rhubarb chia jam

Rhubarb Chia Jam

While I feel I have touched upon quite a few recipes that formally intimidated me yet no longer do – scones, for example – I still have not mastered the art of making and canning jam, no matter how “easy” some of my friends claim it is. Perhaps, on my part, it’s laziness and a matter of money. Do I really want to buy a dozen glass jars and spend time sterilizing them? No. Am I likely overthinking this like I do for every aspect of my life?

Most likely.

That being said, I have been eyeing the chia jam trend for the past year, eager to try. I could have just used some grocery store-bought fruits to make this concoction, but, deep into the month of May, how could I not to utilize the best that my local farmers’ market has to offer?

Hellllllooooo, rhubarb!

rhubarb chia jam

I am a fan of sour fruits – my mother can attest that I used to drink lemon juice as a child, another undoubtedly odd quirk of mine – so rhubarb is right up my alley. It’s not overwhelmingly sour, does does make my mouth pucker ever so slightly when I have it on its own. While rhubarb and strawberries are a quintessential match, don’t discount rhubarb on its own. It’s quite delightful!

rhubarb chia jam

It thickens as it cools, creating a surprisingly lush and filling jam. It also makes a piece of Ezekiel bread look super sexy.

All hail chia seeds and their awesome gelling power!

rhubarb chia jam

Rhubarb Chia Jam
(Makes 2 & 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:

– 3 & 1/2 cups rhubarb, rinsed, dried, and cut into small pieces
– 1/2 cup water
– 3 tablespoons honey (or sweetener of choice)
– 3 tablespoons chia seeds
– Juice of 1/2 lemon

Before We Get Started…

– Four large stalks of rhubarb should equate to in or around 3 & 1/2 cups of rhubarb.

– The amount of water may not seem like enough when mixed with the rhubarb, but the rhubarb will release liquid as it cooks down. Do not exceed 1/2 cup of water.

– Substitute another sweetener of choice for honey to keep recipe vegan-friendly.

Directions:

1.) Add rhubarb and water to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally. The rhubarb will start to break down quickly as the cooking continues.

2.) Add honey and chia seeds; stir to evenly incorporate. Cook mixture for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Let sit for 15 minutes to thicken.

3.) Add to clean glass container and store in refrigerator. Jam will last in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

I have never made Baba Ganoush in my life prior to the day I made it for this recipe. It’s a dip, admittedly, I don’t have to often – I am a roasted garlic hummus lover, through and through – but a sale on Italian eggplants at my local CTown sparked a desire within me to give it a try. Plus, I got a new bottle of tahini that I was itching to break into.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

I do have to laugh: On the day I made it, I commented to someone I know that I was diving in deep for my first attempt at making it, my enthusiasm cautiously shining. They give me a response, complete with a bit of an eye roll, that threw me off: “Baba Ganoush? That…that is so hard to make right. It always turns out wrong. Good luck with that…” Dumbfounded, with a crestfallen face, I peeled the skin from the meat of my freshly roasted eggplant slices, put it into my food processor with a fresh squeeze of lemon, some tahini, and a lot of raw garlic, and pulsed away. For a moment, I may have lost my confidence.

Boy oh boy, I found that confidence again once I took a bite of it! It was some of the best baba ganoush I’ve had, and I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. The eggplant was perfectly roasted – not too much and not too little, with just the slightest hint of a char – which I believe resulted in that perfect flavor.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Still not quite sure why that person decided to be less than encouraging, but maybe I should text her and tell her to have some faith. It’s so easy to make, and it’s easy to make correctly while bursting with flavor. 😉

Baba Ganoush
(Adapted from the Epicurious recipe for Eggplant Dip [Baba Ganoush])
(Makes roughly 2 cups)

– 2 medium eggplants, sliced to roughly 1/8″ slices (you can purple or Italian)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/3 cup tahini (I used Brad’s Organic Sesame Tahini)
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– Juice of one lemon
– Salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2.) Place eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat slices evenly. Lay slices flat on sheet; some may slightly overlap, and that is okay. Roast the eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes; the skins should be crisp and interiors should be tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

3.) Peel and seed the cooled eggplant, roughly chop the flesh, and then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.

4.) Into the processor bowl add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, some salt and pepper to taste, and a few teaspoons of cold water. Process the mixture to a coarse paste, adding a bit more water as needed to allow the mixture to blend.

5.) Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

Banana Turmeric Smoothie

Turmeric is hotter than ever right now, isn’t it? It’s anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-everything bad, and it turns your fingers a beautiful shade of Simpsons-esque yellow every time it touches your skin!

I see it seemingly everywhere – Golden Lattes are the second hottest thing behind Rainbow Lattes in NYC at this juncture – and its certainly easy enough to pop a little into your morning smoothie. The turmeric, plus a hit of cinnamon and black pepper, go well with the sweet banana.

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

This is insanely easy to whip together. If you are like me, you can bulk it up a little more as well with your favorite collagen peptide or protein powder. You’ll feel superhuman in no time!

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

Banana Turmeric Smoothie

(Serves 1; roughly 1 & 1/2 cups of smoothie)
Ingredients:

– 1 medium to large banana
– 1 cup milk of choice (I use Malk Organics unsweetened cashew milk)
– 1 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (used to activate turmeric)
– 1 scoop collagen peptides or protein powder (optional; I use Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Peptides)

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until combined. DRINK.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcakes

We got those Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries.

rosé soaked roasted strawberries

We’ve got those Buttermilk Biscuits.

img_1246

What else is there to do?

FOOD TEAM, ASSEMBLE!!!!

(Please say the proceeding in your best Ron Burgundy voice, preferably aloud.)

Strawberry Shortcakes

All that previous work was leading up to this one glorious moment!

Strawberry Shortcakes are such a wonderful dessert. Light yet hardy, crumbly and a little messy, undeniably sweet yet buttery, and an all-around comfort.

Meet your favorite spring dessert. ✌🏻

Strawberry Shortcakes
(Makes 4)

– 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon sugar (adjust to taste)
– 4 Buttermilk Biscuits (click for recipe)
– 2 cups Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries (click for recipe; see note in Before We Get Started…)

Before We Get Started…

– The original recipe for Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries yields closer to 1 & 1/2 cups of strawberries once cooked down. Increase strawberries in recipe to 8 cups; liquids and sweeteners can remain the same.

Directions:

1.) To make whipped cream, place cream, vanilla extract, and sugar in a large bowl, preferably a chilled metal bowl. Whip with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Set aside.

2.) To assemble strawberry shortcakes, split or cut biscuits in half; a serrated knife works well here!

3.) Place 1/2 cup strawberries on bottom biscuit halves. Top with whipped cream. Place top biscuit halves on top. Pour yourself another glass of rosé. INDULGE.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Remember my Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries from my last post? Well, they certainly pair well with these Buttermilk Biscuits! On Saturday, I’ll combine them into one final recipe (…oh…wow…what could that be?), along with a simple whipped cream recipe to really bring all of these elements together.

Prior to this, I had never really made biscuits. Prior to making them, I had a similar apprehension akin to the first time I made scones: for reasons I can’t truly comprehend in hindsight, I was nervous to make them. The recipes I had heard or read seemed a little too involved, and I was paranoid about not making them the correct consistency. Some people love a dry crumbly scone, while others love a moist scone. Like that, I was worried that I’d make a dry and / or tough biscuit.

My fears were allayed once all was said and done. I will absolutely thank Bon Appétit – via Epicurious – for their Buttermilk Recipe from April 1998, which I followed to almost a complete T.

I ended up with some biscuits that had the proper balance of moisture and crumble. The subtle saltiness satisfied my craving for something savory, but they still work well with fruit and whipped cream.

Buttermilk Biscuits
(Makes 4 biscuits)
(Adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits)

– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 10 tablespoons (1 & 1/4 sticks) frozen unsalted butter, grated
– 1 cup milk plus one teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar or 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Before We Get Started:

– If you are going to use the milk + acid way to make “buttermilk”, such as I did, add the acid to the milk and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before using. Do not stir! Why do I make “buttermilk” this way? I’m too damn frugal to buy a container of actual buttermilk and have leftovers. Haaa.

– Refer to my Orange Ginger Scones recipe if you want to see what I mean about grated butter. I swear, this trick is my lifesaver! Literally grate frozen butter before adding to your dry ingredients to make for easier incorporation! (Thanks for the trick, Dad!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add butter and rub into dry mixture with fingertips; the final mixture should look pebbly or like a fine meal.

3.) Slowly add in milk with acid or buttermilk and stir gentle to combine; the batter will not necessarily look uniform at this point, but make sure the dough that is forming is uniformly moist. Once combined, use hands to gather and shape dough into a large ball.

4.) Divide dough into four pieces, approximately 3″ in diameter, and place on an ungreased baking sheet, spaced evenly apart; roughly 2″ between each biscuit will be fine.

5.) Bake biscuits for 20 – 25 minutes; biscuits will be pale and not golden or brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack for 30 minutes. Eat immediately; if not eating immediately, individually wrap each biscuit in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Biscuits should stay fresh for up to 5 days.