutes more or just until the custard is set in the center.

11. They say to let it sit for 1 hour. I’m sure you can but you don’t have to. They also suggest you serve it warm. I like mine cold straight out of the fridge and still in the gladware container.

peaches talk to me

When I see peaches at the farmer’s market…they say “pie” to me. I almost hear it in my head. This time they said crostada, which is kind of just “easy” pie.

Part of this is that I prefer my peaches cooked, grilled, baked, broiled, whatever…not raw. Also peaches play well with spices I like, nutmeg and cloves… the types often used with fall foods like squash. I also prefer peach to apple pie. Apples are way more difficult to peel and core. Besides apples always say “apple crisp” to me.

Mostly I shouldn’t be listening to the fruit at the farmer’s market at all, because I need to stop making desserts and start running — or I’m going to have to pull my fat jeans out of the back of the closet.

Rhu-hab-a-que

So I’m not sure that this is the best use of rhubarb if you have limited amounts but I enjoyed it so if you have a lot and want to try something savory this time then…

Basically you just cook down the rhubarb and mix in with your favorite bottled barbeque sauce. Now I don’t have a favorite bottled sauce so I bought Local Folks Foods Hab-a-que sauce made with habenero peppers (because I like their ketchup).   I thought the hot and the rhubarb would be a good combo. I think I may have been wrong. I liked it, but the heat took away from the rhubarb flavor a bit and I think the tart with a sweeter fruit based sauce would work well.

Anyway…the recipe was for roasting the chicken, but it is summer and I grill everything so I cut it into pieces and grilled it. The recipe also had you put some of the sauce in the orzo (with green onions and shredded carrots) This is not a good call. Orzo and veggies should not have rhu-hab-a-que sauce on them.  I would have preferred just a little little olive oil and lemon juice.

clean your grill in the fall

Clean your grill before it sits all winter. Otherwise you have a lot of work ahead of you the first time you open it up in the spring. I scrapped and scrubbed and got myself and my kitchen sink coated in ashes and grease. Still the grates are just not looking as pretty as they used to… oh well.. But now it is done and I can make all of my meals on the porch instead of heating my apartment up by turning on the oven. Yay!

Something about the first grill is just better. Besides this mole and black bean burger was delicious. It is topped with jicama slaw in very creamy-spicy chipotle dressing. I don’t know that I will eat the slaw by itself but it is really tasty on the burger. The original burger recipe actually called for salsa from a jar and some cayenne but I had defrosted some homemade mole recently so that is what I used instead.

Here is my best try at a recipe. I don’t measure anything so if I stray too far from the original recipe it is probably better that I let you decide how much meat you want and then eyeball the other ingredients yourself.

Burgers

ground chuck (mine was organic, grass-fed)
some black beans (from a can)
mole (mine was homemade but definitely you could buy a jar)
minced garlic

1. Combine the above and form into patties. Set aside.

Slaw

1 chipotle pepper in adobe
1/4 cup lime juice
salt

1. Puree the above in small food processor or blender.

handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (creama)
2 tablespoons mayo

2. Combine the pepper/lime with the above.

1 small jicama (shredded)

3. I squeezed out a lot of liquid from the shredded jicama with my hands and let drain for a few minutes in a strainer to keep my slaw from getting runny.
4. Add drained shredded jicama to creamy-spicy dressing.
5. Grill the burgers (I only lost a few of the black beans) Toast the buns a little on the grill. (Especially if  like me you could only find smoochy white bread buns.) Top the burger with the jicama slaw. Eat!

The green bean salad from Food52 with marjoram was also delicious. Marjoram is really not my favorite herb but the lemons were really good so the dressing was really good. I think people don’t appreciate that there is such a thing as a really good lemon.

Finally I had some fresh pineapple rings and I pulled a couple out and threw them on the grill for dessert. I love traveling but I also love being home and cooking in my own kitchen again when it is over.