Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

Sometimes the gods just smile down on you.  We all had a holiday earlier this week.  In Canada we still celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday with a day off and fire works - it's weird, I know.  If you're not sure who Queen Vic is just google her and you'll get the scoop.
So, I'm gettin my garden working again... the weather is generally great.  I go for a run.  I continue finishing up my garden work.  I start cooking and get two dishes done for the week to come.  Then I go outside and cut some of this

out of my rhubarb patch... how heavenly is that... I get it from my backyard.  I'm feeling so pleased with myself while doing this.

I proceed to make these stupid easy muffins (which Kids might not eat because rhubarb isn't sweet and chocolatey but that's another post).  Next thing I know, the doorbell rings.  It's my Mom-in-Law and her husband.  They decided to drop by for an impromptu visit.  This is totally awesome for me because even though I haven't cleaned my house and there are toys everywhere in the toy room, the kitchen floor hasn't been swept since the morning and it's now strewn with grass and dirt from outside, Kid #2 decided to bring his pillow and comforter downstairs so that he could 'sleep' on the living room floor and I haven't even looked in the bathroom yet, because I haven't even looked in said bathroom I also haven't looked in mirror and/or brushed my hair, I still have my gardening clothes on... I've got homemade muffins to serve them.

Let me tell you, I had put those muffins on plate for them before they'd even gotten their shoes off.  Nothing can distract you from the mess around you like some good food.  Also, it made me look like a domestic goddess (to coin a phrase) having these things ready to put out for visitors.
Now granted, I was still pushing things out of view with my foot while keeping my eyes fixed intently on the person in front of me but what the hey... I made muffins.  They oh'd and ah'd about the muffins and then gave me bonus points for harvesting the rhubarb from the backyard... score.
So I'm trying hard to think of what the moral of this story might be.  What the hell... make muffins and then see what happens.

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
makes 12 med/large muffins

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup melted butter (unsalted)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

(Streusel - I used some of the streusel from Ottolenghi that I still have in the freezer - 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cold butter - combine until it forms a good crumb - freezes for a long time.  Feel free to use any streusel topping that you might fancy)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a muffin tin with liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the egg, buttermilk, melted butter and brown sugar together in a bowl and whisk until it's all well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture.  Stir just until the flour is completely incorporated.
Add in the rhubarb and mix together.

Scoop into prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle with about a tablespoon or more of the streusel.
Bake for about 15 - 20 min (mine were done after about 17 min. so keep an eye on them at the end), check with a tester to make sure that the batter is done.
Cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the tins.

Here's what I did with Fiddleheads

Yup.  I got some fiddleheads.  It's spring... in Canada... it's a tradition thing... I've never had them before - I had to add that because sometimes we just spew out these things, items, veggies, traditions, whatever that we're all supposed to know and revere... Yeah, fiddleheads are this big spring thingy and are a big deal AND I've never eaten them, made them, foraged for them... nothing.

Fiddleheads are the first bit of an ostrich fern that begins to curl it's way out of the thawing ground in the spring.  It's a lovely thing when you think about it, slowly unfurling itself toward the sun and warmth of the new season (except we haven't had much of either over the last couple of weeks here in T.O - yeah, I'm a little bitter).  Their season is short, much like asparagus, and they have some great nutritional and health benefits.  Fiddleheads are like morels in that they are often just foraged for as well and not necessarily farmed.  Whatever, its all good.  I got mine from the food box and I'm happy with that.
Fiddleheads taste like... greens, I guess.  They certainly don't taste like chicken.  They have a lot more bit to them than greens do though.  Kid #1 wasn't in love with them but she ate them happily enough.  I know of a lot of people who did not like asparagus at first either.  I think it's one of those tastes that needs to grow on you.  I'm interested in trying some other recipes with these though.  So, a new challenge begins - back to the spring produce.  I have to think... stir fry's, omelette's, quiche.  I can probably use fiddleheads just like I would use any other green.  I like the seasonal aspect of using them.  Things somehow seem more special when you don't just cook the same way all year around.  It feels amazing to have something green and fresh to eat that's not just a leaf - ya know?  These things are not around for long so it's special to have them when they are in season and fresh... Plus, they're kinda weird looking which also has some cache with me.  Asparagus (another weird looking spring veggie) will be coming in as well, probably very soon - even next week.  Spring has arrived even if the sun has forgotten for the last little while.

Baked Penne, Fiddleheads and Mushrooms
serves 6

4 cups cooked penne pasta (reserve a little pasta water)
1/2 cup onion, diced (ramps or young leek would be even better)
2 cups fiddleheads
3 cups mushrooms, quartered
2 cups spring greens (spinach, dandelion, whatever)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp each: oregano, basil, parsley (use fresh if you have)
1 veggie bouillion cube (low salt, organic)
1 1/2  cups cream or milk
salt and pepper sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Throw in some oil (2 or 3 tbsp will do) and add in the onion, fiddleheads and mushrooms.  Lower the heat to med/low and toss it gently for about 7 min. or so.  Add in the greens and let the greens wilt.
Add in the cream cheese and goat cheese and mix it into the veggies until the cheese is creamy.  Add in the herbs, bouillion cube and cream or milk.  Once the cream has heated a little add in the parmesan leaving out just enough to sprinkle over the top of the casserole dish.
Add a little of the pasta water if the mixture is still too thick.  Make sure the thickness is good for you.  Add in the salt and pepper sauce to your own tastes.
Remove from heat and add in the cooked pasta.  Mix well and pour into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top.
Bake for 15 minutes or until a little brown and crispy on the top.
Cool slightly before serving.

And now... Brownies.

I'm on a stupid roll here... first it was yet another chocolate chip recipe and now... another brownie recipe.  It's an illness.
I need therapy.
I have no defence.
In any case, nobody in this house is complaining about my issues - at least when it comes to baking.
What was supposed to be our rainy, crappy long weekend turned out to be warm and more proportionately sunny than rainy.  That's enough to celebrate right there.  I got to cap off my long weekend with my friend T coming over.  Once the kids were in bed and D got home from a gig we all laughed and drank merrily AND ate... these... right?  No complaints... remember.

What's more... two days later I got to spend the afternoon with my BFF (yeah I'm an adult and I use the term BFF - get over it) KT.  We meandered, we shopped (visiting some new shops is always fun), we sat down for drinks and chatted, drank and had some nibbles.  Even later, D and I finally got a chance to go out ourselves and enjoy a belated anniversary celebration.
I have to tell you another thing about my quirky self.  I used to love lay-away.  I know it's ghetto... whatever... it was awesome.  No one does it anymore and hardly anyone even remembers it.  Now that we all have credit cards and want things immediately we've done away with the habit of saving or paying something off slowly and not having it in our hands until it's paid.  So... what I do now is buy gift cards.  Every month I buy a gift card for whatever shop I want to purchase something in and once I have a significant amount of money then I go and do a guilt free shop.  Over the last year and a half (yeah - it took me that long) I saved enough gift cards to go and buy myself this awesome bag at Roots (a canadian company no less).  I was pumped.  KT joined me in the fun... it was awesome.

So that was my weekend, which has nothing to do with brownies but do brownies really need a whole lot of writing to prop them up?  I don't think so.
P.S.  as Dave said in the book... don't skrimp-out on the 1 minute of vigorous stirring (think of it as part of your workout) - it makes a difference and it's pretty cool to see the batter transform.

Dave's Friends Best Brownies adapted from Dave Lebovitz 'Ready for Dessert'
makes 1 square pan

6 tbsp (3 oz) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces
8 oz (225 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt 70%)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 lg eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of white chocolate chunks (I used Green and Blacks)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 inch square baking tin with parchment or aluminum foil.  Lightly grease the inside of the lining.
In a double boiler (I use a stainless steel bowl over a simmering pot of just a little water) melt the butter.  Then add the chocolate and let it melt and become smooth.  Remove from heat.
Add in the sugar and vanilla until well combined.
Add in the eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition.
Add the flour and whisk energetically for a full minute (I did a little longer - because I didn't follow the recipe correctly).  The batter will become smooth and glossy and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Press the white chocolate chunks randomly into the top of the batter.
Bake for about 30 minutes (I did about 25 because I really prefer gooey brownies - ie.  slightly undercooked)
Cool before removing from the pan.

Powered by Blogger.

Archivo del blog

About Me

My photo
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

My Photo
Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
View my complete profile



Blog Archive



FBC Member